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Inside this Issue


The multidimensional crises confronting humanity today defy solution through existing policies, strategies, institutions, theoretical knowledge, education and ways of thinking. We are called upon to conceive and strive to realize a new paradigm in thought that leads to action. Many long cherished ideas must be challenged, reformulated, discarded or replaced. Among these is the conventional idea of security as it has been dominating the thinking and action of nation-states for centuries.

It is ironic that in an age of unprecedented knowledge, technology, economic development and financial capacity, a growing sense of insecurity seems to pervade and permeate the lives of people around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic, the sudden outbreak of war in Europe, the resurgence of fears of nuclear war, and the ever more threatening approach of catastrophic climate change are among the most apparent causes and expressions of this rising insecurity. But the roots lie still deeper in rising threats to democracy, the growing polarization of societies, growing inequality and a rejection of the universal values which have guided global progress since the founding of the United Nations. The security of national boundaries is no doubt as important as it has been in the past. But it is no longer a sufficient standard by which to govern relationships among this increasingly interconnected and integrated global community. The $2 trillion in annual military spending is not enhancing the security of the world’s people, even in the militarily strongest, most prosperous nations.

The security humanity seeks today is not merely for the preservation of national boundaries and the integrity of nation-states, which have very often left individuals and communities within their borders oppressed by war, violence, famine, poverty, social and cultural discrimination. People around the world aspire for security at the personal level as well as the national—security that addresses the needs and aspirations of every individual. Today the world yearns for Human Security.

The concept of Human Security as a seminal and essential element of human development was set forth by the UNDP in their landmark 1994 Human Development Report, which broadened the concept to include seven dimensions—food, health, economic, political, ecological, community and individual. It was later affirmed by the establishment of the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security in 1999, an independent Commission on Human Security in 2001, reports by the Secretary General in 2010 and a General Assembly resolution affirmed by more than 190 nations and second report by the UNSG in 2012.

The essential elements of Human Security are set forth in detail in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets unanimously adopted by 193 UN member states in 2015. Human Security embraces all the SDGs and integrates them under a single comprehensive umbrella. But in addition, it emphasizes the individual as well as the collective dimension of security, by focusing on prevention and protection as well as relief from threats, the right of each individual to choose, and the empowerment of each individual to pursue security. Furthermore, the human security approach recognizes that security is a subjective as well as an objective phenomenon which cannot be assured by exclusive concentration on achieving certain quantitative goals such as per capita income, life expectance, years of schooling or CO2 emissions. It depends very largely on creating a safe and secure social environment which assures to each individual the right to live in freedom from fear, want and indignity.

This special issue of Cadmus is issued in support of the HS4A global campaign on Human Security for All launched in January 2023 by the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security and the World Academy of Art and Science. The intention of the report is to foster awareness and understanding of the concept of human security from a multitude of perspectives and different dimensions at the local, national and global level.

The views expressed in these articles represent those of their authors and do not necessarily reflect those of HS4A, Cadmus or the World Academy of Art & Science. We hope this issue will prompt many readers to seek further reading on this topic on the UNTFHS and WAAS websites, to monitor and support the activities of HS4A as they unfold during the year at, to reflect on how a shift in thinking to human security can and should promote changes in higher education, and to identify ways in which the organizations to which readers are affiliated can actively advance a new paradigm on human security both in thought and action.

We hope you enjoy this issue.