Research consortium

  • Main applicant: Dr E.H. Harper (The West Asia - North Africa Institute, Jordan)
  • Co-applicants: Dr D. Connolly (The Hague Institute for Global Justice, The Netherlands), Dr A. Khalil (The University of Jordan, Jordan), Ms N. Shawarib (Mercy Corps, Jordan), Ms S. Khallaf (UN High Commissioner for Refugees (regional office for MENA), Jordan)

Project information

The theory of change informing approaches dubbed ‘human security‘ is that addressing the underlying causes of conflict — voids in development, opportunity and rights — is the most effective means of maintaining security and promoting resilience. The emergent threat of violent extremism has modified the policy environment in which such approaches are designed and implemented. Greater emphasis on preventing security incidents has narrowed the space for people-centered approaches. This particularly affects vulnerable groups, including refugees. While such measures may improve security in an immediate sense, it is counter-argued that this disempowers communities, aggravates local conflicts and compromises human security programming aims. These policy responses also contradict the emerging scholarship on radicalisation which identifies communities as pivotal in countering extremism. Overarching challenges are the absence of an advanced evidence base and a lack of common ground between the security and development-humanitarian sectors. These actors have different objectives, reference points and success criteria. This project seeks to respond to this evidential gap and provide a platform to reconceptualise how human security approaches can align with and contribute to counterextremism policies. Practitioner partners will be involved in the project from its inception, in data collection, stakeholder engagement, and in policy implementation. The outcomes will inform the capacity-building of policy, programmatic and community stakeholders in the four target countries to design and implement more effective human security approaches. By bolstering conflict resilience and reducing extremism threats, the project represents a strategic contribution to the discourse on human security and emerging threats in fragile and conflict-affected settings.

Project results