Human Security

The goal of the National World Talk was to introduce opinion makers to the term human security, to talk about the innovative work done in Latvia towards operationalising the concept for development purposes and to receive recommendations on how to improve work with the concept in the future.

Participants were chosen who have basic knowledge about the issue, and who might be instrumental in moving human security forward as an organising concept.

A total of 17 participants took part, including such political leaders as the Head of the President’s Strategic Analysis Commission, former Minister of Culture,  the administrative director of a political think tank. Participation of the Head of the Institute of Foreign Affairs ensured that this body knows about human security.  A Trade Union representative and a journalist from Latvian Radio who reports on development cooperation were active in discussions. New to the LAPAS World Talks was the President of the Latvian Red Cross, who requested the opportunity to bring with him the Director of External Affairs. It was important to have the Head of the Latvian Rural Forum, a grass roots rural area citizen action organisation.  The Head of the Society Integration Foundation also took part.

Description: LAPAS decided to make this a smaller event in order to achieve a sense of participation and ownership. A criteria for selection:  no previous in-depth experience with human security issues, no participants from the PanBaltic World Talks, those who will bring the issues to a larger audience that LAPAS usually doesn’t interact  with.

The  participants were introduced to the concept of human security by LAPAS Director Mara Simane. Her presentation was followed by information about work on Human Security (facilitating securitability) by the University of Latvia, by doctoral student Katri Vintišs.  Inta Šimanska from the NGO umbrella organisation Latvian Civic Alliance spoke about the role of civil society in ensuring human security, providing concrete examples that brought the concept from theory to practical execution.  Natalja Demjaņenko from the NGO Odin Vita from the Eastern Latvian city of Daugavpils  showed a short film about a Youth in Action Project in Moldova in which participants talked about Human Security and Migration. This was followed by Katri VIntišs’ presentation analysing  human security in policy documents.

Several participants backed out at the last moment – including a representative of a new political party that just became elected into the parliament and is represented in government by the Foreign Minister, a European MP and the Head of the EU Delegation in Latvia.

LAPAS , in the first round, had invited an array of political opinion makers, all of whom turned down the organisation – the Foreign Minister, the Head of the Saeima Commision on European Affairs, The Saeima Head of the Foreign Relations Commission. The timing may have been bad, since the Parliament had started work several weeks before and the Government was discussing the national budget for approval the day after the event.

For wider mulitiplicative effect, LAPAS chose to co-organise the event with the Latvian Civic Alliance, the umbrella group of NGOs in Latvia.

The event was organised as a lunch for busy persons. Each of the presentations took no more than 15 minutes, and the event lasted from 13.00 – 15.00. Although it was slated to end 30 minutes earlier, the participants requested a longer stay.

Participants were asked to give recommendations on how to move forward with human security – so that it could be a guiding principle in Development Cooperation.

The recommendations from the participants were as follows:

  • Utilize the concept at the National Level, including it in the National Development Plan.
  • Work more with cause and effect – conceptualize more than inventorying.
  • Increase the role of NGOS in strengthening Human Security concept.
  • Ensure a tight concept since broad concepts dissipate in time.