Climate Change and Human Security

Climate Change and Human Security

The Challenge to Local Governance under Rapid Coastal Urbanization

Michael R. Redclift, David Manuel-Navarette and Mark Pelling

The challenge presented by climate change is, by its nature, global. The populations of the Mexican Caribbean, the focus of this book, are faced by everyday decisions not unlike those in the urban North. The difference is that for the people of the Mexican Caribbean evidence of the effects of climate change, including hurricanes, is very familiar to them. This important study documents the choices and risks of people who are powerless to change the economic development model which is itself forcing climate change.

Chapter 5: Human Security and Governance

Michael R. Redclift, David Manuel-Navarette and Mark Pelling

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental geography, environmental governance and regulation, environmental politics and policy, environmental sociology, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, european politics and policy, urban and regional studies, urban studies


INTRODUCTION The rising popularity of concepts such as governance and human security is concurrent with the retreat of the state from some basic spheres of public life. The concept of governance builds upon the classical model of ‘checks and balances’ between the three powers of the state (judicial, legislative and executive), and extends it to include markets and civil society. Thus, in effect, governance suggests the empowering of private and special interests over the state. As discussed in Chapter 6, this redistribution of powers does not necessarily mean the deepening of democracy in the sense of a more equitable distribution of power. In fact, it may lead to the creation of strong coalitions between government and private sectors that are capable of exerting hegemonic forms of rule and governmentality, far more effective and encompassing than those traditionally achieved by the state alone. This is particularly so in contexts such as the Mexican Caribbean, in which civil society is relatively underdeveloped and thus unable to counterbalance the monopoly of power attained by the government–business coalition, or ‘historic bloc’ in Gramsci’s (1971) sense. Similar to governance, human security de-emphasizes the monopoly of the state as the fundamental guarantor of security and shifts attention from the security of, and by, the state to the provision of security by markets and civil society. Human security was originally focused on governments and markets, as illustrated by the catchphrase ‘freedom from fear and want’ (UNDP, 1994). The concept was initially embraced by a loose coalition...

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