Human Development Report Office to revisit the Human Security concept in 2021

In volatile world, where risks associated with planetary pressures – such as climate change and biodiversity loss – are overlayed on inequalities in human development, our societies are being put the test. The Covid-19 pandemic is the most recent manifestation of this. This year the Human Development Report Office will consider how the concept of Human Security can help to understand these challenges and frame responses to them. Running in parallel with the prepraration of the next Human Development Report, it will result in a separate publication, benefiting from the advice of a High-Level Advisory Panel (HLAP). The HLAP comprises a group of independent eminent experts acting in their personal capacity, co-chaired by Laura Chinchilla (former President of Costa Rica) and Keizo Takemi (member of the House of Councillors of the Parliament of Japan).

Building on the pioneering 1994 Human Development Report that introduced the concept of Human Security and the Ogata-Sen Commission’s 2003 report “Human Security Now,” the Human Development Report Office will explore what “freedom from want and freedom from fear” means today. The work will be informed by a symposium on human security to be held over the week of 8-11 June 2021.

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The first meeting of the High-Level Advisory Panel (28 June 2021)


  • Laura Chinchilla, Former President of Costa Rica

  • Laura Chinchilla was president of Costa Rica from 2010 to 2014. She previously served as vice president and minister of justice under Dialogue member  scar Arias and as a member of the National Assembly from 2002 to 2006. She was the first woman to be elected to the Costa Rican presidency. Ms. Chinchilla gained her first public office in 1994, when she became vice minister of public security. She was promoted in 1996 to minister of public security, a post she held for two years. In 2002, Ms. Chinchilla won a four-year term in Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly. In 2006, she became vice president and minister of justice under newly re-elected president Óscar Arias. In February 2010, Ms. Chinchilla won the presidential election. One of her most outstanding achievements in the exercise of the Presidency of the Republic was the steady decline in major crime rates in Costa Rica, including homicide and femicide. Ms. Chinchilla also prompted measures on institutional reform of the Costa Rican government, on digital government, on the promotion of the rights of women, on the protection of children and on environmental sustainability. Chinchilla graduated from the University of Costa Rica and received her master’s in public policy from Georgetown University. Prior to entering politics, Ms. Chinchilla worked as an NGO consultant in Latin America and Africa, specializing in judicial reform and public security issues.

  • Keizo Takemi, Member of the House of Councillors of the Japanese Parliament

  • Senator Keizo Takemi is Member of the House of Councillors of the Japanese Parliament, the Diet, belonging to the Liberal Democratic Party (elected 1995, 2001, 2012, 2013 and 2019).

    WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Universal Health Coverage; Professor. Senator Takemi was a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health and has played a number of important roles in the UN such as the High Level Panel on UN System-Wide Coherence in Areas of Development, Humanitarian Assistance and Environment (appointed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan) and the UN High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth (appointed by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon). He also served as senior vice minister for health, labour and welfare and as the state secretary for foreign affairs.


Amat Al Alim Alsoswa, Former Assistant Administrator and Director of UNDP's Regional Bureau for Arab States

First Yemeni female Ambassador to the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark (2000-2003).
Minister of Human Rights. Established the foundation for a discourse on human rights in Yemen ( 2003-2006).
UN Assistant Secretary General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Regional Director of the Arab States Bureau (2006-2012). Oversaw the publication of The Arab Human Development Report 2005: Towards the Rise of Women in the Arab World and The Arab Human Development Report 2009: Challenges to Human Security in the Arab Countries.
Participated in Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference in the Committee on State Building and as Chair of the Subcommittee on the Conditions and Criteria for the Selection of Members of the Constitutional Drafting Commission (2013-2014).

Managing Director, The Executive Bureau for the Acceleration of Aid Absorption and Support for Policy Reform (2014-2015).
Currently Alsoswa is a Senior Consultant with The World Bank Group in MENA Chief Economist office in the areas of human development, peace building, gender equality, human rights, informality, fragility and conflict in MENA region (2016 - present). She is a member of The Council on State Fragility, and on the Board of Directors, The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies. Ms. Alsoswa holds MA in International Communication from the American University, D.C., USA and BA on Mass Communication from Cairo University, Egypt.

