Human Security - Foundation for Human and Social Capital Development

9:48:21 AM | 8/1/2023

Human investment is an essential component of national capacity development as it is both a resource and an ultimate goal of every economy. Human security is the top priority of every country and the main foundation for human capital development.

Ensuring decent wages and working conditions is a fundamental aspect of human security

The Vietnamese Government’s 2050 Vision aims to grow Vietnam into a developed country with a high human development index, good human wellbeing, and solid defense and security. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to enhance national competitiveness by effectively governing resources such as financial, natural, produced, human, and social.

The importance of human resources

According to modern economists, a nation’s wealth and competitiveness are created rather than inherited. It does not develop from the natural, financial, and other resources of a country as classical economists used to assert.

The prosperity and competitiveness of a country depend on innovations and on market development dynamics that consist of the effective interaction of three actors: government, business, and people.

The innovative and creative qualities of human capital are demonstrated through four industrial revolutions along with the invention of the market mechanism that have brought about a much more prosperous life and society than those of our ancestors in the history of human development. Human capital is considered the most important property of any country and human investment is always an inevitable part of national capacity development because it is both a resource and an ultimate goal of all economies. Therefore, human security is the top priority of all countries and the main foundation for human capital development.

The idea of expanding the concept of security from national security to individual human security was first put forward by the Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Affairs in 1982. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Report in 1994 was a landmark publication on human security, arguing that ensuring the essential needs and safety of all is the best way to solve the global issue of insecurity. It opened a way-out for the academic redefinition of human security.

In particular, the approach to human security has refocused the security debate from territorial security to people’s security. This idea, espoused by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, invited security scholars and policymakers to look beyond nation-state defense to protect what we care about most in life: our basic needs, our physical integrity, and our human dignity.

It emphasizes the importance of our freedom from fear, freedom from need, and freedom to live in dignity. It stresses the close connection of security, development, protection, and empowerment of individuals and communities.

Human security in Vietnam

The concept of “human security” first appeared in Vietnam in the Document of the 12th National Party Congress (2016). Since then, Vietnam has made significant progress in seven spheres of human security: economic, food, health, ecological, personal, social, and political. The poverty rate has fallen by an average of 1.5-2% per year to less than 3% in 2020. The percentage of health-insured people reached 90.7% by 2020, a significant increase from 2015 (76.5%) and higher than the target (80%).

Clause 1, Article 20 of the 2013 Constitution stipulates that everyone has the right to the inviolability of their body and to the protection by law of their health, honor, and dignity. Compared to the 1992 Constitution, the 2013 Constitution adds “human rights” to the title of the chapter.

However, human security in Vietnam still faces some limitations such as slow salary policy reform; unsustainable poverty reduction; improper quality of healthcare and education services, especially in remote and isolated areas and ethnic minority areas; and low life quality amid slowly remedied environmental pollution.

Human security has recently been clearly stated many times in the Document of the 13th National Party Congress: “Managing social development effectively, transparently, and ensuring social security, human security”. This orientation also shows that the human-social connection is clearly very strong."

Five research contents for human development

To effectively follow the Party's orientation and the Government's policies, perhaps, it is necessary to step up five more research contents to develop people and society amid new trends of geopolitical, economic, environmental and technological changes:

Human centrality

The awareness and enforcement of human security policies is improved by placing people at the center, right from the master plan on economic and social development and national security to actual implementation.

Protecting basic human needs by law such as living, working, learning and personal security needs to ensure freedom from threats including war, conflict and violence. In particular, wages and working conditions must be one of the core issues of human security.

In addition, changing technological and digital trends can expand human freedom but they can also cause unintended consequences and challenges to human security (for example, human rights may be compromised by online harm and increasing reliance on AI algorithms may erode human security).

Furthermore, it is also important to recognize new generations of challenges that have emerged in the form of pandemics and climate change as well as the increased levels of conflict (approximately 1.2 billion people are still living in conflict-affected areas around the world) and the existence of inequality in human development.

Social resources

These resources include political institutions, major social networks and mass organizations. Currently, the view that overemphasizes the interests of the collective in a general and abstract way is greatly impeding social resources, encumbering the institutional and administrative structure from ministries to provinces and cities, and slowing down wage reforms, causing pressing social problems such as corruption, social evil and crime.

In addition, the corporate structure is backward and lacks innovation. Mass organizations are inherently superficial and unproductive. Culture eroded in civil society organizations in the country. Therefore, there is a need for disruptive streamlining and decentralization in the administrative system to ensure work performance and a good working environment for civil servants.

The institutional structure of corporates and civil society organizations needs to be continuously reformed and developed to make sure that they keep up with a healthy competitive market and a civilized society. Digital application policies will certainly effectively support training, connection and implementation of this transformation.

Just and peaceful society

Human security in the Anthropocene must now go beyond personal and social security toward a systematic, interdependent way among people and between man and the planet.

In that process, the principles of protection, decentralization and solidarity at work will promote not only a positive and healthy social culture, but also a circular economy and a just and peaceful society.


Recognition, regardless of being an award, bonus, promotion, wage raise or simply a ‘thank you’, helps individuals and organizations see social interest, especially if it's done honestly and consistently.

That process will build people's trust and standards in a common goal as well as select virtuous and talented individuals as well as an exemplary organizational model to make practical contributions to comprehensive human and modern social development.

Food security and national defense

In the context of complicated climate change and conflicts of competitive forces in the region, the master plans for Mekong Delta food centers, the East Sea and Vietnam's border areas must be a priority of the country's socioeconomic development policy to ensure food security and national defense in order to achieve sustainable human security in Vietnam in the global integration process.

Vietnam will have net-zero policies by 2050, as committed at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26).

An equitable society of law with comprehensive policies on human security will be the foundation for human resource development and a civilized society. That foundation will bring freedom, equality and peace to the people and build a society that is always innovative and creative. And, this is also the beginning of the prosperity of Vietnam.

Dr. Doan Duy Khuong

Source: Vietnam Business Forum