General Assembly Debates the Future of Human Security

human-securityThe President of the General Assembly convened an open debate to “reflect on our perspectives on human security, safety and freedom”. The Deputy Secretary-General opened the debate by urging states to put human security at the center of the future development framework. He was followed by Professor Gasper, who defined the human security approach as a set of language for describing security challenges and highlighted the “human-centric, comprehensive, context-specific and prevention-based” nature of the approach. Mr. Alia elaborated on this point by stating the holistic human security policies of his country, Benin, which provide for basic human needs such as education, AIDS prevention and child and maternal healthcare. He added that these basic provisions are enablers of state-building, and cited the example of literate citizens registering their identity to practice their full rights of citizenship. Ms. Dicapo highlighted the importance of members’ contribution in continuing the UN system’s promotion of the human security approach. The debate continued with Professor Pulhin who explained how the approach should be applied to alleviate the effects on migration and conflicts brought about by climate change. Ms. Keita, quoting the example of empowered Malian women in the nation’s reconciliation, called for more participation from civil society in applying the approach.

State parties speaking in the debate, including the EU, Slovenia, Japan, Costa Rica and South Africa, supported the UN’s work in promoting human security. Japan urged the Secretary-General to further mainstream the approach in the work of UN agencies and the SDGs. Brazil said that to prevent the approach from being only a set of rhetoric, the international community must also consider how it can be applied to contemporary challenges such as food security and large-scale surveillance. While Russia supported the approach, she believed that it is only the national governments that should decide how to implement it.

Meeting Title: UN General Assembly Thematic Debate: “Responding to the opportunities and challenges of the 21st Century: Human Security and the post-2015 development agenda”
Speakers: H.E. Mr. John W. Ashe, President of the United Nations General Assembly; H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General; Professor Des Gasper, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam; Ms. Sonia Dicapo, Chair of the Advisory Group of the UN Trust Fund for Human Security; Professor Juan Pulhin, University of the Philippines; Ms. Oulie Keita, Director of Programs Freedom House, Board member of WANEP Mali.
Location: Trusteeship Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters
Date: 18th June, 2014
Written By WIT representative: Harrison Chung
Edited by WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan

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