Kaushik Basu, Professor, Cornell University; Former Chief Economist of the World Bank

Kaushik Basu is Professor of Economics and the Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University. He served as President of International Economic Association from 2017 to 2021. He was Chief Economist of the World Bank from 2012 to 2016, and prior to that Professor Basu served as the Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India, 2009 to 2012. Earlier, he had been Director of the Center for Analytic Economics, 2006-09, and Chairman of the Department of Economics at Cornell, 2008-9. During his early career in Delhi, he founded the Centre for Development Economics, and served as the first Executive Director of the Center. Professor Basu has published extensively in the areas of development economics, welfare economics, industrial organization, and game theory. He is the author of several books, including, most recently, The Republic of Beliefs: A New Approach to Law and Economics, Princeton University Press, 2018. In 2008 Kaushik Basu was conferred one of India’s highest civilian awards, the Padma Bhushan, by the President of India.

Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, United Nations Under Secretary-General and Special Coordinator for Development in the Sahel

Abdoulaye Mar Dieye is a Senegalese economist and public servant with strong leadership experience in managing complex development portfolios over the last 35 years. He was appointed United Nations Special Coordinator for development in the Sahel by the Secretary-General, Ant nio Guterres' in January 2021. Previously, he was Assistant Secretary General (ASG) and Special Adviser to the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Mr. Dieye has held several positions in UNDP, including as Assistant Administrator and Director for the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (2018-2019), Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa (2013-2018), Chief of Staff of the Administrator, and Director of the Executive Office (2009-2013), and as Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States (2006-2009). Prior to that, he served as Deputy Special Representative for the United Nations Operations in Cote d’Ivoire and Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Abidjan. Prior to joining the United Nations, Mr. Dieye held several senior positions within the Government of Senegal. Mr. Dieye is Ing nieur Statisticien Economiste from the Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques, Paris. He studied Advanced and Specialized Mathematics, at Lyc e National du Parc, Lyon and holds a Masters in Development Studies from the Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Den Haag.

Ilwad Elman, Head and co-founder of the Elman Peace Center

Ilwad Elman is Head and co-founder of the Elman Peace Center, former member of the SG’s advisory group on youth, peace and security, member of the board of Generation Unlimited our partnership with UNICEF, advisor to the Regional PVE Programme in Africa. Beyond her duties at Elman Peace, Ilwad is an advocate for the Kofi Annan foundation’s latest initiative called Extremely Together, where she and 9 other youth leaders under the mentorship of Mr. Kofi Annan are Preventing Violent Extremism by inspiring, engaging and empowering youth globally. Ilwad additionally serves as the chair of the Child Protection Gender Based Violence Case Management Group in Mogadishu; is a founding member of the Advisory Committee for Researching Gender Based Violence Social Norms in Somalia and South Sudan, is a member of the international practitioners network for civilian casualty recording, an expert in the Women Waging Peace Network for Inclusive Security, and a strategic advisory group member on the global child protection area of responsibility. She has served as the One Young World Ambassador to Somalia since 2013; completed President Barack Obama’s flagship White House fellowship for Young African Leaders in 2014 and in the same year was appointed youth ambassador to Somalia for Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict. Ilwad briefed the UN Security Council on the Protection of Civilians debate in 2015; it was the first time a civil society representative was invited to speak on this issue before the Security Council, as well as the first time the annual thematic debate focused on women's empowerment and participation. She later co-wrote the Youth Action Agenda on Countering Violent Extremism which was cited in the historic UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on youth, peace and security. August 2016, Ilwad was appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon an expert advisor on Youth, Peace & Security and has been tasked to counsel a study to develop a strategy on UNSCR 2250. Through the combined effect of the grass-root programmatic interventions she designs as well as her global advocacy; she has sparked national movements internally and garnered international
attention externally to yield action towards durable solutions for the protracted crisis in Somalia.

María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly

María Fernanda Espinosa is an Ecuadorian diplomat, politician, and academic with more than 30 years of experience in international organizations, the Ecuadorian government, NGOs and academia. Presently, Ms. Espinosa is Bosch Academy Fellow. Ms. Espinosa served as President of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (2018-2019), becoming the fourth woman in history and the first from Latin America and the Caribbean to preside over this body. Previously, she was Ecuador’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Integration (2007-2008 and 2017-2018), Minister of Cultural and Natural Heritage (2009-2012), and Minister of Defense (2012-2014). She also served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations in New York (2008-2009) and Geneva (2014-2017). Currently, Ms. Espinosa is acting as Commissioner to the Lancet COVID-19 Commission, member of the Global Women Leaders Voices for Change and Inclusion, member of the High Level Advisory Council of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, and as Goodwill Ambassador for the Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC), among others. Prior to her political and diplomatic career, she worked as advisor on biodiversity, climate and indigenous peoples’ policies. She is regarded as an expert in international affairs and the United Nations, defense and security, sustainable development, the environment, climate change, gender equality and indigenous peoples’ rights. She has vast experience in intergovernmental negotiations and is recognized as an international advocate on multilateralism and women’s rights and empowerment. Ms. Espinosa is recipient of numerous scholarships and acknowledgements from the Latin American Studies Association, the Ford Foundation, the Society of Woman Geographers, the Rockefeller Foundation, the German Agency for International Cooperation. The BBC listed her as one of the 100 inspiring and influential women in 2019. For her works of poetry, she was awarded with the National Poetry Prize of Ecuador in 1990. Ms. Espinosa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics from the Catholic University of Ecuador, a Master's degree in Anthropology and Social Sciences from the Latin American Social Sciences Institute (FLACSO) with a specialization in Amazonian Studies, and completed doctoral studies in Geography at Rutgers University, USA.

