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Published: May 23, 2014

“Saving Lives Together”: a review of existing NGO and United Nations security coordination practices in the field

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“Saving Lives Together”: A Review of existing NGO and United Nations Security Coordination Practices in the Field is a new report by the SLT framework that presents findings highlighting a range of practical experiences, successes, challenges and good practice of security coordination efforts.

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.

The review identifies five recommendations for the enhancement of security coordination:

  1. Develop a more effective communication strategy and re-publicise the SLT framework as the benchmark for successful NGO-UN security coordination in the field.
  2. Continue to encourage the development of NGO security coordination mechanisms and platforms.
  3. Develop greater accountability and transparency for the SLT framework
  4. Develop and implement a common NGO training strategy for the SLT framework.
  5. Enable and encourage information-sharing beyond the SLT framework, especially with implementing partners and NNGO.

We can conclude from the report that, the majority of interviewees were in agreement that security collaboration in the field requires mutual trust and confidence between parties, awareness and commitment to the process, and an understanding that such mechanisms are context-specific […] With increasing reliance on security coordination in the field, interested actors need to build upon improved risk management procedures and the benefits that a range of context-specific informal and formal coordination structures can bring, to enable all actors to communicate effectively. This capacity should be strengthened and developed with policies, procedures and regular security training for all in the field.

“Saving Lives Together”: A Review of existing NGO and United Nations Security Coordination Practices in the Field was written for the Saving Lives Together Oversight Committee by Anna Wansbrough-Jones and Mike Dixon.


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