“If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it” . . . . . Lord Kelvin
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  • Documentation for HSI Version 2

    Posted on January 26th, 2011 editor0 No comments

    Human Security Index Version 2.0 was released on 9 December 2010.   Click on the tabs above entitled “HSI Version 2″ and “A Human Development Index (HDI) with 232 Countries” for more information, including data and maps.

  • Strengthening the Framework of the HSI

    Posted on September 20th, 2010 editor0 No comments

    Toward HSI Version 2

    As with any prototype, the Human Security Index faced some challenges. The prototype HSI, released in 2008-2009, is no exception. Challenges include:

    1. How to find adequate data, and preferably thematic indicators themselves, that could be appropriate inputs to the HSI?
    2. After the prototype demonstrated the feasibility of crafting a Human Security index, how might a redesign process improve the HSI?
    3. How to strengthen thematic sub-indices? and
    4. How to integrate equitability/inclusivenes into the Human Security Index?

    Here is a brief update on how these challenges are being addressed, as HSI Version 2 is being prepared for release later in 2010:

    1. Data: Actually, there are quite a few datasets, and also thematic indicators, that are useful. Few cover over 200 countries, however, and HSI V2 is working to include as many as 230 countries. It is likely that some smaller countries, which are most often omitted from data and indicator compilations, may be included but may lack some of the input data. Though their HSI values would thus not be so rubust, those with a (group-determined) critical mass of input data are likely to be included. As all source data will be available, users will be able to evaluate how to treat each country’s computed HSI.

    2. Redesign: A seminar was held at the United Nations in Bangkok on 25 January 2010 (.ppt presentation here), followed by a redesign workshop on 2 February 2010. The latter was held at VietNam National University, and videoconferenced with Kyoto University. Participants from France, India, Japan, Thailand, USA, and VietNam participated in the workshop. Proposals were made to recast the HSI into three thematic sub-indices for Economic, Environmental and Social Fabric, and to approach the HSI in such a way as to have a global HSI to provide an overall analytical environment on human security at national to international scale, and at subnational to community level. It is noted that the “triple bottom line for 21st century business” of John Elkington is also constructed around economy, environment, and society.

    Since then, the global HSI has been recrafted around such a trinity of economic, environmental, and social fabric. This was not particularly difficult to do, as the Social Fabric Index of the first prototype HSI contained an environmental component, and the egalitarian/inclusive HDI (which blended each component of the HDI with an equitibilty factor) contained in the release report for the HSI contained two key components of economic fabric: indicators of income, and of equality of income.

    3. Strengthening thematic sub-indices: No dataset or indicator is perfect. Fortunately, a good base of data and indicators is available with which to formulate the HSI. This does not mean that the HSI could not be strengthened by the arrival of new datasets or indicators. An improved indicator of people’s vulnerability to environmental situations would be welcomed, as would indicators of racial, ethnic, religious, age-based, “dis”ability-based and other diversity-related security among and within countries.

    4. Equitability: This is a challenge, as few detailed global or even national datasets are available on this subject, consistently enumerating countries – let alone provinces/states or counties/districts. The Gini Coefficient, or some other indicator of income inequality, is one of the best – but where are the indicators of equality of access to education, health care, transportation, etc? The first two were polled by the World Economic Forum some years ago, but in the days when fewer than 100 countries were included in the WEF’s Global Competitiveness Report. Of course, inequities between and within countries are apparent in the HSI and constitutent datasets, but it would be desirable to have additional inequities directly assessed, in a manner useful for decisionmakers to strategize improvements, as well as for the HSI.

    HSI Version 2 is in preparation, for release later in 2010. In addition, subnational HSIs are being formulated for one high-HDI country and one moderate-HDI country. The two subnational HSIs are incorporating data as available for the respective countries, which have some overlap but also considerable differences. Nevertheless, the framework sketched above, with subindices for economic, environmental and social fabric, appears to accommodate such situations.

