A new doctrine for European response to conflict and disaster in developing and other countries

Submitting Institution

London School of Economics & Political Science

Unit of Assessment

Anthropology and Development Studies

Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Studies In Human Society: Political Science
Law and Legal Studies: Law

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Summary of the impact

Professor Mary Kaldor convened a study group that proposed a new human security doctrine for the European Union at the request of its High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy. This doctrine defined a new approach for EU involvement in situations requiring a security and defence response, with special attention to conflict and disaster in developing countries. It has influenced security and defence policy at the EU and country member levels, and has proved to dramatically reduce violence and contribute to peacekeeping efforts and a return to civil society when applied in conflict-ridden contexts such as Chad, Somalia, Iraq and Libya.

Underpinning research

Research Insights and Outputs:

In 2002, Professor Kaldor was asked by Javier Solana, then the European Union's High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, to convene a study group to develop proposals for the design of European security capabilities. The research involved in-depth studies of particular conflicts as well as studies of current capabilities, including the role of international law. The strength of the research was that it was field based and `bottom-up' in its focus on conflict-affected situations in Africa, the Middle East, the post-Communist world and South East Asia. Professor Kaldor's own research for the first report included a case study of conflict in the South Caucasus [3] and, together with an officer of the Royal Marines, research on how the military might be deployed in human security missions to such conflict-affected areas [1].

In 2005, the Swedish Foreign Ministry asked the LSE team to prepare a report on EU responses to the Tsunami and whether they were in conformity with human security. The report included two case studies by Marlies Glasius (Sri Lanka) and Kirsten Schulz (Aceh). In 2006 the Finnish Foreign Ministry asked Professor Kaldor to reconvene the study group to prepare a report on how the human security doctrine could be taken forward on the European Union's agenda during the Finnish Presidency of the EU. For this project, the background studies focussed on evaluation of existing European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) missions, with Professor Kaldor conducting studies of Palestine and Lebanon [6].

The research resulted in a first report called `A Human Security Doctrine for Europe' [3] and a second report titled `A European Way of Security' [6], known as the Barcelona Report and the Madrid Report and presented to Solana in 2004 and 2007 respectively. In addition, the LSE research team generated a series of academic articles, chapters and books [1,2,4,5,7]. What made this research distinctive, and what allowed it to achieve impact of reach and significance, was that it generated a new concept of human security based on extension of the rule of law and public order beyond the borders of the EU. This concept was notably different from the so-called 'broad version' espoused by UNDP, in which human security focussed on development and material security, and from the so-called 'narrow version' put forward by the Canadians, which was associated with the concept of 'responsibility to protect' in such cases as genocide and massive violations of human rights. This new 'Barcelona version', as it was called, assumed that the EU no longer needed classic military forces to defend borders and repel enemies, but rather that it needed the capabilities required to contribute to global security, particularly in terms of stabilising conflict and providing humanitarian assistance in complex emergencies such as natural disasters. The Barcelona report therefore proposed a human security force composed of both civilian and military personnel, who would operate more like police than soldiers and adhere to a set of human security principles that emphasised both law enforcement and human rights.

Key Researchers: Professor Kaldor is LSE Professor of Global Governance and Director of the Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit. She has been at LSE since 1999. She was assisted in this research by Marlies Glasius, Mary Martin, Yahia Said, Denisa Kostovicova, Kirsten Schulz and Vesna Bojicic (all employed at LSE throughout this period), as well as by scholars in France, Germany, Netherlands and Finland.

References to the research

1. Kaldor M. and A. Salmon. (2006). `Military Force and European Strategy', Survival 48(1): 19-34. DOI:10.1080/00396330600594363


2. Kaldor, M. (2006). `La sécurité humaine: un concept pertinent?'. Politique Étrangè, 4: 901-14. LSE Research Online ID no. 14976


3. Kaldor, M. and M. Glasius. (2006). A Human Security Doctrine for Europe: Project, Principles, Practicalities. Routledge, London and New York. LSE Research Online ID no:12225

4. Kaldor, M., M. Martin and S. Selchow. (2007). `Human Security: a new strategic narrative for Europe'. International Affairs, 83(2): 273-288. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2346.2007.00618.x


5. Kaldor, M (2007). Human Security: Reflections on Globalisation and Intervention. Polity Press, Cambridge. LSE Research Online ID no 12217

6. Martin M. and M. Kaldor (Eds.) (2009). The European Union and Human Security External Interventions and Missions. Routledge, London and New York.LSE Research Online ID no. 31200

7. Kaldor, M., M. Martin, and N. Serra (Eds.) (2012). National, European and Human Security: From Co-Existence to Convergence. Routledge, London. LSE Research Online no. 51691

Evidence of Quality: all publications were peer-reviewed. Research funding from the Caixa de Catalunya (£166,667, 2003-2005) and by various European Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence (£66,440, 2004-2007). Additional grants from ESRC (£18,335, 2007-2010, awarded to Mary Martin) and various foundations (£24,821, 2005-2008).

