Thursday, 7 August 2014

Jeffrey Levett responds to the placed statement of His Excellency Ban Ki-moon on human security

His Excellency Ban Ki-moon

Secretary-General of the United Nations

Dear Secretary General

Certainly a strategic plan and a specific Human Security Unit would be extremely useful for the world, for peace and human rights and for the needs of the Balkan region. Why though do you leave out of your equation a people-centered, prevention oriented, interdisciplinary strategy, namely, public health, which is a proven vulnerability reducing, resilience raising instrument of society? This is even more surprising since quite recently you visited the Zagreb School of Public Health, a prestigious institution named after Andrija Stampar and founder of the World Health Organisation.

At the time, I noted that although you were in Belgrade you did not visit an important arm of the United Nations University of Peace, the only institution in the Balkan region that has worked on human security .

While we can and should draw inspiration from the principles of human security and use them to alleviate suffering of the human condition and to improve it, neglecting public health and its proven track record leaves a feeling of hollowness. At a time of growing worldwide inequality and poverty, new and emerging threats to population health and when the UN is making a determined attempt to work out a new post 2015 agenda for development, this I find regrettable.

On World Humanitarian Day I suggest that as we contemplate a fairer world without fear and want, we should also recall the gains from public health.

Dr. Jeffrey Levett

Professor, Management Public Health and International Health Member, Honorary Committee Public Health, ASPHER, Brussels


Takehiro Togo and J. Levett.Health Diplomacy as an Aid to Human Security, 12th World Congress on Public Health, Istanbul, WFPHA,

2009;•PUBLIC HEALTH PERSPECTIVE. Albanian castles in defense of Balkan public health,SEEJPH•; ECPD, Belgrade,

NATIONAL AND INTER-ETHNIC RECONCILIATION, RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE AND HUMAN SECURITY IN THE BALKANS – RECONCILIATION AND HUMAN SECURITY 2005-2010 ; Declaration on Implementation of the Human Security Concept in the Balkan Region Brioni Islands, Croatia, 2010

Disaster Press (

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