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Governing catastrophes: security, health and humanitarian assistance

30-06-2007 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 866, by David P. Fidler

Recent catastrophes, and predictions of an increasing potential for more, have stimulated thinking about the best policy responses to these threats. This article explores how security concepts influence catastrophe governance. It considers how globalization affects thinking about catastrophes, describes ways in which catastrophes have been conceptualized as governance challenges and explains how health and humanitarian assistance experienced “securitization” in the post-Cold War period.

   

David P. Fidler
is the James Louis Calamaras Professor of Law, Indiana University School of Law; Director, Indiana University Center on American and Global Security. 

 
Abstract 
Recent catastrophes, and predictions of an increasing potential for more, have stimulated thinking about the best policy responses to these threats. This article explores how security concepts influence catastrophe governance. The article considers how globalization affects thinking about catastrophes and describes ways in which catastrophes have been conceptualized as governance challenges, such as the human rights approach to the provision of health and humanitarian assistance. The article explains how health and humanitarian assistance experienced ‘‘securitization’’ in the post-cold war period, a development that challenges rights-based strategies and creates complex and controversial implications for the prevention, protection and response functions of catastrophe governance.  

   
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