Details of the impact

The underpinning research has had a direct impact on European policy towards security and defence issues, particularly in terms of response to situations involving conflict and natural disaster. It has influenced European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP, now Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)) both in terms of generating debate across Europe about the nature of European security [A] and in terms of the design of Europe's security capabilities [B,C,D,E]. It has also had a direct impact on the national security and defence policies of at least five European countries: Sweden, Spain, the Czech Republic, Belgium and the UK [e.g. F].

The influence of the research has moved beyond Defence Policy into two areas of significance to international development: space technology and the relationship between the EU and Russia. In 2006 the research team were asked to assist the European Space Agency in preparing a report on future technology for human security, based on research into mission needs in such conflict-affected countries as Afghanistan and Somalia and taking the Barcelona Report as its official position. The report [G] has been formally adopted, has already influenced the technology used to respond to the Haiti earthquake in 2012, and is feeding into space R&D planning, in particular around satellite imagery and communications relevant to conflict and emergency situations.

In response to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's call for a treaty on European security in line with the Helsinki accords, Javier Solana also called upon the Study Group to reconvene and develop proposals for a 'human security architecture' that would govern the Euro-Atlantic region and particularly the relationship between the EU and Russia. In 2010 Professor Kaldor convened the group with the active involvement of Javier Solana (now ex-High Representative), former Spanish Minister of Defence Narcis Serra and a number of Russian scholars. The group's third report, titled Helsinki Plus: A Human Security Architecture for Europe [H], was commissioned by the Spanish Presidency of the EU and delivered to President Medvedev and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Lady Catherine Ashton.

The research team also became directly involved in the transfer of the human security doctrine to ESDP missions when they were asked to develop a human security training module for the European Crisis Management Centre in Finland. In 2008 members of the team (Mary Kaldor, Mary Martin, Vesna Bojicic together with Generals Andy Salmon and Klaus Reinhardt) undertook a week's training for EU personnel (both military and civil) expected to be deployed in Kosovo. It was the first time military and civilian personnel had been trained together. Subsequently the crisis management centre produced a human security training manual based on the module for use in preparing personnel for other missions [I]. An estimated 600 participants have been trained in human security, many of whom work in missions such as EUPOL Afghanistan. Course evaluations have revealed that many of these participants welcomed the new way of thinking about security.

Since that training, substantial evidence has accumulated demonstrating that application of the human security doctrine can, in fact, produce a significant and sustained impact on operations and results at the mission level in countries experiencing conflict and emergency situations. According to Javier Solana, the doctrine has "had a direct influence on ESDP missions, for example in DRC or Aceh, where we introduced human rights monitors and held extensive civil society consultations. Moreover the impact has been long-term" [A]. Below is a range of examples of how the human security doctrine has become "a guiding principle for actual operations" [E, p592] in developing countries and the various kinds of impact that it is producing:

Chad and Central African Republic (2008): Human security strongly influenced the European security approach in Africa as "an extremely useful tool to avoid a deemed excessive militarisation" [E, p592]. For example, the EUFOR Chad/CAR mission was focused on mobilising non-military resources - financial, diplomatic and political - to train and equip police, institute justice reforms and sponsor a peace process. Although not a success in terms of civilian protection or repatriation, EUFOR was deemed to have contributed to an improvement in regional security infrastructure [E].

Iraq (2008-2009): The EU has emphasised human security through reconstruction, rule of law and the political process in its approach to Iraq [B]. A human security approach was also explicitly adopted by the UK Commander of multinational forces in Southern Iraq after discussion with members of the LSE research team, and put into direct practice from August 2008 to April 2009. Violent deaths declined dramatically - about 80% - in the first three months as a direct result of this approach, which involved taking British soldiers off the streets unless they were accompanying Iraqi soldiers, removing weapons and arresting militants house by house instead of using more kinetic approaches, and putting more emphasis on the economic, social, political and cultural aspects of the situation [J,K]. Local elections produced a large turn-out and a majority perception that the elections had been fair. Polls in 2009 showed that citizens' concerns had shifted from militias, security and violence to jobs, healthcare and utilities. US Ambassador Ryan Crocker called the change "a radical transformation", and US General Petreus acknowledged the influence the human security doctrine had had on the new COIN manual, "which accompanied the surge back in 2007 and game-changed in Iraq" [J].