Haishan Fu, Director of the World Bank’s Development Data Group

Haishan Fu is the Director of the World Bank’s Development Data Group, leading the development and implementation of the Bank’s development data agenda. She has been an active leader in the global statistical community, having served or currently serving as a member of the UN Secretary General’s Independent Expert Advisory Group on Data Revolution for Sustainable Development, Council Member of the International Statistical Institute, and Co-Chair of the Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities among over 45 UN and other international development agencies. Prior to joining the Bank in 2014, Haishan was Director of the Statistics Division at UNESCAP, served as the first Chief of Statistics of UNDP’s Human Development Report, and worked as Senior Research Associate at the Guttmacher Institute, Visiting Research Collaborator at Princeton University and Post-Doctoral Fellow at University of Pennsylvania. Haishan holds a Ph.D. in Demography from Princeton University and a B.A. in Economics from Peking University.

Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Former President of Estonia

Toomas Hendrik Ilves was born on December 26, 1953, to an Estonian family living in Stockholm, Sweden. He was educated in the United States, receiving a degree from Columbia University in 1976 and a master's degree in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. In 1984 he moved to Munich, Germany, to work at the office of Radio Free Europe, first as a researcher and foreign policy analyst and later as the head of the Estonian Desk. From 1993 to 1996 Ilves served in Washington as the ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to the United States and Canada. During this time, he launched the Tiger Leap Initiative to computerize and connect all Estonian schools online with Education Minister Jaak Aaviksoo. He then served as minister of foreign affairs from 1996 to 1998. After a brief period as chairman of the North Atlantic Institute in 1998, he was again appointed minister of foreign affairs, serving until 2002. From 2002 to 2004, Ilves was a member of the Estonian Parliament and in 2004 he was elected a member of the European Parliament, where he was vice-president of the Foreign Affairs Committee. As a MEP, he initiated the Baltic Sea Strategy that was later implemented as official regional policy of the European Union. Ilves was elected president of the Republic of Estonia in 2006. He was re-elected for a second term in office in 2011. During his presidency, Ilves has been appointed to serve in several high positions in the field of ICT in the European Union. He served as chairman of the EU Task Force on eHealth from 2011 to 2012 and was chairman of the European Cloud Partnership Steering Board at the invitation of the European Commission from 2012 to 2014. In 2013 he chaired the High-Level Panel on Global Internet Cooperation and Governance Mechanisms convened by ICANN. From 2014 to 2015 Ilves was the co-chair of the advisory panel of the World Bank's World Development Report 2016 "Digital Dividends" and was also the chair of World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Cyber Security beginning in June 2014. Starting from 2016, Ilves co-chairs The World Economic Forum working group The Global Futures Council on Blockchain Technology. In 2017 he joined Stanford University as a Bernard and Susan Liautaud Visiting Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.

Amy Jadesimi, CEO, Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL)

Amy Jadesimi was a Commissioner for Business & Sustainable Development Commission. Amy got financial training at Goldman Sachs and Stanford Graduate School of Business, as well as medical training at Oxford University. Her accolades include being named: Top 50 Women in Technology (Forbes, 2018), Oil and Gas Leading Woman of the Year (Foreign Investment Network, 2018), voted the Young CEO of the Year (African Leadership Forum, 2018), an Archbishop Tutu Fellow, a Young Global Leader – Alumni (WEF), a Rising Talent (Women’s Forum for Economy and Society), one of 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa (Forbes), one of Top 25 Africans to Watch (Financial Times), one of the Most Influential People of African Descent (Under 40) Worldwide (United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent (UN IDPAD), 2018), one of 50 most Influential Women in Business (The Africa Report, Jeune Afrique, Africa CEO Forum) and she is a member Advisory Board of Prince’s Trust International and contributor to Forbes.
She has an MBA from Stanford University, MA (OXON) and BMBCh from Oxford University.

