Officials Stress Relevance of Human Security in SDG Era
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
story highlights

Japan, Norway, South Africa and Thailand, in cooperation with UNDP and the UN Human Security Unit, organized a high-level event ‘Human Security at 25: Building on its Contributions to Achieve the SDGs'.

Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, said human security serves as unifying tool to reach the promises of the 2030 Agenda, and is in line with the UN reforms currently being implemented.

28 February 2019: To mark the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the concept of human security to the UN, Member States, UN entities and other stakeholders met to discuss the relevance of human security for achieving the SDGs. They noted the need to renew momentum and increase investments for its implementation.

The human security concept was introduced to the UN through the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) 1994 Human Development Report. The report argues that addressing multifaceted challenges and crises requires the recognition that security rests on freedom from fear, violence, environmental degradation, and external shocks and disruptions. Among the initiatives that followed this report, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the 2012 resolution 66/290 defining human security as an approach to “assist Member States in identifying and addressing widespread and cross-cutting challenges to the survival, livelihood and dignity of their people.” Per the resolution, human security is based on, inter alia, the right of people to live in freedom and dignity, and the recognition of the interlinkages between peace, development and human rights.

The high-level event on ‘Human Security at 25: Building on its Contributions to Achieve the SDGs’ was organized in New York, US, on 28 February 2019, by the governments of Japan, Norway, South Africa and Thailand, in cooperation with UNDP and the UN Human Security Unit. Taro Kono, Foreign Minister of Japan, speaking by video message, noted the relevance of human security in the SDG era, citing the large number of refugees and internally displaced persons, and natural disasters that are increasingly severe. He announced that Japan serves as host of the Group of 20 (G20) in 2019. Also via video message, Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, said human security serves as unifying tool to reach the promises of the 2030 Agenda, and is in line with the UN reforms currently being implemented.

Toshiya Hoshino, Permanent Mission of Japan, called for scaling up the UN Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS) for concrete action on the ground. The UNTFHS was established in 1999 at the initiative of the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General and Japan, to strengthen UN system response to multidimensional challenges. Hoshino also announced that in 2019, Japan will assume the presidency of the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development.

Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, remarked that human security has maintained its relevance in the context of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, and called for the UN development community to keep it as a reference point for bringing together different domains of development. He added that UNDP’s “journey” with the UNTFHS has been highly productive. According this statement, UNDP has received over USD 150 million from the Fund and has participated in over 100 programmes.

Pedro Conceição, UNDP, noted the local relevance of human security, as it helps to design interventions on the ground. Allegra Maria Del Pilar Baiocchi, UN Resident Coordinator in Cameroon, said Cameroon has been benefiting from the UNTFHS for three years, leading to changes and improvements in the lives of people on the ground. She noted that while Member States have adopted the SDGs, they have struggled to deliver on human development, and called for increased investments in human security.

Mehrnaz Mostafavi, UN Human Security Unit, noted that human security brings security, development and human rights together in a single framework, and provides a proven approach to break down silos.

Mona Juul, Permanent Representative of Norway, linked human security to education. She expressed concern regarding attacks on schools that occurred in 70 countries between 2009 and 2013. She indicated that Norway played a key role in the launch of the Safe School Declaration initiative, which has been endorsed by 83 countries, and announced that Spain will host the Third International Conference on Safe Schools on 28-29 May 2019.

Supark Prongthura, Permanent Mission of Thailand, reported that his country is embarking on localizing the SDGs, and is looking at ways to mainstream human security in these efforts. He noted that Thailand has undertaken one of the most ambitious healthcare reforms ever concucted in a developing country, and has introduced an effective universal coverage scheme.

Richard Towle, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), linked human security to the Global Compact on Refugees adopted in 2018, saying the strength of the Compact lies in the concepts of burden sharing and responsibility sharing.

Among the other participants who spoke, South Africa remarked that the Human Security Network is an important initiative that can help States achieve the SDGs. Mexico said that meeting the SDG targets is the best way to achieve human security, and that human security was one of the first “silo-breaking” initiatives. [Event Agenda] [Event Concept Note] [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources]

related posts