Advancing Human Security

Human security is indispensable for people to live in freedom and dignity, free from poverty and despair.

WLP promotes a holistic, human-centered vision of security that prevents conflict, creates inclusive civil spaces, and protects the lives and livelihoods of all members of society.

Program Highlights

Curriculum for practitioners and activists

Research on women's experience 

International conferences

Workshops on women and peacebuilding 

Read more

Since the tragic events of 9/11, the concept of “security” has become more polarized—with proponents of state security too often pitted against proponents of human rights. The result has been that the aspiration of security itself has become highly politicized, impeding a critical component of human progress. WLP is working to reintroduce an all-encompassing vision of human security, which links human rights and human development in policy initiatives at the local and international levels. We are promoting an approach to human security that is inclusive of social, economic, cultural, civil, and political rights.

Human security brings together the ‘human elements’ of security, rights and development. It encompasses community security, economic security, environmental security, food security, health security, personal security, and political security.
United Nations Report: Human Security in Theory and Practice, 2009

In 2003, WLP hosted a groundbreaking conference, Clash or Consensus: Gender and Human Security in a Globalized World, that addressed preventing conflict and promoting human rights, involving women in peace-building and reconciliation efforts, promoting democratic principles, empowering people to take active roles in democratic processes, and raising living standards to eliminate economic insecurity. From that time, we have been integrating human security topics into our conferences, training, and advocacy initiatives. With the information we are gathering, we are developing new human security information and policy objectives for our partners and allies. 

Curriculum on Human Security Empowerment

WLP is developing a curriculum that will empower women and build their capacity to engage in local and international advocacy that promotes human security. The curriculum will explore different types of interrelated threats to human security, including economic, environmental, food, health, and political security. And it will provide multi-sectoral tools and tactics for human security advocacy. The target audience is activists, human rights advocates, CSO staff, and policy makers, who will be able to integrate the tools and tactics into their mobilization efforts.

Research on Human Security and Women

WLP is particularly concerned about the human security of women and girls, and how good governance, human rights, economic opportunities, and nationality rights lead to their increased security. While the subject of human security has received much scholarly and policy-related consideration, there has been scant attention paid to the distinct threats that women and girls experience. We believe that understanding both the threats women experience, and how those threats can be alleviated, can potentially expand and strengthen human security for everyone.

WLP convenes expert meetings and conferences for feminists, human rights advocates, development specialists, and others working to improve women’s lives across the globe to address how women experience insecurity. We are working with scholars and practitioners to articulate a vision of what alleviating insecurity, in all of its manifestations, might look like. Much of the research and strategies shared in these convenings will be included in our human security curriculum, and is currently included in our capacity building work with our partners. 

Training on Human Security Advocacy

WLP conducts grassroots workshops and national and regional training of trainers institutes (TOTs) that explain human security and highlight how it can be used to address a range of human welfare and policy priorities in communities experiencing stress and violence. The value of the human security approach is that it sets a bar across a multitude of criteria (including physical safety, adequate food, sufficient housing, and accessible healthcare, among others) below which the survival of people in a given community, or from a given class or group, is seriously at risk. At the same time, the human security approach contextualizes the causes of threats, and in so doing provides advocates with a way to demonstrate the needs and vulnerabilities of those who are threatened. WLP’s human security training for advocates and policy makers demonstrates how to use a human security approach in their advocacy for women’s advancement.

Empowering Women for Peacebuilding 

Several times over the last decade, the UN Security Council has revisited the question of how best to address women’s rights in times of conflict, resulting in over half a dozen Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) on Women, Peace, and Security. The first of these resolutions was passed in 2000, five years after the close of the Bosnian war and the end of hostilities in Rwanda, in both of which rape was widely used as a weapon of war. The resolution recognized the disproportionate and unique impact of violent conflict on women, and called for women’s participation in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peacekeeping, and peace-building. Subsequent UNSCRs have addressed women’s participation as well as victimization in violent conflicts, and called for closing the gap between words and action among the UN Member States in implementing the Women, Peace, and Security agenda.

WLP’s partners, particularly in countries suffering violent conflict or neighbors to countries in violent conflict, have been intensely engaged in national and regional efforts to involve women in policymaking regarding victims and refugees of war, peace negotiations, and post-conflict reconstruction. WLP believes that it is critical to have women engaged in post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction efforts, and in building local civil society organizations that promote democracy and social and economic development. Toward this aim, we are conducting training of trainer institutes (TOTs) in Jordan, Lebanon, and Nigeria, on leadership, peacebuilding, and human rights, and we are supporting women’s advocacy on peace and security at the international level. Participants in the trainings include refugees from Syria and elsewhere, women from the refugee host countries, and women from regions in Iraq, Libya, and Nigeria that are experiencing violent conflict and/or its aftermaths.

Our goal is to empower women to take on leadership roles in the peace and recovery efforts in their home countries, and to introduce them to international mechanisms for human rights advocacy, such as the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review. Participants in the trainings go on to conduct their own WLP peacebuilding trainings, and are able to bring their local human rights and humanitarian concerns to the attention of international bodies.

See More