Adding human security and human resilience to help advance the SDGs agenda

Des Gasper*, Richard Jolly, Gabriele Koehler, Tamara Kool, Mara Simane

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paper


The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) respond to humanity’s challenge to live humanely, justly, sustainably and in peace on our interconnected globe. Pursuit of the Agenda is inevitably subject to forces that ‘shake and stir’ it. Correspondingly, our analytical frameworks need to be shaken and stirred too, to be more perceptive and responsive to emergent objective threats, subjective fears, and their impacts. A human security perspective offers an essential complement to the thinking and action underway for the SDGs, because insecurities arise in diverse and fluctuating forms in the daily lives of most people, produced by local, national, international and global forces. The worldwide ‘shake and stir’ triggered by COVID-19 is a reminder of how serious and all-encompassing such disruption can be. A human security perspective should be added in and/or to SDGs planning and implementation, at country level and in multilateral arenas. The perspective can draw together many available tools and stimulate their use focused on recognising and managing threats in people’s daily lives, not least by increasing human resilience. This paper presents the approach’s rationale, certain components, and its relevance to the SDGs Agenda, then gives two extended case studies: first, from almost 20 years of experience with human security-related thinking and practice in Latvia, and, second, from the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting crises. It concludes with suggestions for UN organizations, governments, and policy researchers.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationThe Hague
PublisherInternational Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)
Number of pages35
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

SeriesISS Working Paper Series / General Series


  • sustainable development goals
  • human security approach
  • human resilience
  • Latvia
  • Covid-19 crisis
  • social contract


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