Since the end of the Cold War, armed conflicts have increasingly taken place within, and not between, states. Boundaries between political and criminal violence are becoming increasingly blurred, while the very definition of "security" is undergoing radical change. Today, security is about the protection of communities and individuals from ...
Since the end of the Cold War, armed conflicts have increasingly taken place within, and not between, states. Boundaries between political and criminal violence are becoming increasingly blurred, while the very definition of "security" is undergoing radical change. Today, security is about the protection of communities and individuals from internal violence as well as the defense of borders against external threats. It is this focus--on the individual rather than the state--which distinguishes "human security" from "national security." National security is about protecting the state; human security is about protecting people. Both should be mutually reinforcing, but secure states do not necessarily mean secure citizens. During the last 100 years far more people have died at the hands of their own governments than have been killed by foreign armies. Despite the fact that more than 90% of armed conflicts now take place within, and not between, states, most governments and mainstream security research institutions continue to focus on national, as opposed to human, security. National security remains important, but in a world in which interstate war is the rare exception there is a need for a new and very different global security audit. The Human Security Report will address this need. Modeled on the UN's Human Development Report, the Human Security Report will provide an annual mapping of the incidence, intensity, causes, and consequences of global violence and policy responses to that violence. Each report will carry a series of essays focusing on a thematic issue. The theme of the first issue will be "War in the 21st Century." These essays will explore the emerging consensus about the causes of what is now being called the "New War" and the increasingly blurred distinction between criminal and political violence in many parts of the world. The UN, the World Bank, the OECD, the G7, and an increasing number of donor states now accept that understanding the root causes of contemporary violence--such as armed conflict, civil war, genocide, and terrorism--is a necessary condition for creating effective policy. The fact that the relationships between violence, economic underdevelopment, and bad governance are mutually interdependent is also understood. But prevention strategies that seek to address these relationships are hampered by bureaucracy and poor communication between the academic disciplines. This report aims to bridge these fault lines. Funded by national governments and the Rockefeller Foundation--and endorsed by leading scholars, NGOs, and the foreign ministers of the 13-nation Human Security Network--the Human Security Repor will be an indispensable reference tool for all theorists and practitioners wishing to generate higher levels of synergy between the development, governance, and conflict resolution communities.
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