“Human Security is a relatively new concept, which has emerged out of complex and cross cutting threats that affect survival, livelihood and dignity of human-beings. Human security addresses multi-dimensional aspects of life- through advocating and ensuring freedom from fear (peace), freedom from want (development) and freedom to live with dignity (human rights). It is a holistic and evolving approach which requires further knowledge and experience sharing. As a lot of efforts are being made in different locations from which we can learn, it is important to promote mutual learning for improving our understanding and actions towards human security” – Organizers of the Human Security Conference 2013 in Ghana.
The United Nations in Ghana says its Joint Human Security Programme (HSP) with the Government of Ghana has contributed to changing lives of many residents in 19 partner communities in the three regions of Northern Ghana. It further states that though the programme is coming to an end this month – May 2013, it has left a lasting impact on many lives in that part of the country by addressing long-term challenges and promoting sustainable human security.
Launched in December 2009, the HSP sought to help create an enabling environment and empower local institutions, communities and individuals to manage and prevent conflict in most conflict sensitive areas in Northern Ghana – Bawku Municipality in the Upper East Region, Wa Municipality in the Upper West Region, Tamale Metropolis and Yendi Municipality in the Northern Region – as a means to ensuring sustainable human security. The programme supported the following interrelated five-prong interventions:
- Local Capacity development.
- Conflict prevention mechanisms.
- Income generation/Job creation.
- Food, health and nutrition security.
- Mainstreaming and advocating the human security concept.
The programme has been jointly implemented by six UN agencies, namely UNDP, UNICEF, WFP, FAO, UNIDO and UNU-INRA, in partnership with the Government of Ghana, civil society, academia, community members and other key stake holders. Funding for this programme has been made possible by the Japanese Government through the UN Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS).
As part of activities to mark the official closure of the programme and to provide a platform for sharing the outcomes of the HSP and exchanging innovative ideas among a wide range of stakeholders, an international conference was held on 22nd and 23rd May 2013 at the conference hall of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), University of Ghana, Legon- Accra.
The objectives of the conference were; To share the human security concept, approaches and practices applied in the HSP and progress/changes made in programme areas with a wide range of stakeholders; To facilitate mutual learning between HSP stakeholders- including the UN agencies, partner communities, local and national institutions and other non-programme stakeholders; To disseminate key knowledge from the learning process.
The two-day conference brought together participants from all works of life; stakeholders, researchers, practitioners, policy makers, media and other interested individuals- to share knowledge and experience in the area of human security from different perspectives. It is their hope that through mutual learning at the conference various forms of partnerships will be enhanced and together forge ways towards promoting human security in Ghana and across the globe. Certificates were awarded to the organizing team for their inputs in making the event a success.