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Humanitarian Security in an Age of Uncertainty: the intersection of digital and physical risks.

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Published:
15 January 2024
Region:
Global
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Humanitarian Security in an Age of Uncertainty: the intersection of digital and physical risks.

GISF is launching a new research project on the topic of security in a digital world, aiming to explore the ways in which security risk management (SRM) in the aid sector is changing in response to the opportunities and risks stemming from the evolving digital world.  

As part of the project, this article ‘sets the scene’, looking at the (a) external threats in the digital world, (b)internal vulnerabilities in the digital world, and (c) the application of the NGO security risk management triangle in the digital world.  

The article aims to: 

  • Set the scene for other projects as part of security in a digital world by highlighting some of the key issues that aid organisations face concerning this topic that future projects can further investigate. 
  •  Identify overall geopolitical trends, note the relationship of these trends with digitalisation and technological innovation, and discuss what this means for how NGOs need to manage the safety and security of their staff and projects. 
  • Discuss practical ways in which these trends could change the ways in which NGO security advisors need to think about security risk management now and in the future. 
  • Propose practical and tangible recommendations for those working on security risk management and in the aid sector to address these issues.  

While the article raises critical issues and questions, and proposes some practical recommendations for NGO security advisors’ work, this article does not touch on all matters around digitalisation and technological developments in-depth, but rather provides a bird’s-eye view of trends NGO security advisors must consider and prepare for; for example, NGOs potentially being increasingly affected by misinformation and disinformation. 

Related:

Securing aid worker safety through effective budgeting

In this article for the Crisis Response Journal, Aisling Sweeney, GISF's Communications Officer, puts forward the case for remodelling funding processes for humanitarian security risk management.