The Role of Ngos in Human Security

30 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2002

Date Written: November 2002


Human security is fundamentally concerned with helping people to deal with unforeseeable threats and sudden downturns, whether international financial crises, environmental disasters or incapacitating illnesses. In this paper I argue that NGOs, as one of the most visible sets of actors in the related fields of human development and human rights, can play a significant role in helping to achieve human security. NGOs are especially well suited to action for human security because of their size and reach, closeness to local populations, willingness to confront the status quo, and ability to address transnational threats through coalition-building. While NGOs face many obstacles in reorienting their activities explicitly towards human security, including the cyclical nature of the aid monies on which many of them depend and the high costs of networking, I argue that the human security framework will nonetheless attract many NGOs to its approach.

Keywords: Human Security, NGOs, Human Rights

Suggested Citation

Michael, Sarah, The Role of Ngos in Human Security (November 2002). Available at SSRN: or

Sarah Michael (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States
(202)458-9454 (Phone)
(202)522-3147 (Fax)

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