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Human Security in the United Nations

2003–2004

At the initiative of Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, the Trust Fund for Human Security Trust (TFHS) was established in the United Nations in March 1999 to support UN projects addressing various threats to human lives, livelihoods, and dignity around the world. In the autumn of 2003, JCIE was commissioned by Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to conduct an assessment of several projects funded by the TFHS, with a focus on how the human security concept has been incorporated and applied in TFHS-funded projects from the conception phase through the design and implementation processes. The analysis focused particularly on the impact of a human security approach on specific projects. The ultimate aim of the project was to provide UN institutions and other organizations with useful lessons for carrying out effective human security projects in the future.

The research looked at projects undertaken by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and the International Labor Organization (ILO). It focused on the following five projects in Southeast Asia funded by the TFHS:

  1. Tobelo-Galela Area Recovery Initiative in Indonesia, North Maluku (UNDP)
  2. Development of Social Safety Nets for Health in Laos and Vietnam (WHO)
  3. Ainaro and Manotuto Community Activation Project in East Timor (UNDP)
  4. The Human Dignity Initiative: Community-based safety nets as tools for human development in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam (ESCAP)
  5. Prevention of Trafficking in Children and Women at the Community Level in Cambodia and Vietnam (ILO)

The research team conducted interviews with officers in UN headquarters and field offices involved in the design and implementation of the target projects, as well as with local stakeholders in all of the projects. The fieldwork was conducted from November 24 through December 12, 2003, in four countries: Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and East Timor. JCIE held a workshop in Tokyo on February 27 and 28, 2004, to discuss the preliminary findings and their implications with the projects' UN field officers and partner organizations as well as Japanese politicians and government officials, UN representatives, and other experts on human security.

The final report was submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which funded this project, in the spring of 2004.

Human Security in the United Nations Report [pdf 480k]

Tokyo Workshop

Agenda
Participants