In recent years, most humanitarian organisations have established a strong online presence, using social media platforms for information sharing, awareness-raising, and civil mobilisation. Until recently, however, the use of e-tools for programming purposes has been of a fairly ad hoc, reactive nature. There are growing concerns in the humanitarian sector about the security procedures, or lack thereof, accompanying the use of communications technology and open source platforms for aid delivery.
GISF and the Humanitarian Futures Programme are pleased to invite you to a discussion on the key findings of our recent report The Future of Humanitarian Security in Fragile Contexts: An analysis of transformational factors affecting humanitarian action.
Former UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has recently stated Syria is ‘going to be a failed state, with warlords all over the place’, asserting the country will soon ‘become another Somalia’. Syria entered the top five most violent aid contexts in 2012, yet the 2013 Aid Worker Security Report (AWSR) claimed it remained to be seen whether the country would follow Afghanistan and Somalia, ‘where aid workers are used as proxy targets in … warfare’. Brahimi’s predictions provide an opportunity to briefly evaluate the current state of insecurity in the country, and its implications for humanitarian operations and security risk management.
La nouvelle publication de l'GISF, Genre et Sécurité : Orientations pour l’intégration du genre à la gestion des risques de sécurité, propose aux ONG des lignes directrices complémentaires pour intégrer la dimension genre à la gestion des risques de sécurité, afin de combler un vide dans les publications existantes et d’émettre des recommandations vitales au niveau opérationnel.
“Saving Lives Together”: a review of existing NGO and United Nations security coordination practices in the field
The Saving Lives Together (SLT) is a framework for improving security arrangements among IGOs, NGOS and the UN in the field and was launched by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Task Force on Collaborative Approaches to Security in 2006. The Menu of Options, developed in 2001 by the UN Inter-Agency standing Committee (IASC) and the Office of the UN Security Coordinator, was the first step to formalising security coordination between INGOs and the UN. The report reviews the existing NGO and UN security coordination mechanisms and practices in the field, and is based on two online surveys that were shared through the GISF network, as well as interviews of international and national staff of a variety of NGOs and staff members of the UN in eight countries.
Communications technology and humanitarian delivery: challenges and opportunities for security risk management
The European Inter Agency Security Forum (GISF) is pleased to announce a new publication presenting discussion papers which will look at how communications technology is creating new security risk management challenges and opportunities for agencies working in humanitarian response. The publication will present information on current technologies and their use in security risk management; explore the impact on security of both humanitarian actors and affected communities; analyse the ways in which technologies are influencing how humanitarians operate and their security; and generate debate on how communications technology can contribute to risk management.
In the late 1990s, InterAction, along with RedR and USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), developed a curriculum and course materials for safety and security training. These materials quickly became the basis of NGO security training. However, it has been over 16 years since then and some of the course materials are outdated. With funding from USAID/OFDA, InterAction in partnership with the European Interagency Security Forum (GISF) undertook a project in 2013 to update existing curriculum and course materials, as well as to address gaps in current NGO security practices. This report is the product of that project.
There are a combination of factors peculiar to humanitarian negotiations with armed non-state actors (ANSAs). Talks often take place in extreme, high-stake environments with little common negotiating culture between parties. In addition, staff need to negotiate in practice what is not negotiable in principle under both organisational and legal frameworks, which are far-removed from reality on the ground (a recent HPG Policy brief described how ‘senior managers are often unaware of how ground-level staff obtain access’). Aid workers are often negotiating from a position of relative weakness – little leverage and few alternative negotiating tables present themselves, and there is a strong possibility of second-best options being the only achievement. Are organisations and their staff members ready and equipped with the necessary tools for these types of complex negotiations?
The Future of Humanitarian Security in Fragile Contexts: An analysis of transformational factors affecting humanitarian action in the coming decade stems from a recognition that the humanitarian landscape has changed dramatically in the past decade.
Amid convulsive politics, the northeast of Nigeria has reached a critical security situation yet once again. Communal violence is adding to the growing humanitarian response gap, with Boko Haram not the only threat to the country’s security. Last weekend alone, at least 100 people were killed and 2,000 were displaced after 40 gunmen stormed villages in central northern Kaduna state. Despite Nigeria’s booming economy, inequality is rampant in the country, and the deteriorating security situation in northern states may further destabilise a country of 170 million that seems to be struggling to stay united. How the government deals with the ever-growing Islamist threat, inter-communal violence, and their humanitarian consequences will be important factors in determining the outcome of 2015 elections.