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Human security threatened by diverse group of challenges – Assembly President

Human security threatened by diverse group of challenges – Assembly President

Srgjan Kerim, President of the 62nd session of the General Assembly
Challenges ranging from hunger and poverty to armed conflict and from environmental degradation to international terrorism all pose a threat to human security and illustrate the need to devise solutions that are both integrated and people-centred, President Srgjan Kerim today told the General Assembly’s first-ever thematic debate on the issue.

Speaking at the one-day forum at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Kerim said it was a time “for a holistic approach focused on people, their protection and empowerment” and one that moves beyond the understanding of security as state security only.

The 2005 World Summit referred to the concept of human security, noting that “all individuals, in particular, vulnerable people, are entitled to freedom from fear and freedom from want, with an equal opportunity to enjoy all their rights and fully develop their human potential.”

The President said at today’s debate that the international community should enhance its cooperation given the interconnectedness of people’s insecurities.

“As the global food crisis illustrates, a well-coordinated and integrated response by the international community is needed to address both the prevention stage as well as the full range of factors that affect people’s well-being.”

He called for a “new culture of international relations” with the principle of human security as its foundation.

Speaking to reporters later, Mr. Kerim said: “It was stressed today that human security is relevant in many, many critical areas, important parts of the activities of people and of the global challenges of today.”

The debate’s keynote speaker, Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, also said the issue must be reframed to include the concepts of survivability and resilience.

Global imbalances in the realms of population growth, poverty, food, resources, ecology, migration, energy, money, peace and cultural understanding are “multipliers” of human security, in that they can exponentially affect lives by either providing stability or instability, he observed.

The Prince noted that “States have not relinquished their sovereignty to cooperate with one another more effectively, and market-driven solutions have proven incapable of addressing the systemic problems that transcend national borders.”

In his speech, he also said that representatives from all sectors – government, business and civil society – must establish a global programme of action to bring about an end to poverty and ensure adequate food supplies, a clean environment and stable purchasing power, among others.

“When we say we are looking at human security, what we mean is that we want to alleviate the present situation by creating a system so that, as the future keeps arriving, it arrives in the form of better and better present situations,” he said. “The consequences of what we do now must bring about a better present moment in which to live.”

In 2006, an open-ended forum comprising Member States from all regions called Friends of Human Security – of which the Prince is a member – was established to encourage collaboration among nations on the topic.