CEB has emphasized the need to concretize the discussions and deliberations on the United Nations system’s ability to protect its staff — national, international and non-staff personnel — with the lessons learned from the earthquake in Haiti. Furthermore, it has stressed the need to adequately compensate staff and/or their families in the event of service-incurred injuries, illness or death, resulting from both malicious acts and natural events.

A key lesson emerging from the tragic experience in Haiti is that policies should be in place to deal with emergency situations, ranging from human resources and capacity-building to the procurement, logistics, travel, communications and financial areas. At present, the Secretariat does not have arrangements in place to ensure systemic emergency preparedness and support either for those who perish, are injured or otherwise affected by such emergencies, or for their families. An emergency response team would be needed to deal with these kinds of situations, and the Secretary-General has proposed that a dedicated emergency preparedness and support unit be established in the Office of the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management. This unit would work closely with the Secretariat departments and United Nations agencies, funds and programmes that provide direct and immediate support on the ground and at Headquarters.