The Seven Dimensions Of Human Security:
From the foregoing, taking into cognizance the three core rights: Freedom from Fear, Freedom from Want, and Freedom to Act in one’s own interest, seven dimensions of human security can be identified and elaborated upon.
Economic security – this requires an assured basic income for individuals, usually from productive and remunerative work or, as a last resort, from a publicly financed safety net. In this sense, only about a quarter of the world’s people are presently economically secure. Essentially Economic security is about access to a dignified and guaranteed means of livelihoods, and source of income to be able to take care of basic needs.
Guaranteeing economic security will thus imply and require the putting in place of operational mechanisms to ensure and enable accessible, inclusive, equitable, fair, socially just, and sustainable livelihoods and employment creation systems. Economic security thus means access to work and to livelihoods for everyone and for the whole society; that is the guarantee of the right to work and the right to a livelihood for all. The implication of this is that economic and political policies [governance policies] and the way we organise production [including production, distribution, exchange, and consumption] of goods and services, must be such that they can guarantee income, and a means of livelihoods for everyone.
Food security – this requires that all people at all times have both physical and economic access to basic food. According to the United Nations, the overall availability of food is not a problem, rather the problem often is the poor distribution of food and a lack of purchasing power.
Implicit in this are two interrelated and interconnected processes and phenomena. First, is that there is inequality in the ability and or opportunity to access food. The second is that food has to be produced, and distributed.
Thus, guaranteeing Food Security requires having in place, equitable, inclusive, fair, socially jus, and elaborate mechanisms and processes of food production, distribution, exchange and consumption. Governance policies will require to be focused towards developing, supporting, and or strengthening food systems – involving agricultural systems, food processing systems, food transportation and logistics systems, food markets where food is exchanged, and food consumption mechanisms ensuring that no one is excluded from being able to access food on any basis, including through food unavailability, or lack of purchasing power.
As is well known, conflicts, including wars, as well as natural disasters, disrupts food systems, including the production [cultivation and processing] and transportation of food; guaranteeing food security will therefore of necessity require protection from natural disasters and mitigation of risks and or impact of natural disasters, as well as the prevention and mitigation of conflicts.
Health security – this aims to guarantee a minimum protection from diseases and unhealthy lifestyles. In developing countries, the major causes of death traditionally were infectious and parasitic diseases, whereas in industrialized countries, the major killers were diseases of the circulatory system. Today, lifestyle-related chronic diseases are leading killers worldwide, with 80 percent of deaths from chronic diseases occurring in low- and middle-income countries.
Furthermore, even within countries, including within high income countries, the impact of diseases and ill-health is disproportionately borne, with the poorer and excluded segments of the population being more impacted.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic, recently exposed the scale and scope of this inequality within and between societies across the globe.
Besides, ill-health also affects and disrupt production and economies, they affect the wellbeing of individuals as well as the wellbeing of societies and the health of their economies.
Guaranteeing Health Security, will mean that robust mechanisms and processes will require to be put in place to promote healthy living, and ensure existence of healthcare delivery systems that are robust, affordable and accessible to all citizens. This includes availability of healthcare facilities, ensuring that healthcare facilities are adequately resourced with personnel and equipment and treatment mechanisms, including medication. It will also require that healthcare personnel are trained in adequate numbers and have access to training and retraining opportunities and programs. None of this can be guaranteed without adequate investment in healthcare delivery. To guarantee health security, deliberate and intentional processes must exist to reduce risk of exposure to diseases, and to treat ill-health. This can only be ensured through enabling Universal Health Coverage for all citizens.
Environmental security – this aims to protect people from the short- and long-term ravages of nature, man-made threats in nature, and deterioration of the natural environment. In developing countries, lack of access to clean water resources is one of the greatest environmental threats. In industrial countries, one of the major threats is air pollution. Global warming, caused by the emission of greenhouse gases, is another environmental security issue, of universal importance, and existential significance.
It is no longer debatable that human action is the single most significant contributor to the present and increasing scale of ecological and environmental devastation that is now posing an existential threat not just to human life, but to all forms of life, as we know it on our planet.
The tendency towards environmental devastation is inherent in the evolving nature of our increasingly exploitative relationship, as humans, with nature and our environment. This exploitative relationship with nature is the outcome of the way and manner that human beings have historically organised the way and manner that we produce [including distribute, exchange and consume] the things that we require to meet our basic and increasingly not so basic needs. Our relationship with nature is aggressive, extractive, and destructive. In order to produce what we need, and what we want, we destroy nature and our environment. The logic of the modes of production known to man throughout civilisation has been informed by the mantra, In order to Produce, you have to Destroy!
The origin of this antagonistic and devastating relationship with nature and the environment can, it seems, be traced back to the very moment that evolving humanity began to consciously use and make tools from nature, in order to make the things required to enable human existence by altering nature, and turning it into what we need.
The more adept at this humanity became altering nature to meet its needs, the more humanity saw itself as separate and distinct from nature, and ostensibly superior to nature. The relationship thus became increasingly one of catastrophic domination of nature and dominion over all other entities in nature.
The growth of human population, the increasing productivity of human action on nature, over time led to a situation where surplus could be produced and accumulated, where some part of humanity could become freed from the drudgery of production, and where society could support an essentially parasitic ruling class, through the dual process of exploitation of the labour of the majority and the destructive exploitation of nature, both of which require to be suppressed.
