In the face of a rapidly changing world and rising global vulnerability, the United Nations system needs to have in place the most flexible and efficient management systems possible to continue to deliver on its mandates. CEB, through its High-level Committee on Management, has therefore, during the reporting period, continued its work to develop a more effective United Nations security management system in the context of serious emerging challenges to security and safety. The Committee conducted a comprehensive review of safety and security procedures applicable to international staff, national staff and non-staff personnel in order to identify best practices and compare the Organization’s procedures with those of other international institutions. Information brochures on security-related entitlements and benefits were completed for all categories of staff and distributed to CEB member organizations in December 2009. A rapid response team mechanism to support country offices in the event of a crisis was also approved. This team will consist of administrative personnel who will be deployed to help United Nations staff members and their families understand entitlements and process claims.

In early 2009, CEB issued a statement on the safety and security of United Nations system staff which endorsed the shift in culture and mindset from a “when to leave” to a “how to stay” approach and set out the actions which the Board would take with regard to staff safety and security. In addition, an Executive Group on Security was set up to support the rapid response capacity of the Department of Safety and Security.

The Committee also approved the revised Field Security Handbook and a revised framework for accountability for the security management system, which is instrumental in supporting both the decision-making process for senior managers and the change to a culture of managerial responsibility. Another cornerstone of the United Nations security management system is the new Security Risk Management model, which includes the assessment of programme criticality to allow for assessment of risks and weighing them against programmatic needs. The new model focuses on risk analysis as opposed to risk avoidance.

Another critical element in this area was the adoption by CEB of a new Security Level System, in which country- and area-based security and mitigating measures are determined on the basis of a multilevel security risk assessment. The new system, which provides a sound method for rating threats, fosters collaboration at all levels to determine appropriate mitigating measures and promotes transparency and consultation with host Governments. Pilot testing was very successful, and the new system was welcomed by security experts at all levels. Full implementation of the Security Level System is scheduled to commence on 1 January 2011.