Jennifer Leaning, Senior Research Fellow, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Jennifer Leaning is a Senior Research Fellow at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University and recently retired as Professor of the Practice at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She is Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Leaning’s research and policy interests include issues of public health, medical ethics, and early warning in response to mass atrocity, war and disaster as well as problems of human security, human rights and international humanitarian law in crisis settings. She has field experience in assessing these issues in specific settings of armed conflict, forced migration, and abuses of human rights (including Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Kosovo, the Middle East, former Soviet Union, Somalia, the Chad-Darfur border, and the African Great Lakes area). She has written widely on these topics and edited two books (the third forthcoming). Dr. Leaning has served on the boards of directors of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Human Rights, the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Red Cross, Oxfam America, and the Humane Society of the United States. She now serves on the Steering Group of GAAMAC (Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes) and the Board of Directors of the Norwegian Refugee Committee—USA. She edited the journal PSR Quarterly/Medicine and Global Survival from 1991-2000 and is currently on the editorial board of the journal Health and Human Rights and a member of the Board of Syndics of Harvard University Press. After years of medical and administrative roles in Boston healthcare, Dr. Leaning taught as Professor of the Practice at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health from 1999 to 2020, where she founded and co-directed the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (2005-2009) and then served as Director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights (2010-2018). She earned her AB degree from Harvard University, her MD degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, and her SMH degree from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Belinda Reyers, Research Chair in Sustainability Science at Future Africa, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Senior Advisor at Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Sweden

Prof Belinda Reyers holds the Research Chair in Sustainability Science at Future Africa, University of Pretoria, South Africa. She is also a senior advisor on Resilience and Development at Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Sweden. Together with regional and international collaborators from research and practice, Prof Reyers’s research explores the contribution of social-ecological systems research and sustainability science to the development challenges facing Africa. Her work focuses on exploring the role of social-ecological feedbacks, cross-scale dynamics, non-linearities, and resilience capacities in achieving sustainable and equitable futures. She also conducts research on the dynamic linkages between sustainability and equity, especially in the context of more complex, connected and uncertain futures.

Reyers has played a number of advisory roles to national government and international bodies including: Vice Chair of the Science Committee of Future Earth; Coordinating Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services; UN-DESA Expert Groups on the Sustainable Development Goals, Advisory Group of the Welcome Trust: Sustainable and Healthy Food Systems global consortium and of the Montpellier Advanced Knowledge Institute on Transitions (MAK'IT).

The High-Level Advisory Panel (HLAP) is an independent and diverse group of eminent experts and policy makers, who will participate in their personal capacity, to provide strategic and substantive advice to the Special Report on Human Security, and support HDRO’s autonomy to undertake the project as “an independent intellectual exercise”.

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Online Symposium (8-11 June 2021)

The symposium will pay special attention to issues that have risen in prominence recently, especially those that are expected to last beyond the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, such as:

  • Structural changes to human security threats: threats that have emerged under the Anthropocene and the increasing use of digital technologies.
  • Threats to human security related to violent conflict, considering new forms of both intra-state and interpersonal violence.
  • Human insecurity as a threat to human development, manifested as economic insecurity, health threats, domestic violence, multidimensional inequalities, discrimination, and polarization.
  • The way forward: new aspirations and new responses during challenging times, focused on revisiting the concept of human security and identifying potential policy responses to meet people’s aspirations in the 21st century.

Discussions will focus on conceptual issues, measurement, and policy options.

Confirmed keynote speakers include:

  • Dr. Shen Xiaomeng, Director of the UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and UNU Vice-Rector in Europe
  • Dr. Vivienne Ming, Co-founder & Executive Chair, Socos Labs
  • Prof. Mary Kaldor, Professor Emerita of Global Governance and Director of the Conflict Research Programme, London School of Economics
  • Prof. Michael Barnett, Professor of International Affairs and Political Science at the George Washington University
  • Prof. Frances Stewart, Professor Emeritus of Development Economics, University of Oxford
  • Prof. James Foster, Oliver T. Carr, Jr. Professor of International Affairs, Professor of Economics, and Co-Director of the Institute for International Economic Policy at George Washington University
  • Prof. Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of New America and Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Prof. Des Gasper, Professor of Human Development, Development Ethics and Public Policy, ISS of Erasmus University Rotterdam

Please save the date and register here.

We are also collecting views on what Human Security means to you through a short survey here. Please tell us what you think and share the link with others too. Everyone’s voice matters.

For details about the concept note, click here

For details about the agenda, click here

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