Background

In a joint statement made by ten organizations (WHO, FAO, ICAO, IFAD, ILO, PAHO, UNAIDS, UNESCO, UNIDO, WIPO) at the Inter Inter-agency Security Management Network (IASMN) meeting of May 2006 in Vienna (CRP.2), it was recalled that HLCM,  at its 11th session, has requested a number of specific actions to be undertaken in connection with DSS budget development, namely:

  • for 2004-2005, an implementation report on results achieved and the expenditure for each result of cost-shared field related security arrangements;
  • for 2006-2007, a revised programme of work and budget, focused on results achieved as related to planned results;
  • for 2008-2009, robust and timely inter-agency consultations for the development of the cost-shared portion of the budget with a clear results-based focus.

These ten organizations did not endorse the budget proposals for 2008-2009.

The IASMN had therefore decided to establish a working group to re-draft the strategic framework 2006-2009, to reflect the expansion that had taken place in the proposed scope of activities beyond the originally agreed structure and terms of reference, including cost-sharing arrangements relating to the establishment of DSS. The new framework would incorporate the needs of the agencies, funds and programmes.

The IASMN also decided that the working group would also consider and review the budget proposals for 2008-2009 and submit its report no later than 1 September 2006.

This report was produced, following a working group’s meeting on 10-11 July in New York (CRP.3). The Group agreed that, to better enable DSS to coordinate budgetary submissions with the approval process of the HLCM and CEB, the next IASMN meeting would take place in February or March 2007.

Discussion

The Chairperson recalled that, at its 10th and 11th sessions, HLCM had considered the measures to be taken to improve the operational administration of existing cost sharing arrangements for safety and security, as well as the broader issue of improving the governance mechanisms of the UN security management system, both from a substantive point of view, i.e. the definition of future strategic frameworks, and from a budgetary point of view, i.e. the procedures to collectively identify and agree on objectives and corresponding resources.

Two documents were before the Committee for discussion – a report on the Inter-Agency Security Management Network (IASMN) meeting of May 2006 in Vienna (CRP.2), and the report of the IASMN Working Group meeting of July 2006 in New York (CRP.3). The Secretary-General’s report (A/61/223) on measures to improve cost-sharing arrangements for field security was also available as background information.

The Chairperson gave the floor to the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Safety and Security, for a briefing on the general security environment within which the staff of the United Nations System were currently operating, as well as on the recent accomplishments and the future challenges facing the UN Department for Safety and Security.

An authoritative report entitled “Humanitarian Action in this Security Environment”, extensively researched by the New York University and the Overseas Development Institute (with the support of DSS), was to be launched in October. Its regrettable conclusion was a marked increase in violent acts against aid workers since 1997, with a steeper increase in recent years. The UN offered to share with HLCM the complete results of this study, upon its release.

An encouraging conclusion of this report was that UN system organizations, as compared to other organizations operating in the field, had experienced a relatively lower increase in security costs. This was also thanks to the UN organizations’ unique capacity to expect host country leadership in UN security responsibility.

Recognition of the increased global threat to the UN and the wider humanitarian community was also expressed in General Assembly Resolution 60/123.  The wording of this resolution was particularly robust and contained specific recommendations on enhanced staff training, more co-ordination of threat and risk analysis and particular emphasis on attacks upon locally employed – national staff – which are the most common forms of attack.

DSS recognized the role of the UN Designated Official and country security management team, as the foundation of the UN security system. In support of that role, DSS had commissioned two analytical reviews, one from a development/humanitarian perspective and the other from a peace-keeping perspective. The conclusions of the first review had already been shared with the IASMN at its meeting in May 2006, while the second review had recently been completed and was currently the subject of consultations with DPKO. DSS intended to share the conclusions of both reviews with all interested stakeholders and to proceed with the implementation of those recommendations that met broad acceptance and would had a good chance of strengthening  the Designated Official and the country security management team in their crucial role.

DSS regretted that there had been only marginal improvement in the gender balance of security officers. Reiterated pressures on Member States to submit female candidatures for advertised posts had gone mostly unheard. In any case, a number of already announced positions were being kept open and reserved for women. The UN USG for Management commended the efforts made by DSS on the subject of gender balance, and stated that a real improvement in the gender balance of UN staff required truly radical measures, such as the planned staff buy-out currently under finalization in the Secretariat, which was expected to change the current demographics of senior leadership in the Organization.

In the discussions on the IASMN reports (CRP.2 and CRP.3), it was suggested that the Network should focus on its core mandate - field security - and not presume to be a governing body for DSS.  For example, paragraphs 59, 60, 61 & 67 of CRP.2 as well as paragraph 14 of CRP.3 addressed issues concerning the United Nations Secretariat's Security and Safety Services, which were not within the purview of IASMN.  It was furthermore suggested to rename IASMN, in line with other HLCM subsidiary bodies, and call it "Field Security Network" (FSN).

