Co-constructing Security Provision in Mexico suburb 1400 x 400

Co-Constructing Human Security in Mexico: A Methodology and Action Plan from Communities to the State

Newton Fund Initiative and CONACYT

2016 - 2018

The ‘Co-constructing Security Provision in Mexico: A Methodology and Action Plan from Communities to the State’ project involved the collaboration of LACC, the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), and Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE).

The project was funded by the Newton Fund Initiative and Mexico’s National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT). It saw the contribution of Professor Jenny Pearce (Research Professor, LACC) and Dr Alexandra Abello Colak (Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, LACC).

Towards a Human Security Agenda for Mexico Towards a Human Security Agenda for Mexico
Professor Jenny Pearce and Dr Alexandra Abello Colak discuss the process of creating human-security agendas with communities in Acapulco, Apatzingán, Guadalupe, and Tijuana.

The research and action project developed and tested methodologies for co-constructing security provision with actors in four case study locations: Tijuana, Apatzingan, Acapulco and Guadalupe. It worked with community, civil society, and state actors to both better diagnose the security threats they face, but most importantly, to build shared understandings of security as an effective and equitable public good in their localities.

It encouraged understanding of the differential impacts of violence, insecurity and security provision according to income, gender, and ethnicity. It used 'local security agendas', constructed from the ground up, to influence the national security approaches in Mexico and inform debate in the Global South. The project saw the publication of ‘Human Security and Chronic Violence in Mexico: New Perspectives and Proposals from Below’ (Abello Colak and Kloppe-Santamaria (Eds), 2019, also accessible in Spanish).

Impacts achieved

This project aimed at impacts at the community as well as municipal and federal state levels - linking all of these. At the local state level, the team informed local political and security actors in each locality of the research and initial findings. They presented findings to the Mexican Chamber of Deputies and contributed to expert meetings to explore how the human security approach could be used to improve local responses.

At the community level, the process of building the Agendas for Human Security with communities was the impact. Each Agenda was discussed in draft form following regular workshops and informal conversations. Agendas were produced with community policy recommendations in three of the four case studies, where the security conditions permitted it. In Apatzingan, an Observatory of Human Security was set up to take the Agenda forward, coordinated by the Community Researcher, with links to various civil society organisations.

On the academic front, the PI and Research Coordinator are completing a journal article on the research. The PI also linked up with the PI of a sister Newton-funded Conacyt project. This collaboration translated into a successful bid for a Newton Impact Scheme grant, for a two year follow up of both team’s research in Michoacan, linking community and civil society approaches to new security thinking.



Interview and livestream

dialogos frontera

Construcción de seguridad humana en México | Diálogos desde la frontera #229

Interview with Alexandra Abello Colak at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, El Colef (5 February 2020).



Violencia crónica y seguridad humana en México: presentación y diálogo

Livestream recording of a presentation of the book at El Colef Tijuana (28 October 2019).


Human Security Agendas 

Co-creating Human Security Documentary 

This documentary followed Professor Jenny Pearce and Dr Alexandra Abello-Colak as they worked with the community to produce the Human Security Agenda’s between 2016 - 2018 in Acapulco (Guerrero), Apatzingán (Michoacán), Guadalupe (Nuevo León) and Tijuana (Baja California).

Towards a Human Security Agenda for Mexico Towards a Human Security Agenda for Mexico



This project was the result of collaboration among scholars that share a strong commitment with security and violence issues in Latin America. It was based at LACC, ITAM, and CIDE (the latter two in Mexico City). 

The international research team built on a methodology, developed by the Observatory of Human Security in Medellin with Professor Jenny Pearce and Dr Abello-Colak. It had been used since 2011 to work with community researchers in Medellin with the support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Tegucigalpa with the support of OXFAM and TROCAIRE.



 Photo banner: Tijuana suburb. Dan Cipolla, 2017, Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.