By Norberto I. Schinitman
Certain basic or minimal conditions or circumstances have been recognized, the validity of which is essential to be able to move towards the achievement of Human Health. Once the basic conditions have been achieved, others of an intermediate level can be achieved which, in turn, lead to reaching the final objective of the SH.
“… Human security is a process by which the conditions for the dignity of the human being are created”.
IntroductionThose who regularly consult texts and documents on environmental issues related to sustainability, surely have noticed that, for some time, the expression "Human Security" or Human Security, in English, has been appearing with increasing frequency. This is because the United Nations has been using this phrase, which designates a very relevant concept, since the end of the last decade of the 20th century.
Consequently, this article attempts to make an environmental educational contribution to the knowledge of this very important subject related to Human Development and Sustainable Development, elucidating some of the main connotations and aspects related to the concept of Human Security (SH hereinafter, in this article), particularly in relation to its application in Latin America.
Finally, as a complement, a “Basic Guide for the recognition of cases and conditions related to Human Security” is presented which, in addition to its own purpose, can serve as a diagram of the fundamental aspects of the SH.
Conceptualization of Human SecurityPeople are not only at risk when they are harassed with lethal weapons. Undoubtedly, they are also on those occasions when they suffer from hunger or illness, or when - due to various circumstances and vicissitudes - essential aspects of their daily life and living space are in danger.
Among the contingencies that can put both daily life and living space at risk, we can mention the non-compliance of human rights and democratic principles, violence, conflicts, terrorism and the environmental deterioration of air, water and land. . Also, others such as the lack of suitable and traceable food, diseases and epidemics, unemployment, job insecurity, poverty, illiteracy, homelessness and natural disasters.
SH is understood, in broad terms, as a condition or situation that involves a change in perspectives or orientation, and in which the world is envisioned taking people as a nucleus of reference, beyond considerations about territorial security or governmental.
It is a multiform idea-force, applicable in various social contexts, which associates and includes the different conditions for full human and regional development. According to this novel interdisciplinary concept, security is based primarily on the promotion and protection of citizens' rights that guarantee the well-being and satisfaction of people within the framework of society itself, rather than in the conventional scheme of strengthening the state. and the armed defense of its institutions against possible threats, intimidation or stalking from abroad.
Indeed, those who are currently promoting SH actions are mostly concerned with the safety of individuals and communities, mainly with regard to the fight against hunger, disease, epidemics, natural disasters, violence and other similar situations. Therefore, SH implies giving people security against threats or obstacles, both non-violent and violent.
Obviously, the noble concept of the SH is very broad, complex and not very specific. Because international and national institutions and governments have approached this issue from different perspectives, its distinctive features and priority aspects depend, to some extent, on both the particular characteristics and the prevailing reality in each region.
As a “working definition” of the SH, its primary objective is often cited, which points to the expectation of “safeguarding human lives from dominant critical threats and is consistent, in a way, with the realization of people in the long-term".
In some cases, SH is also referred to as “people-centered security”, or “security with a human face”, because, according to the above, it prioritizes people at the center of the security scene.
At the same time, the SH emphasizes permanence of achievements. In other words, in addition to ensuring everyone the possibility of accessing fundamental social and economic conditions, it also aims to consolidate the persistence and sustainability of that access.
Since the SH highlights common aspects and relationships between human rights and the development of society, it has been incorporated into many important debates and agreements on environmental issues, particularly related to some aspects of sustainability and Sustainable Development. It should also be noted that, given the significance of this idea-force, the United Nations has established, as of 2004, a Human Security Unit in its Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Basic areas of Human Security
For a better understanding and approach to its achievement, Human Security is usually broken down into several basic areas of concern and commitment which, of course, are strongly interrelated.
Some of the most relevant areas, and their main connotations and elements, are mentioned below. (The order in which the areas are cited is alphabetical and does not denote a hierarchy.)
- Environmental security
Balance between anthropic actions derived from real socioeconomic needs and protection of the environment.
- Scientific and technological security
Optimization of the application of scientific and technological knowledge to increase the quality of life of society, within a framework of sustainability.
- Cultural security
Ensuring the possibility of access to education and permanent training for all. Respect for individual and community cultural values.
- Economic and financial security
Strengthening the viability of achieving personal development through work and legal activities. General management oriented towards sustainable development, above commercial interests.