Welcoming suggestions to develop and carry out training activities as preventive measures against harassment by male security officers towards their female colleagues, the UN informed the Committee that a new, strong sexual harassment policy was being developed and would be finalized shortly.

Noting that recent statistics indicated that a major cause of UN staff injury was traffic accidents, WHO offered to share with the organizations members of HLCM the methodology and conclusions of its recent work on road safety.

On the issue of the World Bank’s participation in the UN security management system and on the payment of its corresponding share, the Chairperson informed that she had met with the World Bank in July and that the Bank President had promised an answer on this issue before the CEB meeting in October 2006. The UN also noted that the World Bank’s biennial share in the field-security system amounted to approximately USD 10 Million.  Such an amount, of not duly paid, could not be absorbed by the UN and it would result in all the organizations participating in the system having to share the difference.

The World Bank representative provided the Committee with some historical background on this issue, explaining that in September 2004 the then Under-Secretary for Management had written to the World Bank to initiate a process to clarify the scope of cooperation between the World Bank Group and the United Nations Security Management System. Following initial discussions with DSS in mid-2005 and in connection with an analysis of both the value of services received and their corresponding costs, a letter outlining the Bank’s position on the subject was sent to the Secretary of HLCM on 5 October 2005, and was discussed at the Committee’s 10th session. Following extensive consultations over several months with the World Bank, at both the working and senior management levels, a formal response to this position was provided by DSS on 25th September 2006. The World Bank re-iterated its commitment to continued dialogue with the United Nations, in order to resolve the current impasse and stated its firm belief that a solution could be found very quickly through continued negotiations, with DSS being empowered by stakeholders, including the HLCM, to reach an acceptable agreement.

Organizations expressed their strong preference for an agreement which would permit the World Bank to continue its participation within the UN Security Management System. The Committee agreed that the solution lay in continued dialogue and encouraged all sides to meet as soon as possible to resolve the outstanding issues.

The Committee endorsed the objectives as spelled out in the UNDSS Strategic Framework for the biennium 2008-2009, as well as the newly identified need for a fully-operational surge capacity, should resources be made available (i.e. with no additional base resource growth in the 2008-2009 budget).

Noting that the UNDSS current budget proposal for the biennium 2008-2009 included increased resource requirements, Committee members stated that the increased budgetary requirements could not be funded by the partners of the IASMN through the current cost-sharing arrangements, due to their financial limitations. There was also consensus on the fact that the possible establishment of a surge capacity could not be achieved through an increase in the 2006-07 cost-shared contribution.

The Committee encouraged UNDSS to explore and utilize alternative options of funding for the full implementation of its proposed operations, including the development of a surge capacity.

The Committee decided to establish a technical working group to look at options for re-prioritization of activities of UNDSS in order to best meet the objectives stated in the Strategic Framework 2008-2009 and develop an effective surge capacity within the 2006-2007 budget ceiling.

Organizations congratulated DSS for the excellent progress made since its establishment, appreciated the consultative approach adopted by DSS within the framework of the IASMN, and noted that this would further benefit from a more timely circulation of the documents for discussion, prior to meetings of the Network.

Action

The Committee:

  • Endorsed the recommendations included in IASMN report of May 2006, as follows:

Paragraphs 28 to 30 on the production of CD-ROM 2 (Advanced Security in the Field).
Paragraph 51: on the development, by October 2006, of a training package on how to cope with mass casualties to be included in the next workshop for DSS field security officers held after this date.
Paragraphs 55 to 58: on security for women.
Paragraph 75 -78: on the work done with regard to cooperation with NGOs.

  • Welcomed the agreement reached at the IASMN meeting by all organizations, with the exception of the World Bank, on the wording of the final outstanding paragraph of the policy for the accountability of the UN security management system.
  • With regard to the revised commercial passenger travel guidelines, as outlined in paragraph 34 of the IASMN report, noted that the issue of staff limits on flights required further study, especially in connection with the guidelines’ implications on insurance costs.
  • Requested that UNDSS and the World Bank undertake further consultations in order to resolve the issue of World Bank’s participation in the UN security management system and the payment of its corresponding share.
  • Established a technical working group to look at options for re-prioritization of activities of UNDSS and corresponding funding mechanisms in order to best meet the objectives stated in the Strategic Framework 2008-2009 within the 2006-2007 cost-shared budget ceiling, and develop an effective surge capacity should resources become available (i.e. with no additional base resource growth in the 2008-2009 budget). The working group should complete its report and submit it to the HLCM by end of October 2006. The Terms of Reference of the group are attached as Annex 5 to this report.