Background

At its 16th session, the IASMN approved five UNSMS policies:

  • Arrest and Detention – The policy is premised on the understanding that the arrest and detention of UN personnel is a legal rather than a security issue. HLCM was assured that DSS would still continue to track arrests and detentions and include this in its annual report on the Safety and Security of United Nations and Associated Personnel.
  • Close Protection – The policy reflects a previous policy that had been put in place in 2008, with minor modifications.
  • Hostages Incident Management - The policy, which was already in the Field Security Handbook, reaffirms DSS management of hostage incidents which is critical. There was a need to articulate that DSS takes control in hostage situations, while working with the AFPs.
  • Relations with Host Country on Security - The policy, which also applies to HQ locations as well as field locations and allows for those differences, serves to reaffirm the notion that the UN operates in a host country and is meant to ensure that while it may not be possible to hold host countries accountable, the host country nevertheless understands its obligations to the UN.
  • Fire Safety Policy – The UNSMS has an existing remit for aviation, road and fire safety and until now the UN system had never had in place a uniform fire safety policy. Fire safety concerns cover large installations to the smallest offices in the field and while the policy has some cost implications, the safety of personnel is an overwhelming priority.

These were presented to the HLCM for endorsement.

Discussion

HLCM was supportive of the work of IASMN and its initiatives, including the fire safety policy and the road safety policy. However, the Committee indicated the need for better system-wide communication to staff on these topics. With respect to concerns raised on host country relations when it comes to security, the Committee recognized that the capacity of host countries to protect varies significantly. There is a universal need for a dialogue with relevant parts of host governments. This need does not only apply to programme countries only, but also to Headquarters duty stations. Such discussions would also benefit from including items such as fire safety etc.

Action

The Committee endorsed the following policies approved by the IASMN at its 16th session for inclusion in the United Nations Security Management System Security Policy Manual and promulgation within the UN Security Management System: Arrest and Detention, Close Protection, Hostages Incident Management, Relations with the Host Country on Security and Fire Safety.