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Human security seeks to protect an individual's physical, psychological and social well-being. Security can be seen as more than just the protection of territory or the enforcement of national interests, it can represent a capabilities-based approach to development which seeks to reduce an individual's vulnerability by increasing their capacity to function.
Supporting the development of human security means supporting an individual's capacity to meet the challenges presented by their current circumstances. Broadly speaking, an analysis of human security represents a means of understanding people-centred vulnerabilities and can be contrasted with state security which focuses on the security of the state, rather than the individual or group. As the beneficiary of the security changes from the state to the individual, human security incorporates what have traditionally been considered development concerns into the realm of security.
According to the United Nations Development Report (1994), human security represents the prerequisite condition needed for sustainable development to exist. This link between human development and security is highly complex and serves as a potentially useful means of understanding development needs in post-conflict environments. However, failure to appreciate this relationship may also significantly inhibit acceptable levels of economic growth and poverty reduction, compromising the desired outcome of most international development initiatives.