The concept of human security, while much contested in both academic and policy debates, and highly fragmented across different meanings and forms of implementation, offers a potential locus around which global security discourse might converge, particularly in light of current shifts in US security thinking. However, key pioneers of human security, such as the United Nations and Canada, appear to be losing their enthusiasm for the concept, just at the moment when others such as the European Union, are advancing a human security agenda. This article examines the divergence of human security narratives between the UN and the EU. It argues that the UN's use of the concept ran aground owing to a triple problematic of lack of clarity, confusion between previously distinct policy streams on human rights and human development and conceptual overstretch. After assessing the EU experience with the concept to date, the article argues that future use of human security will require greater focus on how it deepens ideas of individual security, rather than treating it as an agenda for broadening security. As well as a need to project clarity on the conceptual definition of human security, there is also a need to associate human security with greater clarity of intent. If successful, this would contribute to establishing second generation human security as a new policy paradigm.