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Our journey: from EISF to GISF

Beginning as the European Interagency Security Forum (EISF) in 2006, we evolved to the Global Interagency Security Forum (GISF) in 2020, and became an independent organisation in 2024.

The 1990s

In the 1990s, the number of security incidents involving humanitarian workers saw a notable rise. In some of the most dangerous parts of the world, they were increasingly being targeted and kidnapped, injured or killed. In the face of this new challenge, it became clear that being impartial and delivering a good programme of aid – which had previously afforded some protection – was no longer enough.

The 2000s

In the 2000s, many organisations began to recognise the importance of security risk management and created new roles dedicated to this vital area of work.

However, the security risk management professionals that were hired often worked in isolation within their organisations and from their peers.

To address this, a group of security managers came together in 2006 to share information and support each other. This informal alliance evolved into the European Interagency Security Forum (EISF).

“As an original member myself, I needed a group of colleagues and peers to share ideas with, get feedback and advice from, and to discuss difficult, confidential and sensitive topics. The relationships, trust and network that developed through EISF made me a more effective Security Risk Management Adviser and advocate in my own organisation.” Heather Hughes, GISF Deputy Director

With a strategic, inclusive and collaborative focus, the forum created a centre of excellence for security risk management in the humanitarian sector, facilitating a peer-to-peer network, building capacity for security risk management, and providing a voice for practitioners.

The 2010s

As the forum evolved, it began to also work with the UN, consultants, the private sector, military, government and academics to facilitate cross-learning. It engaged with non-security professionals in the humanitarian sector to ensure that the work remains relevant to the sector as a whole and that the management of security risks remains proactive and not just reactive. This network of expertise ensures the forum’s research papers, guides and tools are based in reality and useful to practitioners.

growing number of development and human rights focused organisations also became members as more and more organisations began to understand how crucial the management of security risk is to effective and sustainable programme delivery.

In 2019, in response to growing interest around the world, the European Interagency Security Forum became the Global Interagency Security Forum (GISF), with a formal re-launch in April 2020.


In 2024, GISF reached another milestone, becoming an independent organisation for the first time, having previously been hosted by INGOs, such as Christian Aid and Mines Advisory Group.

Today, we welcome member organisations all around the world. Their different perspectives, expertise and resources make our core activities, such as original research, training courses, workshops and knowledge-sharing, more impactful than ever.

As a result, organisations can build their security risk management on an even stronger foundation to keep more aid workers safe and enable sustainable access to communities in need.

Join us on our journey towards an ever-more collaborative, innovative and inclusive GISF.

Next: Our Members

Explore our network of over 130 humanitarian organisations, from the IRC to the DRC.

GISF members