During the reporting period, there was a major achievement with regard to the security and safety of staff. As of 1 January 2011 the Security Phase System was replaced by an improved Security Level System. The launch of the Security Level System resulted from the effort led by the High-level Committee on Management, in close coordination with the United Nations Department of Safety and Security, to redesign the United Nations Security Management System.

The new Security Level System is a process that allows for the identification and categorization of the threats that the United Nations faces, facilitates a comparative analysis of threats across the board, and provides for greater granularity and transparency. The System is only one part of the security risk management process. The development of a framework for determining programme criticality within the guidelines for acceptable risk is an additional effort currently undertaken under the aegis of the High-level Committee on Management through a high-level working group led by UNICEF with the contribution of all United Nations entities with large field operations.

The programme criticality framework represents the last element of the guidelines for acceptable risk, one of the improvements meant to respond to the complex and shifting security challenges faced by United Nations staff by reorienting security thinking from “when to leave” to “how to stay”. The new framework would help to ensure that the programmes and personnel that remain in high-risk situations work on the highest priority functions and programmes, in accordance with the strategic objectives of the United Nations system as defined by Member States. The draft programme criticality framework was completed in March 2011 and will be subject to field testing beginning May 2011.

The High-level Committee on Management also endorsed new or revised policies and/or guidance developed by the Inter-agency Security Management Network as necessary complements to the changes in the system-wide approach to security. They include: new sections of the Field Security Handbook on the United Nations policy regarding security management system applicability; new certification standards for close protection officers; the policy on use of force for United Nations security officials in the security management system; and the new policy on security clearance procedures and the travel request information processes for implementation on 1 January 2012.