Guaranteeing Environmental Security in the 21st century will require, the transformation of the nature of our relationship with nature from that of exploitation and destruction to one of utilisation and cultivation; as well as the transformation of production relations [that is the relationships we enter into in order to produce] from one of exploitation and the tendency to accumulate surplus for the sake of accumulation, to one of cooperation, wealth cocreation, and shared utilisation of the proceeds of collective labour.
At the very minimum, as part of this transformation, humanity will have to make the energy transition, a transition away from the exploitation and use of fossil fuels as energy source to power human civilisation, to the use of more sustainable and renewable, energy sources. This transition, however, also has to be just, taking into cognizance how the cost of the environmental devastation will be borne, and how the cost of the transition will be shared, without job losses, and in a manner that can actually lead to the creation of more jobs, towards an outcome of full employment, and the guarantee of decent work.
Personal security – This aims to protect people from physical violence, whether from the state or external states, from violent individuals and sub-state actors, from domestic abuse, or from predatory adults. For many people, the greatest source of anxiety is crime, particularly violent crime.
The guarantee of personal security is central to active agency, as well as to the ability of individuals and communities to undertake the pursuits that will enable them live a life of happiness and fulfilment, and in dignity. Personal security is key to the enjoyment and realisation of the freedoms of association, expression, and assembly; as well as to the realisation of freedom from fear, from want, and the freedom to be able to act in one’s own interest.
Frameworks and mechanisms that ensure that no one is subjected to abuse, as well as ensuring effective and efficient crime prevention, mitigation and punishment mechanisms, will need to be put in place, including mechanisms that promote and enable fair and equitable access to justice.
Community security – this aims to protect people from the loss of traditional relationships and values and from sectarian and ethnic violence. Traditional communities, particularly minority ethnic groups are often threatened. About half of the world’s states have experienced some inter-ethnic strife as a result of the exclusion and suppression of ethnic and or religious minorities.
Community security is also about agency, it can catalyse self-agency of a community if it is enabled, just as it can also paralyse self-agency of a community when suppressed. Ensuring community security can also directly promote personal security, just as the suppression of community security have severe consequences for personal security.
Deliberate and intentional policies and mechanisms will be required to be put in place to ensure inclusion of excluded of populations and minorities and to protect and guarantee the rights of minorities, ensuring that violations of these rights do not go unpunished and unredressed. The justice system must be responsive not only to the needs of society in general, but to the needs of vulnerable and excluded groups and minorities in society, in particular.
Political security – this is concerned with whether people live in a society that honors their basic human rights. Human rights violations are most frequent during periods of political unrest and heightened economic crises.
Along with repressing individuals and groups, governments may try to exercise control over ideas and information.
Political security is in this sense thus, essentially about enabling the existence of a robust civic space, and ensuring the guarantee of the rights to associate, to free speech, and to assemble. It is therefore for all intents and purposes about the ability of a people to participate in the governance of their society; including the ability to determine, and or influence the nature, processes, and composition of government; the conception, design and implementation of government and governance policies; and the character, purpose and constitution of the state and its institutions and mechanisms.
Guaranteeing political security will require the provision and nurturing of enabling environment for citizens participation, involvement in, and engagement with governance and governance processes.
CONCLUSION: HUMAN SECURITY AND THE SDGs;
A critical look at each and everyone of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs], indicate that central to the strategic thrust of the SDGs, is the Human Security Approach to Human Development. Each of the goals and their respective targets [169 targets, 3879 events, 1348 publications, and 7805 actions] can be linked directly with dimensions of the human security approach.
a. Economic Security: SDGs 1, 7, 8, 9, and 10 can be linked to this dimension of human security
b. Food Security: SDGs 2, 9, 12, 15 and 17, can be linked with this dimension of human security
c. Health Security: SDGs3, 6, 9 and 17 can be linked to this dimension of human security
d. Environmental Security: SDGs 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, and 17 can be linked to this dimension of human security
e. Personal Security: SDGs 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9 can be linked to this dimension of human security
f. Community Security: SDGs 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17 can be linked to this dimension of human security
g. Political Security: SDGs 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17 can be linked to this dimension of human security
We can infer that human security framework and the SDGs are mutually reinforcing and are interrelated and interdependent. We can thus conclude that Without guaranteeing Human Security, the Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved.
Additionally, the Human Security Framework, and the SDGs appear to have restored the unity of rights, the inalienability and indivisibility of human rights, overturning the inadvertent hierarchy of rights that evolved with the somewhat convenient privileging and prioritization of civil and political rights [the so-called first-generation rights], over the second generation [social, economic and cultural rights] and third generations [minority, collective and solidarity rights] rights.
In the context of the human security framework, and the SDGs, we see the interconnectedness and interdependence of rights. For human rights to be enjoyed, all of the rights must be accessible and guaranteed to all citizens. Economic, Food, and Health Security dimensions encompass the second generation of rights; Political and personal security dimensions encompass first generation rights; while Community and Environmental security encompass the third generation of rights.
We only need to add in conclusion that the designation of rights by socalled generation is simply as a result of the historical, and or periodical sequencing of the consensus about the universality of those rights, and of their adoption internationally. Unfortunately, this historical sequencing, had also led to the inadvertent imposition of a hierarchy of rights, and the privileging of civil and political rights over other human rights.