A Human Security Perspective in Understanding Risk Information During the COVID-19 Pandemic
This is a contributing paper of the UN Disaster Risk Reduction’s Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2022 (GAR2022), which has the theme “Our World at Risk: Transforming Governance for a Resilient Future.” It explores the nexus of risk information and human security against the backdrop of the current COVID-19 pandemic. The discussions revolve around how human security concerns drive people’s risk perception during a pandemic and expound on the importance of risk information in protecting and empowering people during a crisis.
The paper describes the results of a survey of the Japanese and foreign residents of the four prefectures of Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama; presenting the kinds of information they sought, the frequency and challenges in their information seeking, their trust in sources, their acquiescence to COVID-19 safety measures and their specific concerns related to seeking information during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. From the lens of human security, risk information is a fit tool to address the wide range of insecurities that persist and evolve. Context-specific and sufficient information can reduce, if not eliminate, fear. Likewise, risk information aids people in assessing vulnerabilities across a spectrum of potential insecurities through risk perception. The paper elaborates that risk information becomes a valuable resource once appropriately communicated. It also emphasizes that addressing threats such as COVID-19 demands risk-informed governance through investment in risk information and context-specific dissemination aided by technology. Aligned with human security’s operational framework, risk information can protect and empower people in responding to the multiple threats of COVID-19 by making rational and sound choices for themselves and their communities or groups.
This paper is partially based on the supplementary study “A Human Security Perspective on Information Access and Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Short Study Report.”