Human Security

There is a growing consensus that contemporary security can no longer be understood merely in traditional military terms. The increasing complexity of security challenges calls for a human security approach where the referents of security are individuals rather than states and where security threats are often transnational and require multilateral and cooperative responses.

Human security can be understood in a narrow and a broad sense. Narrow approaches deal with violent threats to individuals mainly in conflict situations in the so called ‘freedom from fear’ paradigm. Broad approaches consider security threats where the security landscape is influenced by and has possible implications across different sectors such as the economy, the environment, migration and health, following a ‘freedom from want’ paradigm. In order to address these complexities, human security needs to be understood and implemented in its fullness by all.

The GCSP embraces the comprehensive security approach in its activities, especially through its human security cluster. The cluster promotes peace, security and international stability by elevating human security as a crucial component of security policy.  It seeks to increase stakeholders’ awareness of human security and its relationship with state security to enhance decision making of security actors from governments, international organisations, civil society and private sector worldwide. Simultaneously, the cluster focuses on the complex inter-linkages amongst various human security challenges with a special focus on health and environmental security. Via executive education, policy analysis and dialogue activities, experts and practitioners have opportunities to both analyse human security threats and explore solutions. A flagship course covering the human security perspective is the two-month New Issues in Security Course. The human security cluster also offers courses on Addressing Challenges in Global Health Security and on Climate Change Security Challenges and Solutions, as well as other tailor-made modules focusing on individual subject areas or the link between security challenges.


Ms Anna Brach
Course Director, European Security Course; Senior Programme Officer, Emerging Security Challenges Programme; Human Security Cluster Responsible

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