New threats to human security in the Anthropocene: Demanding greater solidarity

Morrissey, John (Contributing Author)
Morrissey, John
Morrissey, John (Contributing Author). (2022). New threats to human security in the Anthropocene: Demanding greater solidarity New York: United Nations Development Programme.
We are faced with a development paradox. Even though people are on average living longer, healthier and wealthier lives, these advances have not succeeded in increasing people¿s sense of security. This holds true for countries all around the world and was taking hold even before the uncertainty wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has increased this uncertainty. It has imperiled every dimension of our wellbeing and amplified a sense of fear across the globe. This, in tandem with rising geopolitical tensions, growing inequalities, democratic backsliding and devastating climate change-related weather events, threatens to reverse decades of development gains, throw progress on the Sustainable Development Goals even further off track, and delay the urgent need for a greener, more inclusive and just transition. Against this backdrop, I welcome the Special Report on New threats to human security in the Anthropocene: Demanding greater solidarity, produced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The report explains this paradox, highlighting the strong association between declining levels of trust and increased feelings of insecurity. It suggests that during the Anthropocene¿a term proposed to describe the era in which humans have become central drivers of planetary change, radically altering the earth¿s biosphere¿people have good reason to feel insecure. Multiple threats from COVID-19, digital technology, climate change, and biodiversity loss, have become more prominent or taken new forms in recent years. In short, humankind is making the world an increasingly insecure and precarious place. The report links these new threats with the disconnect between people and planet, arguing that they¿like the Anthropocene itself¿are deeply entwined with increasing planetary pressure. The contribution of this report is to update the concept of human security to reflect this new reality. This implies moving beyond considering the security of individuals and communities, to also consider the interdependence among people, and between people and planet, as reflected in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In doing so, the report offers a way forward to tackle today¿s interconnected threats. First, by pursuing human security strategies that affirm the importance of solidarity, since we are all vulnerable to the unprecedented process of planetary change we are experiencing during the Anthropocene. And second, by treating people not as helpless patients, but agents of change and action capable of shaping their own futures and course correcting. The findings in the report echo some of the key themes in my report on Our Common Agenda, including the importance of investing in prevention and resilience, the protection of our planet, and rebuilding equity and trust at a global scale through solidarity and a renewed social contract. The United Nations offers a natural platform to advance these core objectives with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders. This report offers valuable insights and analyses, and I commend it to a wide global audience as we strive to advance Our Common Agenda and to use the concept of human security as a tool to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
United Nations Development Programme
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