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Ajit asked: What is non-traditional security?

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  • P.K. Gautam replies: Post-Cold War expansion of the security agenda – After the end of the Cold War, human security was added to the security agenda. It included: (a) Environmental security (b) Economic security, and (c) Societal security. Threats to a nation were no longer only from the enemy’s military. Non-Traditional Security (NTS) threats, also called non-military threats, began to be factored in. Among the well- known NTS are energy, food and water which are in a nexus. Other topics include climate change, environmental security, economic security, pandemics, social issues, etc.

    The UN’s Human Development Report (HDR) of 1994 – This report highlighted the need for a shift from the exclusive stress on territorial security to focusing on people’s security, and instead of seeking security through armaments to gaining security through sustainable development. It identified seven security essentials. These are: (i) Economic security (ii) Food security (iii) Health security (iv) Environmental security (v) Personal security (vi) Community security, and (vii) Political security. This then spawned the view that the state was also responsible for these issues

    The NTS are security challenges that are not considered mainstream. The methods and tools employed to address non-traditional security challenges are evolving. It includes unconventional thinking and it challenges orthodox understandings. The 21st century presents new paradigms to security. Politico-military threats have been joined by security issues relating to energy, water, food, environment, climate change, and so on.

    Some examples of topics added to non-traditional security are:  
    1.  Environmental degradation including climate security
    2.  Economic disparities
    3.  Chronic poverty
    4.  Diseases and pandemics 
    5.  Trans-national crimes, human trafficking and drugs 
    6.  Migration 
    7.  Energy, water and food
    8.  Resource wars
    9.  Disaster management (including role of military in disaster relief)
    10. Terrorism
    11. Corruption
    12. Responsibility to Protect  

    Posted on May 07, 2013