Tuesday, 09 February 2010 12:21

Human and Environmental Security: An agenda for Change

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Security has tended to be seen as based on military force, yet this illusion is crumbling, literally and figuratively, before our eyes in the conflict zones of Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa. It is now clear that real human security, defined by the Commission on Human Security as 'protecting vital freedoms', can only be achieved if the full range of issues that underpin human security - including environmental integrity - are addressed.

Edited by Felix Dodds and Tim Pippard

This ground-breaking book, authored by prominent international decision makers, tackles the global human security problem across the range of core issues including terrorism, nuclear proliferation, access to water, food security, loss of biodiversity and climate change.

The authors identify the causes of insecurity, articulate the linkages between the different elements of human security and outline an agenda for engaging stakeholders from across the globe in building the foundations of genuine and lasting human security for all nations and all people.

This is powerful, necessary, solution-focused reading in these times of peril, global conflict, mass inequity and rampant environmental degradation.

'Through the lens of security, the authors explore a wide range of threats and opportunities to attaining a sustainable future. Implicitly they ask: What kind of world do we want and how do we achieve it? One answer lies in the opportunity to put the politics of polarization aside and be the architects of a global participatory process. Surely that is a vision for which to strive' - Elizabeth Dowdeswell, President, Nuclear Waste Management Organization and former Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme

'A highly significant and relevant publication. The authors describe in admirable clarity a daunting array of contemporary global challenges and offer realistic and achievable responses. Both the public and policy makers alike are left in no doubt as to the urgency of concerted international action to address threats that affect us all' - Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy

'The contributors make a powerful case for a more coordinated approach to addressing both the proximate and root causes of international conflict and security. The book will be very useful for all academic audiences.' - C.W. Herrick, Muhlenberg College, in Choice

'I might have deemed this book a mainstream, United Nations-focused publication on traditional notions of security, sustainable development, and global governance, had I not randomly opened to Chapter 6 and started to read....Jan Pronk's chapter, 'Globalization, Poverty, and Security,' ...evolves into one of the most insightful critiques [on the MDGs] that I have read... Now inspired to read Human and Environmental Security from cover to cover, I was rewarded with many thought-provoking insights. The book provides a good overview of the context for security in the 21st century.' - Karen O'Brien, Environmental Change and Security Program Report

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Tom Harrisson

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