Arab Human Development Report 2009: challenges to human security in Arab countries

Arab Human Development Report 2009: challenges to human security in Arab countries

Ensuring human security can lead to better opportunities for human development in the Arab world

This report examines human development in the Arab world through a human security lens, calling on policymakers and other stakeholders to move away from a state-centric conception of security to one which also concentrates on the security of individuals, their protection and their empowerment. It argues that widespread absence of human security has contributed significantly to the lack of developmental progress in Arab countries.

The report describes seven dimensions of threat to individual human security in the Arab world: 

  • Insecure environments including pressure on scarce resources and the impacts of climate change
  • The State contributing to the insecurity of its citizens including using force and coercion 
  • Vulnerable groups including children, women, refugees, IDPs and victims of the human trafficking industry who, in reality, have few rights and little means to redress this 
  • Volatile growth, high unemployment and persistent poverty 
  • Hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity 
  • Health security challenges 
  • The impact and long-term effects of occupation and military intervention

In return, it offers seven building blocks for Arab human security: 

  • Preservation and enhancement of the environment which sustain Arab people’s existence under rising geo-political, environmental and demographic pressures 
  • Guarantee of essential rights, freedoms and opportunities without discrimination by well-governed, accountable and responsive states and the rule of just law 
  • Recognition by state and society of abuse and injustices against children, women and refugees and a resolve to change their legal, economic, social and personal conditions for the better 
  • Moving towards knowledge-based, equitable and diversified economies 
  • Ending persistent hunger and malnutrition with the possibility of defining food security less in terms of absolute food sovereignty and more in terms of sufficiency of commodities for all members of society 
  • Promoting health as a human right and addressing disparities in access, affordability and quality of healthcare 
  • Policy recognition abroad that long standing violations against Arab peoples and Arab sovereignty by regional and global powers through occupation and military intervention are self-defeating and unacceptable

[adapted from the authors]

NB the report covers the members of the Arab League which include sub-Saharan African countries Comoros, Djibouti, Mauritania, Somalia, and Sudan. It does not include Israel and Iran.

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