Forum: 11 March in context — Human security perspectives


  • DATE / TIME:
    2012•02•22    10:00 - 12:00

    Public Forum: 11 March in Context: Human Security Perspectives

    Almost a year after the Great East Japan Earthquake, thousands of people are still struggling to rebuild their lives and communities. This event looks at the human consequences of 11 March in comparison with other major natural disasters (such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the 2008 Sichuan earthquake).

    A panel of international experts will focus on the insecurities and vulnerabilities that are created and exacerbated by such events. Participants will consider the value of a “human security” approach, which focuses on securing individuals in terms of “freedom from fear” and “freedom from want”. Although this concept is often used to understand armed conflicts, after a natural disaster people are faced with similar threats. Natural disasters have direct impacts in terms of “fear” (aftershocks and deteriorating social order) and “want” (lack of food, water and shelter). And due to population growth and climate change, more and more people are being affected by natural disasters. How can a human security approach help us understand and respond to these catastrophes?

    Exploring such human-centred perspectives, this event considers how natural disasters interact with pre-existing vulnerabilities — such as poverty, under-development and marginalization, and the specific protection needs of women, children, elderly people and minorities. By comparing Japan’s experience with those of other countries, panelists will consider how the consequences of natural disasters are influenced by specific social and cultural contexts. They also will examine the similarities and differences of natural disasters in highly industrialized countries, such as Japan, and developing countries, such as those impacted by the 2004 tsunami.

    Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the human security concept, this event features practitioners and leading experts from a range of different fields, including disaster sociology, ethics, international relations, development and public health:

    • Paul James (Director, RMIT Global Cities Research Institute)
    • Naomi Zack (Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Oregon)
    • Yukie Osa (Professor, Rikkyo University; President, Association for Aid and Relief, Japan)
    • Elaine Enarson (Ph.D., Independent Scholar, Lyons Colorado; founding member, Gender and Disaster Network)
    • Kaoruko Seki (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)
    • Paul Zeccola (AusAID; Australian National University)
    • Emily Ying Yang Chan (Director, CERT-CUHK-Oxford University Centre for Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response, Chinese University of Hong Kong)

    This event is part of a collaborative research project on Human Security and Natural Disasters by UNU-ISP, the Waseda University School of International Liberal Studies and the RMIT Global Cities Research Institute. The project has been made possible by the support of the Japan Foundation.

    This event will take place in English (no interpretation will be provided).

  • Elizabeth Rose Conference Hall
    UNU Headquarters