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COVID-19 beyond Health Insecurity: Human security perspective in understanding the multidimensional impacts of the pandemic
The narrative of 2020 is layered by the myriad of challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The strain to every health system, and the consequential food insecurity, poverty, threats to peace and the environment, affirm that the spread of the novel coronavirus is not only a health crisis but a human security concern. This pandemic created overlapping and cascading complex insecurities affecting people disproportionately and indiscriminately. While the pandemic inarguably heightened people’s insecurities, it is evident that marginalized and vulnerable groups have been coping with these pre-pandemic challenges. Countries have been experiencing scarcity in the food supply, coping with stagnant economic progress, and even displacements induced by conflict and/or natural hazards way before COVID-19. Thus, the onset of the pandemic only reinforced these inequalities that vulnerable groups and communities experience.
The need for a comprehensive response to this pandemic demands a people-centered approach echoing “human security.” Addressing an existential threat such as COVID-19 and its downside risks primarily require understanding people’s context-specific vulnerabilities and capacities. Only then can durable solutions through sustainable protection strategies, and opportunities for empowerment, be realized.
This panel pools together insightful papers that reflect on the current crisis from the lens of human security. It attempts to include varied cases of human insecurities of vulnerable groups/communities from different countries, particularly in East Asia, against the backdrop of COVID-19. Panel contributions are expected to address the queries such as “security of whom, security from what, and security by what means.” The panel intends to promote a discussion on how the human security’s operational framework of combined top-down protection and bottom-up empowerment can be optimized during this pandemic and towards recovery.