    The release note, and information on the conference at which HSI Version 2 will be released, is at the following URLs:
    Release Note
    Conference Website

  • Release of the HSI

    Posted on November 1st, 2009 admin No comments

    The Human Security Index (HSI) was first publicly released at the (GIS-IDEAS 2008) Conference “Towards a Sustainable and Creative Humanosphere” in 2008. A refined version (direct link to the .pdf ) was published by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in 2009.

    The HSI covers 200 countries (or societies), and is intended to represent the recent-to-current situation. Though presented in the spirit of the Human Development Index (HDI) it is not currently intended to become an annual publication. After all, societies rarely change so quickly… Rather, from the outset, the main goal of the effort is to find ways to support positive efforts in Human Security Index development and use, including

    • Pioneer developers of data and topical indicators;
    • Enhancements of this prototype into a better HSI; and
    • Visions, strategies, policies, and activities aimed at improving human security at community, district, provincial, national, and global levels.

    Here is the summary of the paper, edited from the two versions linked to above:

    Introduction and Rationale:

    Since 1990, the Human Development Index has revolutionized discussions about human development. However, it suffers from two deficiencies, which can now be mitigated:

    1. geographic incompleteness (addressed here) and
    2. insufficiently “on-target” representation of economy, knowledge, and “a long and healthy life” at the level of the individual.

    Release of the Human Security Index:

    This report summarizes attempts to rectify the second of those deficiencies by creating an equitability Enhanced Human Development Index.

    In addition, steady advances in characterizing different aspects of the human condition have resulted in indicators, covering varying numbers of countries, on a wide variety of subjects. Thus, if one were challenged to create an index on the condition of people-centric Human Security, such as the authors of the Human Development Index faced in 1990 and expanded qualitatively in 1994, one could now begin to do so – at least for the sake of discussion and resultant improvements. Such a prototype Human Security Index is presented and initially assessed here.

    Initial Assessment

    Initial findings are consistent with those of some sustainability and governance indicators – that stereotypical material development needs to be harmonized by good governance aimed at peacefulness, fair circumstances to all people, and long-term environmental sustainability. The data show that most countries are characterized (in the components of the prototype index) by one or more relative strengths, and also one or more weaknesses, which might help them to focus on areas for improvements. Indeed, no country ranks above .800 (on a 0-1.000 scale as in the Human Development Index) in every component.

    Another result of this work is the indication that economies which most heavily pursue GDP-oriented “development” may do so at the expense of other priorities, and are not necessarily highly developed societies, in terms of equitability, social fabric, or human security. These societal characteristics are arguably more important to peace-of-mind for all people than raw GDP per capita - especially for the middle class and below that benefit less from raw GDP enrichment processes.

    The Human Development Reports of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) pushed the envelope significantly beyond thinking of “development” simply as increased GDP per capita - to also encompass such benefits as health and education. This paper adds the proposal that equatibility of access to financial, healthcare, and educational resources is a fundamental aspect of human development.

    The social fabric characterizations introduced here can now push the envelope even farther. Thanks to the work of many organizations in compiling appropriate data, and formulating applicable topical indicators, we may now begin to further characterize human security and societal development, and perhaps help proactive planners to rectify challenges faced by societies in multi-faceted but essential dimensions of life.

    The purposes of this Website are

    • To improve access to the Human Security Index and its components;
    • To encourage reasoned discussion on various complementary (or competitive?) indicators in some topical components – such as fostering diversity, peacefulness, environmental protection, freedom from corruption, and information empowerment; and
    • To foster discussion that can improve design, implementation and benefits of/from the HSI.

    The United Nations publication has the following Table of Contents:

    1.1 Background – the Human Development Index
    1.2 Human Security as a concept
    1.3 Extending the Human Development Index- an Earth Observation approach
    2.1 Selection of input parameters
    2.2 Computation of an Equitability/Inclusiveness Index and an Enhanced HDI
    2.3 Discussion of the Equitability/Inclusiveness Index and the Enhanced HDI
    2.4 Discussion
    3.1 Constructing a Human Security Index
    3.2 Discussion of the Social Fabric Index and the Human Security Index
    4.1 General discussion
    4.2 Discussion on each constituent indicator
    APPENDIX (data tables)