Writing about human security and international law often means writing about the worst things in the world. This year, for instance, my columns have focused among other things on famine and women’s rights violations in Afghanistan, wartime rape and conscription in Ukraine, and the dangers of drones and killer robots.
But another way to look at these stories is that they often feature individuals, civil society and governments moving the needle in the direction of better human security practices. With the holidays around the corner, I’d like to share a few other stories that show how numerous strategies—including NGO activism, technological entrepreneurship, nonviolent protest movements and innovative policy solutions—are making a positive difference for human security worldwide.
Climate mitigation and adaptation made huge strides this year. There were some depressing stories on the climate front this year: Storms, floods, droughts, wildfires and extreme heat killed tens of thousands of people and caused an estimated tens of billions of dollars in damage. But there were also lots of positive changes in the world’s ability to adapt. Though the world’s nations did not manage to agree to new fossil fuel standards this year, the United Nations COP27 Climate Change Conference in Egypt took a stride in the direction of climate justice, with rich and powerful countries pledging to assist developing countries that suffer loss and damage from climate-driven natural disasters.