Afghanistan (2007-2010): In 2007 Brigadier Commander Mark Carleton-Smith officially named Helmand a "Human Security problem". Following a conference on human security at Sandhurst involving Professor Kaldor, UK military officials used the 'inspiring' concept of human security in planning and scenario analysis for Helmand Province. Analysis revealed that the previous UK stabilisation strategy had been flawed because it undermined consent and legitimacy from the Afghani people, leading to 'perverse outcomes'. The human security concept was incorporated into concrete plans for training and deployment, with emphasis on "equipping our commandos with the mind-set and toolkit to look through the lens of the people, rather than enemies" [J]. This approach was credited with playing a critical role in the success of the 2009 tour involving 45 commandos and has influenced ongoing decisions of the reconstruction team.

Libya (2011): The EU's initial public response to the Libyan crisis in February 2011 placed an emphasis on human rights, and consequently the EUFOR Libya operation focused on safe movement and evacuation of displaced persons and the delivery of humanitarian aid. The EU interventions were considered successful in protecting both nationals and EU citizens, in delivering humanitarian aid and in imposing restrictive measures against the Libyan regime. EU officials confirmed that human security had been the rationale behind the EU response [D].

Somalia (2008-now): For at least five years the EU has been attempting to break the cycle of ongoing conflict and weak governance in Somalia through development assistance combined with security measures and reforms [B]. An explicit human security focus has been adopted by the EU anti-piracy mission, with an emphasis on helping isolated and remote communities badly affected by pirate activity, establishing a fishing licencing scheme to rebuild the local fishing industry, and marginalising or making irrelevant the pirates rather than defeating them in a traditional military fashion. UK Rear Admiral Bob Tarrant, the Commander of the EU anti-piracy mission, considers the human security approach essential "in reaching out to these communities and in being able to deal with the permissive conditions that allow pirates to thrive unchecked" [L].

Burma (2013): In its current mission in Burma, the EU is insisting that its training for riot police be accompanied by efforts to strengthen community policing and produce better understanding of the concerns of local communities. In addition, the primary author of the formal Inquiry into the sectarian violence in Rakhine State has stated that the perspective of human security is the only way to approach that problem [M].

Wider Implications: Javier Solana's former chief of staff, Robert Cooper, contends that, already, "The concept of human security informs almost all operations the EU undertakes, directly or indirectly" [M]. Rear Admiral Bob Tarrant predicts that it "will be a central consideration in military operations and humanitarian response tasks in the future" [L], while former Spanish Minister of Defence and Vice Prime Minister Narcis Serra believes that it "will be progressively accepted by nations and by international organisations...And probably will become the only concept of security accepted by our public opinion" [N].

Sources to corroborate the impact

All sources listed below can also be seen at: https://apps.lse.ac.uk/impact/case-study/view/89

A. Statement from former EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Source file: https://apps.lse.ac.uk/impact/download/file/985

B. Report on the Implementation of the European Security Strategy (2008)

C. What Ambitions for European Defence in 2020, EU Institute for Strategic Studies Paris

D. Humanizing Security? The EU's Responsibility to Protect in the Libyan Crisis (2012) Source file: https://apps.lse.ac.uk/impact/download/file/813

E. The Failure of European Strategic Culture: EUFOR Chad, the last of its kind? (2011) Source file: https://apps.lse.ac.uk/impact/download/file/824

F. Security and Stabilisation: The Military Contribution (2009)

G. European Space and Human Security Working Group Report 2006 Source file:

H. Helsinki Plus: Towards a Human Security Architecture for Europe: The First Report of the EU-Russia Study Group Source file: https://apps.lse.ac.uk/impact/download/file/979

I. Human Security Training Manual 2009 Crisis Management Centre (CMC) Finland. Source file: https://apps.lse.ac.uk/impact/download/file/799

J. Statement from former UK Major General. Source file:

K. The Ultimate Weapon is No Weapon (section on Iraq). Source file:

L. Statement from Rear Admiral, EU Naval Force. Source file:

M. Statement from former Chief of Staff for EU High Representative Javier Solana. This file is confidential.

N. Interview with former Spain Minister of Defence and Deputy Prime Minister. Source file: