Background

The Under-Secretary General of the United Nations for Security and Safety who had presided over the meeting of the IASMN of April 2005 presented the report.  He emphasized that every effort was being undertaken to ensure that the architecture of the security management system was not “New York–centric”, responded to the mandate of the General Assembly and the needs of the participating organizations.  He also added that a robust and accountable system would be ensured.

The report, inter alia requested the endorsement of the Committee for the revised Framework for Accountability for the United Nations Security Management System.   It was recalled that in section VIII of resolution 56/255, the General Assembly had noted with concern the lack of an accountability and responsibility mechanism in the area of field security and had requested the Secretary-General to submit, at its fifty-seventh session, a comprehensive report on the establishment of a clear mechanism.  In the same context, at its 59th session, the General-Assembly requested the Secretary-General to submit, to its sixtieth session, an accountability framework (A/RES/59/276 of 23 December 2004).  Accordingly, a revised Framework was recommended by the IASMN for approval by the Committee.

Other  recommendations  emanating from IASMN concerned: (a) aviation safety, (b) progress in the implementation  of  prior IASMN recommendations, (c) minimum operating security standards,  (d) coordination by DSS of lessons learned, (e) consultative approaches for the  future review of policy issues, (f) internal  audit of security matters,  (g) a UN system policy regarding asylum  seekers, (h) security training, (i) security information systems including the establishment of a working group for IT security management, (j) a strengthened programme assessment component in the current security threat and risk assessment model, (k) critical incident stress management, (l) security personnel including inter alia selection criteria and processes, (m) concerns regarding the security budget, (n) integration of UN Volunteers into country-specific security management  arrangements, (o) arrest and detention provisions of the Field Security Handbook, (p) emergency telecommunications, (q) minimum operating residential security standards standards (MORSS), (r) managing  situations involving mass casualties and (s) security for women.

Discussion

The HR Network which had considered the report of the IASMN at its meeting in July 2005 had decided also to draw the Committee’s attention to aspects relating to the minimum operating residential security standards (MORSS) and their application to national staff.  It had agreed that given the complexities involved when considering measures to improve the safety of national staff HLCM should determine what adjustments to the operation of MORSS should be considered.

While recognizing the need for a robust and coherent accountability framework for security management across the UN system, representatives of the specialized agencies drew the Committee’s attention to Section III C, paragraphs 5, 7 and 8 of the document providing the revised accountability framework which failed to consider the governance structures of the various specialized agencies whereby their executive heads were accountable only to their respective governing bodies.  In response, the Under Secretary General for Safety and Security agreed to request the UN’s legal advisor to undertake urgent consultations with other organizations’ legal advisors with the view to achieving the dual objectives of (a) ensuring clarity and robustness of the accountability framework and (b) responding to the members’ concerns that there be no breach of their governance structures.

Action

The Committee:

  • Expressed its appreciation for the work of the IASMN and for the collaboration and progress in reinforcing inter-agency collaboration in strengthening the unified field security management system.
  • Agreed to the revised “Framework for Accountability for the UN Security Management System” subject to an acceptable resolution of the reservations expressed with respect to Section III C, paragraphs 5, 7 and 8 and a change in Section C (g) which defined the roles and responsibilities by replacing “exceptional” by “unnecessary”.  In response to a proposal from WHO, USG for Department of Safety and Security assured the Committee that the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations would undertake consultations with the Legal Counsels of all the concerned organizations with a view to resolving this issue.

At the same time, the Committee:

  • Reaffirmed that political or budgetary considerations should not be the overriding considerations of the UN system policy in determining means of transport used by UN  system organizations; and
  • Recognized that the issue of ensuring the security of national staff was far more complex, going beyond lack of provisions under MORSS, and therefore requested that the CEB secretariat, in collaboration with DSS, pursue consultations on the development of a methodology to better determine threats and means of response for enhancing the safety of national staff.