Conference Themes

The Third World Conference on Human Security: Humanitarian Perspectives and Responses has been divided into four main themes:

Theme 1. Human Security Debate: Lessons from Humanitarianism

Coordinators: Peter Walker and Kristin Sandvik

The promotion of human security by UNDP and through the adoption of the Responsibility to Protect principles opens up a broad scope of concerns. It recognises the multiplex character of security as encompassing aspects of food security, livelihoods, environment, politics and more, and raises a number of questions. Who sets the agenda and why? What does human security mean for the responsibility of the government or alternative power holders, including traditional structures, state contestants, rebels and occupying forces? What is the role of the international community in ensuring human security, set against norms of national sovereignty? What does it mean for service providers in fragile and complex settings, including humanitarian agencies?

Theme 2. Politics and Practices of Natural Disasters and Disaster Response

Coordinators: Chris Cushing, Kirsten Johnson and Wendy Fenton

Many humanitarian crises are triggered by natural hazards. Whether these hazards turn into crises depends on the vulnerability of exposed populations on the one hand, and the resilience of their communities and societies on the other. Under this theme, panels will be organized that explore new trends in disaster response and disaster risk reduction. We also seek panels that address the politics of natural disasters: why do they happen, is there human blame, how are risks prioritized and measures defined and who is responsible for the protection of people against these hazards? Panels are also invited that focus on the normative frameworks of disaster response. What, for example, is the possible contribution of the idea of human security? The concept of human security is an integrative concept that combines ideas on human development, human needs and human rights. How appropriate is this for natural disasters?

Theme 3. Socio-economic Realities of Humanitarian Crises

Coordinators: Dorothea Hilhorst and Dennis Dijkzeul

This theme elaborates questions of economics and livelihoods in humanitarian crises, as well as questions about the effects of economic crises on political and humanitarian crises. While many crises today are protracted in nature, it becomes increasingly important to understand and promote the normality of livelihoods and questions of development during crises. This ranges from the emerging insights about the political economy of humanitarian crises to the operational challenges of dealing with the livelihoods of poor and marginalized groups in conflict or dire situations of food insecurity. Under this theme we also welcome panels that address questions of how today’s large-scale economic crisis affects the conditions of human security in crisis-affected countries.

Theme 4. New Players in the Humanitarian Arena, with Special Attention to Turkey

Coordinators: Alp Özerdem, Mihir Bhatt and Julia Steets

There has been a lot of concern about the role of new players in the humanitarian arena, including donors, agencies and political key figures. But what do we actually know about these? Under this theme we seek panels concerning Turkey’s human security and humanitarian challenges both as a context and donor country. We also welcome panels that more broadly address new players. This may also include panels on the influence of new media on crises and crisis response. What are the emerging trends in the use of mass media and social media in framing and responding to humanitarian crises?

Last update:  11:01 05/02 2013