Human Security and Natural Disasters Conference

20-22 February 2012, Tokyo, Japan.

Organizers: Waseda University, United Nations University, Global Cities Research Institute, RMIT

Sponsors: The Japan Foundation and the United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme

Tokyo, Japan 2009. © Tommaso Durante, The Visual Archive Project of The Global Imaginary

Environmental security was identified as a core component of human security, as outlined in UNDP’s 1994 report. Nevertheless, human security debates and policies have tended to focus more on human-made disasters, such as armed conflicts and human rights abuses. As recent catastrophes like the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan have clearly shown, however, the actual threats that people struggle with following a natural disaster are similar to those of a human-made crisis such as armed conflict: fear (aftershocks and deteriorating social order) and want (lack of food, water and shelter). The human security dimension of such events is also reflected in the interdependent nature of the threat as natural disasters and pre-existing vulnerabilities, such as poverty and/or conflict, which can interact in a mutually reinforcing and damaging manner. While the environmental security component of human security has begun to be considered in relation to climate change, there is relatively little work that focuses on natural disasters. It this context the conference addresses how a human security framework can help us understand and respond to these catastrophes such as the 11 March earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, the 2009 ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires in Australia and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.


  • Yoichi Mine, Doshisha University, Japan, ‘Multiple Interfaces of Human Security’.
  • Akiko Fukushima, Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan, ‘Natural Disasters: Addressing Vulnerability, Coping Capacity and Impact Reduction through Human Security’.
  • Paul James, Global Cities Research Institute, RMIT, Australia, ‘Responding to Crises in Extenso: Considering all the Domains of the Human Condition’.
  • Robin Cameron, Global Cities Research Institute, RMIT, Australia, ‘Towards a More “Human” Human Security: The Importance of Existential Security in Resilient Communities’.
  • Christopher Hobson, United Nations University, Japan, ‘Rescuing Human Security and Responding to Natural Disasters’.
  • Naomi Zack, University of Oregon, USA, ‘Ethics of Disasters and Hurricane Katrina’.
  • Elaine Enarson, Brandon University, USA, ‘Human Security and Natural Disasters: What a Gender Lens Brings’.
  • Johan Cels, UNHCR Representation in Japan, ‘Natural Disasters and Forced Population Displacements: A Human Security Perspective’.
  • Jennifer Hyndman, York University, Canada, ‘Managing Vulnerability in the Face of Dual Disasters’.
  • Paul Zeccola, AusAID, Indonesia ‘Human Security in Aceh: From Violent Conflict to the Indian Ocean Tsunami’.
  • Matthew Bolton, Pace University, USA, ‘Human Security and the Social Contract: The Implications of the Informalization of Haiti’s Post-Earthquake Reconstruction’.
  • Mayumi Sakamoto, Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution, Kobe, Japan, ‘Emergency response in the Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake and the Great East Japan earthquake: Lessons and Improvements’.
  • Yuzuru Isoda, Tohoku University, Japan, ‘Housing, Employment and Selective Migration of Evacuees from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident’.
  • Jeff Kingston, Temple University,  ‘Mismanaging Risk and the Fukushima Nuclear Crisis’.
  • Yukie Osa, Rikkyo University and AAR, Japan, ‘Human Security vs. National Security in a Developed Country : Japan’s Triple disaster and the Challenges of Japanese Civil Society’.
  • Kaoruko Seki, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, USA, ‘Humanitarian Assistance and Human Security: Why Civil-Military Coordination Matters’.
  • Tim Curry, US Forces Japan, ‘Responding to the Tsunami’.
  • Junko Otani, Osaka University, ‘Ageing Society and Post-Disaster Community Security’.
  • Emily Ying Yang Chan, CERT-CUHK-Oxford University Centre for Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response, Chinese University of Hong Kong, ‘The Implication of Demographic and Epidemiological Transition in Natural Disaster Relief in Middle-Income Developing Countries’.
  • Vesselin Popovski, United Nations University, Japan, ‘State Negligence and Natural Disaster as Human Rights Violations’.