Staff Security Unit


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 Staff Security Unit (SSU) is IOM's focal point within the UNSMS. SSU 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.


The Staff Security Unit (SSU) is responsible for providing leadership on safety and security policy management and operational support to enable the safest and most effective implementation of IOM programs and activities.


Our vision is that of a world where IOM staff, offices and resources are safe and secured, thus enabling and enhancing the ability of IOM’s program delivery in the protection and well-being of migrants.

This vision will be achieved through the implementation of "effective staff and security risk management."

Global Support Services

The Staff Security Unit provides the following global services within IOM:

Regional Field Support Services

SSU has established Regional Security offices to ensure a more focused and active support to IOM Country Offices. These SSU Regional offices are managed by Regional Field Security Officers (RFSOs). Under the technical supervision of the Global Head of SSU, 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, SSU RFSOs are based in Bangkok, Cairo, Nairobi, Dakar, Panama City and Geneva. 

Policy Development and Advisory

With the Staff Security Unit as IOM’s focal point within the UNSMS, SSU’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.

SSU has in-house capacity to provide UN-certified security trainings such as the following:

  • Safe and Secure Approaches in Field Environments (SSAFE)
  • Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK) Training
  • Women’s Security Awareness Training (WSAT)

SSU 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 Global Head of SSU.

  • Global Staff Security Unit 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, SSU Headquarters undertook a strategic review of its global operational capacity and capabilities. To further improve SSU’s support to beneficiaries, IOM, programs, staff and assets, the Secu

rity 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, SSU 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 Minimum Operating Security Standards (MOSS) and Residential Security Measures (RSM) is met.

Air Safety

SSU is also a firm advocate in promoting aviation safety. IOM SSU 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 [number of HIM certified] certified hostage incident managers that can be quickly deployed to be part of the UN Hostage Incident Management Team, as required.

Surge Capacity/Response

IOM has a total of 6 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, SSU Headquarters initiated 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 SSU Global Operations Center team to extend immediate assistance and timely advisories to staff members who are affected during a disaster.