IOM has been a member of the UN Security Management System (SMS) since 1998.
In June 2013, the Director General re-asserted his commitment to staff security by leading the renewal of the IOM-UNDSS Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), indicating that IOM is a firm partner within the UNSMS. IOM’s full membership in the UNSMS was further solidified as IOM became a part of the United Nations System Organizations in 2016.
The Office of Staff Security (OSS) is IOM's focal point within the UNSMS. The OSS is responsible for providing leadership on safety and security policy management and operational support to enable the safest and most effective implementation of IOM programmes and activities.
Global Support Services
The Office of Staff Security provides the following global support services within IOM:
Regional Field Support Services
The OSS has established Regional Security offices to ensure a more focused and active support to IOM Country Offices. These OSS Regional offices are managed by Regional Field Security Officers (RFSOs). Under the technical supervision of the Director of OSS, the RFSOs assist Country Offices under their respective Regional Office in addressing staff safety and security issues, implementation of security policies and procedures, security risk management, identifying the security training needs and field security officer support, etc.
Currently, OSS RFSOs are based in Bangkok, Cairo, Dakar, Nairobi, Panama City and Geneva.
Policy Development and Advisory
With the Office of Staff Security as IOM’s focal point within the UNSMS, the OSS’s Policy Development and Advisory services include liaison with UNDSS and UNSMS member agencies and organizations on policy guidance and clarifications, policy and procedures advisory and guidance to IOM offices worldwide, ensuring that staff security context in cross-cutting issues with other departments within IOM are addressed.
Security and other specialized trainings
One of the key elements in ensuring effective staff security awareness is through security trainings. Security trainings are not only a significant tool for individual safety and security awareness but also equips and prepares IOM personnel for rapid deployments in emergencies or to high risk duty stations where certain security trainings are mandatory.
The OSS has in-house capacity to provide UN-certified security training such as the following:
- Safe and Secure Approaches in Field Environments (SSAFE)
- Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) Training
- Women’s Security Awareness Training (WSAT)
The OSS supports IOM security professionals to the following trainings below, that will allow them to enhance their skills to efficiently perform their duties and responsibilities. UNDSS conducted security trainings require nomination from the Director of the Office of Staff Security.
- Global Office of Staff Security Retreat
- UN Security Certification Programme (SCP)
- UN Safe and Secure Approaches in Field Environments (SSAFE) Training of Trainers (TOT)
- UN Hostage Incident Management (HIM) Programme
- UN Local Security Assistants (LSA) Training Programme
- UN Security Risk Management (SRM) Online Course for Security Professionals
Global Operations Center
In 2013, the OSS Headquarters undertook a strategic review of its global operational capacity and capabilities. To further improve OSS’s support to beneficiaries, IOM, programs, staff and assets, the Security Operations hub in Manila, Philippines has brought together a dedicated and globally focused team of experts with relevant safety and security backgrounds. In April 2015, the expansion of the Global Operations Center, resulted to the establishment of a Security Information Operations Cell and a fully functioning 24/7 Communications Center.
Security Related Services within Procurement and Finance
At the early stages of program development, the OSS assists Field Offices and IOM Missions in safety and security management by providing technical advise during the procurement planning which may affect IOM staff, assets and operations.
A funding resource mechanism is also in place to ensure that safety and security measures for IOM, programs, staff are addressed and that continuing compliance to the Security Risk Management Measures (SRMM) and Residential Security Measures (RSM) is met.
The OSS is also a firm advocate in promoting aviation safety. The IOM OSS has a designated Air Travel Focal Point and Alternate Air Travel Focal Points to provide information on commercial air travel risks that may pose as threats to IOM staff travelling by air on official travels.
Hostage Incident Management
As IOM operates more in insecure environment to deliver the Organization’s mandate, the risk of IOM personnel or their families becoming victims of hostage incident has also increased. With this, IOM actively supports the UNSMS in the implementation of the UN Security Policy on Hostage Incident Management. IOM also has 13 certified Hostage Incident Management Coordination Officers that can be quickly deployed to be part of the UN Hostage Incident Management Team, as required.
Surge Capacity and Response
IOM has a total of six Regional Field Security Officers, with international Field Security Officers and UNSMS certified security professionals. With this, IOM has the in-house capability to swiftly deploy security professionals to assist in emergencies or crisis. Deployment of security professionals is critical to any organizations or agencies’ emergency or crisis response.
Security Communications and Analysis Network (SCAAN)
With a dedicated global focus, the OSS Headquarters pioneered the development of a digital security communications system called SCAAN (Security Communications and Analysis Network) in collaboration with IOM Media and Communications Division and CENTRIC (Centre of Excellence in Terrorism, Resilience, Intelligence and Organised Crime Research Institute) at Sheffield Hallam University, South Yorkshire - United Kingdom.
SCAAN is a digital platform designed to provide efficient and effective communication and enhanced situational awareness during a crisis for IOM staff and security professionals working in the field. Its components include an operational dashboard and a mobile application that provides an overview of the current security situation and real time threat awareness coupled with a communication platform that allows Regional Field Security Officers/Security Managers and the OSS Global Operations Center team to extend immediate assistance and timely advisories to staff members who are affected during a disaster.
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