Human Security on Foreign Policy Agendas, Introdution to Changes, Concepts and Cases

In: INEF-Report, Jg. 80 (2006), S. 7-20
ISSN: 0941-4967
Zeitschriftenaufsatz / Fach: Politikwissenschaft
1994 report, nobody expected that the human security concept outlined
within it would attract so much attention from politicians and academics alike.
This is all the more astonishing as the concept has provoked a lot of criticism
ever since its first appearance due to its excoriated analytical ambiguity and its
disputed political appropriateness.
One of the significant changes (see Debiel/Werthes) of human security
concepts is that they put special emphasis on a horizontal and vertical extension.
Thereby, new types of threats are taken into account with regard to a new
referent object. Basically, all these concepts have in common that the object of
security is not limited to the state but also includes the individual – no matter
where he/she lives. Hence, these concepts implicitly emphasise that the various
safety threats must be addressed though multilateral processes and by taking
into account the patterns of interdependence that characterize the globalized
As if such an extraordinary extension would not be a big enough challenge
for states and the international community as such, Debiel/Werthes and
Werthes/Bosold (with regard to the members of the Human Security Network)
point out how human security understood and accepted as a political leitmotif
might have and might produce significant leverage on foreign policy agendas,
as it might serve particular states and multilateral actors by fulfilling selected
functions in the process of agenda-setting, decision-making and implementation.
This might to a certain degree explain why different and ambiguous human
security concepts despite criticism have gained so much attention especially
in the political field.
The case studies by Atanassova-Cornelis, Gropas, and Liotta/Owen further
exemplify these aforementioned ideas when illustrating human security on the
Japanese foreign policy agenda, or when studying the link between human
security and human rights, and even when comparing the European Human
Security doctrine with the US National Security Strategy with regard to potentials
and limits.