“Sustainable Security”: A Proposal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Our planet is in crisis, and sustainability in all aspects of development is key to our collective attempts to address this. The interconnectedness of food, climate, security, equality, healthcare and so on in the sustainability agenda is clearly reflected in the broad and ambitious programme for action outlined in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Within those, I want to concentrate particularly on Sustainable Development Goal 16. This commits the international community to promoting “just, peaceful and inclusive societies” including by promoting the Rule of Law at national and international levels and ensuring access to justice for all, by developing effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels, and by “Strengthen[ing] relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime”. An ambitious goal, Sustainable Development Goal 16 is, then, concerned with security and with how we achieve it, and it is this element of the Goal with which I am concerned here.

My focus in this chapter is on the vision of security that might be achieved through successful pursuance of Sustainable Development Goal 16. What is it that we are trying to achieve in security terms through these stronger institutions? Does this goal enable us to imagine and pursue something we might call “sustainable security” and, if so, what might the implications of so doing be for rights and how might we inculcate that into the Indicators by which states’ realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals will be measured?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Rights and 21st Century Challenges
Subtitle of host publicationPoverty, Conflict and the Environment
EditorsDapo Akande, Jaakko Kuosamanen, Dominic Roser, Helen McDermott
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780198824770
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2020


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