- Function security
Gender equality. Promotion of harmonious, balanced, equitable, ethical, egalitarian and fair social life, in all circumstances, for all, without exclusions. Ensuring free competition and recognition of the best prepared in their professional fields.
- Legal security
Legal framework with clear rules, appropriate to the needs and consistent with the expectations and interests of society. Respect for individual freedoms.
- Social Security
Enable everyone to satisfy their basic needs, such as food (food security), health, well-being, a friendly social environment, avoidance of exclusions and marginalization.
Towards the achievement of Human Security
Certain basic or minimal conditions or circumstances have been recognized, the validity of which is essential to be able to move towards achieving the SH. Once the basic conditions have been achieved, others of an intermediate level can be achieved which, in turn, lead to reaching the final objective of the SH. Let's see, below, some of the most relevant of these conditions.
-Basic or minimal conditions
These include access to employment, infrastructure, social goods and services, food security, comprehensive protection of people and an appropriate environment that promotes a good quality of life.
-Intermediate level conditions
They are those whose achievement, after the achievement of the above conditions, leads to well-being, comfort, dignity, decorum and the certainty of people's lives.
-Final objective of the SH
It can be achieved by reaching the situation of social harmony, which includes respect, cooperation, solidarity and affection between people.
Obstacles or threats to the achievement of human security
At the same time, certain issues, actions or omissions that could oppose meeting the basic conditions are considered obstacles or threats that may prevent the achievement of the SH. These obstacles include poverty, hunger, unemployment, low wages, inequities, conflicts, poor provision or supply of basic services (such as education, health, drinking water, sewers, roads, and others) and the degradation of natural resources (such as water, air, land, forests, etc.).
Basic guide for the recognition of cases and conditions related to Human Security
When recognizing the real situation, it is recommended to carefully examine and consider the items detailed in the following sections 1 and 2 and on conditions and obstacles to Human Security.
Next, to describe and contextualize the cases, apply the aspects detailed in section 3 as appropriate.
1. Conditions related to the concept of human security
1.1 Basic conditions
1.1.1 Access to employment.
1.1.2 Access to infrastructure and social goods and services.
1.1.3 Adequate environmental conditions that provide a good level of quality of life and the integral protection of the person.
1.1.4 Food safety.
1.2. Intermediate level conditions (to be achieved after reaching the basic conditions)
1.2.1 Well-being and comfort.
1.2.2 Dignity and certainty.
1.2.3 Social harmony. (Final objective of human security).
(Respect, cooperation, solidarity, affection between people).
2. Aspects considered as obstacles or threats to human security
2.3 Poor basic services.
(Education, health, drinking water, sewers ...).
2.4 Degradation of natural resources.
(Water, air, land, forests, ...).
2.5 Inequities and conflicts.
3. Description and contextualization of the cases
3.1 City, locality.
(Population, growth, migrations).
(Number of dwellings, types of dwelling).
3.5 Land tenure.
(Land distribution, land area).
(Employed persons, types of occupation)
(Drinking water, sewers, electricity, telephones, roads).
(Preschool, primary, secondary and university, official and private educational centers).
3.9 Tax situation.
(Income and budget of the municipality or locality).
-United Nations Center for Regional Development. Office for Latin America and the Caribbean. (2002). Human Security and Regional Development in Latin America. UNCRD Research Report Series No. 44.
-Commission on Human Security (2003). Outline of the Report of the Human Security Commission. http://www.humansecurity-chs.org/finalreport/Outlines/outline_spanish.pdf
-Human Security Center (2003). Human Security Explained. http://www.humansecuritycentre.org
-Human Security Center (2005). Human Security Report 2005. What is Human Security. http://www.humansecurityreport.info/HSR2005/What_is_HS.info.pdf
-Schinitman, N. I. (2005). Food Security, Hunger and Malnutrition. https://www.ecoportal.net/content/view/full/55074
-United Nations Development Program. Human Development Reports (2006). What is HD. http://www.hdr.undp.org/hd/
-UNESCO (2005). Human Security. http://www.unesco.org/bpi/pdf/memobp2.security_es.pdf
-UNESCO (2005). Promote Human Security: Ethical, Normative and Educational Frameworks. http://www.unesco.org/images/0013/001389/138940S.pdf
-Women's Environmental & Development Organization (2005). There is no human security without gender equality. http://www.generourban.org/Documentos/dossier_mujeres.htm
* Prof. Norberto I. Schinitman,
Master in Environmental Education, Environmental Auditor, Biochemist.