Using human security concept for analysing impacts of natural

International Conference
“World in Change: from Consumption to Sustainability, from Competition to
Collaboration, from Hierarchy to Networks, from being Good to Doing Good”
Riga, 19 May 2014 RIHARDS BAMBALS
PhD student | Department of Political Science |
University of Latvia
Contact me: [email protected]
“An event concentrated in time and space, in
which a society or one of its subdivisions
undergoes physical harm and social disruption,
such that some essential functions of the society
or subdivision are impaired” (Fritz, 1961: 655);
“Events that kill at least 10 or affect at least 100
people” (UNDP, 1994: 29);
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“(1) disasters are inherently social phenomena, and
(2) the source of disasters is rooted in the social
structure or social system” (Quarantelli, 2005:339);
“If there are no negative social consequences, there is
no disaster” (Quarantelli, 2005:347);
“(Disaster) risk faced by people must be seen as a
cross-cutting combination of vulnerability and
hazard. Disasters are a result of the interaction
between both” (Risk=Hazard x Vulnerability)
(Wisner, Blaikie, Cannon & Davis, 2004:49)
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No one discipline (inter-disciplinary research in
both social & natural sciences)
No ultimate definition of disaster
No ‘disaster theory’
No ultimate research methodology
Common approach – social consequences of
disasters more important than physical harm:
1) Social Sciences research people and societies;
2) Only social structures can be strengthened to enhance
disaster preparedness, mitigation and recovery
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People-centric, comprehensive and universal
security concept
 Development studies & Security Studies
 UNDP Human Development Report 1994:
 ‘Freedom from want’ & ‘Freedom from fear’
 ‘Safety from such chronic threats as hunger, disease and
repression’ & ‘protection from sudden and hurtful
disruptions in the patterns of daily life – whether in homes,
jobs or in communities’ (UNDP, 1994:23)
 7 security dimensions: economic, food, health,
environmental, personal, community, political security
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No commonly accepted definition
Too vague as a concept (more efforts on
widening than deepening)
No one particular scientific discipline
Poor efforts to operationalize & measure Human
Security (“How much (in)security?”)
The comprehensive nature of HS has been
constantly ignored (mostly used ONLY in LDCs)
Only few attempts to use for disaster research
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Outcasts (no discipline) → interdisciplinary research
Common interests → human, society
Unfinished → room for improvements/new
scientific approaches & models
Society’s resilience (HS) is hard to test without
external impact (e.g. natural disasters)
▪ Create new analytical tool/approach for disaster research
▪ Deepen Human Security concept, prove its holistic nature and
possibilities to apply to any society in the world
▪ Longterm: research which (and why) societies are more
resilient to natural disasters than other
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Previous attempts:
• UNDP Reports (Human
Security Unit, 2009);
• Generalized Poverty
Index (King & Murray,
• Human Security Audit
(Bajpai, 2000);
• GECHS (Lonergan,
Gustavson & Carter,
• Human Security Report
• Human Security
Mapping (Owen, 2004).
all suffer from
various shortfalls:
• Only objective HS is
• Too big reliance on
data availability;
• Only some (not all)
of 7 HS dimensions
are analysed;
• Only LDCs are
usually researched
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Objective HS:
• Statistics & indexes
• Several indicators for
each of 7 HS dimensions,
compared before & after
• Values assigned based
on comparisons (0-1)
Subjective HS:
•Social surveys &
•Socially constructed
sense of security;
• Precise, quantifiable and
inter-comparable results
•Fast & representable
1. UNDP Report 1994:
definition of HS &
7 dimensions of HS threats
2. UNDP Latvia Report 2003:
3. Comprehensive HS
model (Ozolina, 2012):
Subjective & Objective HS;
personal security strategies;
security constellations
interaction between state & individual,
role of intermediaries, area of HS
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Timeframe of the floods: 15 to 19 April 2013
People and households affected (officially): 1 deceased and 23 people
evacuated, 39 indemnification applications and 120 households
The scale of damages: ~2 000 000 Lats (3 million Euro)
Main providers of security:
•State-provided – VUGD, police, emergency medical aid and National
Guard (armed forces)
•Non-conventional - local religious community, Red Cross, local NGOs,
private entrepreneurs, enterprises & individuals
Population size: 28 151 (Ogre town + Ogresgals = affected regions)
Initial target: 1% of the population (281). Samples (~50 each) from 6 different
districts: 3 (50%) from directly affected (close proximity to the river); 3 (50%)
from indirectly affected
Surveying time: 4 to 19 May, 2013 (2-4 weeks after the floods)
Results: N=270 (0.96% of population; 38.52% men and 61.11% woman), Margin
of error = 5.9% (with 95% level of confidence)
Questionnaire with 8 questions (all close ended multiple choice):
Self evaluation of HS changes (each of 7 dimensions) after floods;
Evaluation of the assistance provided,
Trust to different security providers,
Intensity of HS threat perception,
Demographics, proximity to the river, filtering question.
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Human Security
Affected by the floods in Ogre
Environmental security
2. Food security
Personal security
4. Health security
Economic security
6. Community security
Political security
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Security provider
Level of trust
Family, closest relatives
Own strength
Friends, acquaintances
Service of the state for rescue and 82.97%
fire-fighting (VUGD)
Emergency medical aid
Police of the local municipality
National Guard (armed forces)
The municipality of Ogre region
Aid from an international
organization (EU, NATO, UN, etc.)
Aid from another country
Latvian government
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Human Security has potential to become a new approach for
disaster research. It allows:
 Identify & measure, which security dimension (and how much) is affected;
 Measure changes in public perception of different threats;
 Measure society’s trust/confidence to state & non-state security providers.
Disasters & Human Security apply to any country → HS analytical
tool is holistic & universal
Disasters ≠ homogenous. They can (and do) affect each of 7 HS
HS changes after disaster → quality of ‘securitabilities’ before it
(knowledge and skills for not losing sense of security, or its fast recovery)
States investing in HS have more resilient societies (Japan)
People around & networking matter more than state
provided security constellations (good or dangerous?)
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Human Security analytical tool could be used in:
 Academic – improve knowledge on disasters and
Human Security concept;
Policy – better disaster preparedness, risk mitigation
and recovery;
Insurances - risk evaluation;
Finances - foreign investment (risk) analysis
Development – medium/long-term state development
strategies (Latvian NAP, 2014-2020)
Foreign policy/international relations – smarter
development aid programmes (Japan, Canada, Norway)
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What I do for my PhD thesis research?
“Changes of Human Security after disasters in
Japan, Phillippines, Australia and Poland”;
 Comparative analysis of Objective HS = done.
Searching options for researching Subjective HS
(nation-wide surveying, incl. Japan);
 Results will allow to identify, which states are more
resilient to disasters, and which factors (and
‘securitabilities’) influence it. Can they be adapted in
other states? Formula for sustainable development?
Contact me: [email protected]

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