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GISF Spring Forum, Ottawa

This page is for confirmed participants only - please do not distribute this link or content further.

Confirmed participants will receive an e-mail containing final event information closer to the date. Details are also available below.

Dear Participants,

We are only a couple days away from GISF’s Spring Ottawa Forum! You can find the most up-to-date forum information on this page, including the Forum agenda, and participant information packet. As a reminder the forum will be held at the offices of Nutrition International on 23 and 24 March.  Please note that Nutrition International visitors are currently required to wear masks in the building. This may be subject to change.

U.S. President Biden will be visiting Ottawa on the same days of the forum, and traffic is anticipated to be heavy alongside roadblocks and potential protests. Please plan your travel accordingly. 

Immediately following the end of day one of the forum, we will be hosting a social, this will take place just a few meters away from the venue at Lord Elgin Hotel ​​​​​​​, in the Mackenzie room at 5:30pm ET.  For day-two, we recommend  bringing a preferred electronic device (laptop/smart phone) for our session with Conductrr. This is not required, but may enable a further immersed experience with the platform.

Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this event, or if you need to make any changes to your confirmed registration. Finally, we will be taking photographs during the forum. If you do not want to be featured, please let a member of the team know in advance.

Best wishes,

GISF Americas Spring Forum, Ottawa
180 Elgin Street, Suite 800, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K2P 2K3

23 March, Day 1: Forum doors open – 10:15am
24 March, Day 2: Forum doors open – 8:15am

Confirmed participant information home page.

This forum will be held under Chatham House Rule.​​​​​​​


GISF Americas Spring Forum, Ottawa  

Nutrition International – 180 Elgin Street, Suite 1000, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K2P 2K3.  

23 March, Day 1: Forum doors open – 10:15am 

24 March, Day 2: Forum doors open – 8:15am 

Please note that Nutrition International visitors are currently required to wear masks in the building. This may be subject to change. 

Click here to access the event’s agenda. 

Confirmed participant information home page. 

Click here to access logistics information pack. 

Contact Tara Arthur for questions: gisf-americas@gisf.ngo

*Timings and agenda subject to change*

We are pleased to welcome you to GISF’s Spring Forum, taking place in Ottawa, Canada on 23 and 24 March 2023, in person.  

Click here to access the information pack.

Click here to access the event’s agenda.

The GISF Forum is designed to provide an opportunity for GISF Members and invited guests to learn from one another and engage in deeper discussion and learnings on critical topics related to humanitarian security risk management. 

GISF’s Americas Spring Forum will focus on crisis management. Alongside our standing member-only case study, the GISF Secretariat update, and the member’s Q&A, planned sessions include:

  • Case study: A senior national staff targeted by the Pegasus spyware in the MENA region – This is a case study about a Human Rights Watch (HRW) staff member in the MENA region who was targeted by the Pegasus spyware. This is an infosec incident, not a physical security one, highlighting our different threat profiles and the need to beef up our infrastructure to prevent, prepare for, and respond to these types of infosec risks. The person involved in the incident will provide an account from the perspective of the targeted individual.
  • NGO SRM and governance/organisational models – While SRM governance models can differ depending on the size of the organisation, the complexity of programs, the maturity of the risk management approach, and the staffing structure, Senior Leadership Teams (SLTs) must recognise that SRM needs to be situated in a way that allows for programmatic objectives and mission statements to be achieved.There is no one-size-fits-all proposition here, but overall, these governance/organisational structures should provide a framework for developing an SRM approach that reflects the organisational needs and can evolve along with the organisation’s growth trajectory.Overall, the concept behind this session will be to debate the pros and cons of the different organisational models (Chief Security Officers, Risk, Compliance and Audits, Directors of operations reporting OPS/HR etc.), learn from each other, recognise failures, and highlight successes, and ultimately discuss how we can elevate SRM among senior organisational leadership and have it recognised as a business risk playing a positive and constructive role in organisational growth.
  • Context session on Colombia – This session will explore Colombia’s historical and geopolitical underpinnings. The current operational challenges, including a look at the role of Venezuela, as well as the key security risk management considerations facing the development and humanitarian sector will also be considered.
  • Fit for purpose HEAT Trainings – ‘The evolving complexity of risk, duty of care expectations from staff, families, donors, and governments, combined with escalations in natural disasters, crime, social instability, hostile government targeting and terrorism, all underpin the increasing importance of preparing people to face fast-moving and high-threat personal risks.’ This session will be debating the pros and cons of the different approaches in HEAT trainings, looking into the below parameters.
    • Content: What competencies are required? What associated knowledge and skills need to be taught, exercised, and tested within a program of instruction.
    • Delivery: What methodology is used to deliver knowledge? This might include classroom-based teaching, tabletop exercises, discussion groups, practical sessions/exercising, e-learning, or video games.
    • Duration: How much time is required to adequately teach, exercise, and test the knowledge and skills being delivered?
    • Intensity: How realistic and immersive does the learning experience need to be, and what resources are required to produce the necessary outcomes?
    • Testing: Is the course a pass or fail experience? What are the testing criteria, and what are the implications for the individual and organisation if they fail?
    • Frequency: What is the optimal learning cycle for training and refresher training?
  • Triple Nexus and SRM – Triple Nexus refers to the interlinkages between emergency relief, international development, and peacebuilding. The Nexus continues long-running efforts to link humanitarian and development actions to peace efforts building long-term resilience.

    In fragile settings where the Nexus approaches are employed, an integrated approach bringing together all humanitarian, development, and peace actors should be implemented to ensure delivery of independent, neutral, and impartial assistance to affected populations while ensuring the safety and security of aid workers.

    This session will explore the challenges and opportunities that the Triple Nexus programming poses for Security Risk Management among implementing partners. Case studies from DR Congo and Ethiopia will be used to highlight some of the practical concerns and help us identify solutions.
  • Future of Crisis Management and Organisational Resilience – Recent years have been characterised by an ever-greater sense of flux and uncertainty, as organisations lurch from one unprecedented event to another. With the threat landscape growing in complexity and as organisations grapple with a series of critical events, what does the future hold for crisis management and organisational resilience in the age of the ‘permacrisis’? For this ‘in conversation’ session we will hear reflections from leading crisis management experts and consider how sufficiently prepared organisations are to manage and respond to more frequent and more complex eventsIn this session we will consider if existing crisis management structures and approaches remain fit for purpose, the emerging trends in crisis management practice, and what shocks may be looming around the corner. 
  • Standards in Crisis Management – In October 2022, the International Standards Organisation (ISO) published its first ever crisis management standard (ISO 22361:2022, Security and resilience – Crisis management – Guidelines). As with other ISO governance documents, 22361:2022 outlines a framework for crisis management and provides guidance ‘to help organisations plan, establish, maintain, review and continually improve strategic crisis management capability’. This session will provide an overview of the new standard and an opportunity to consider the role of standards in leveraging greater focus on crisis management preparedness, leadership and capability within organisations.
  • Crisis Management Group Work – Building on the previous session, participants will work in four groups to discuss and debate the following core topics.
    • Building capability – establishing the right structures – CMT/IMTs
    • Enhancing leadership & decision-making
    • Developing competence – CMEs, simulations, and trainings
    • Learning from incidents – post-incident investigations and AARs
  • Presentation of the GISF/OSAC tabletop Crisis Management Tabletop Exercise Manual – Initial ideas for an NGO peer exchange programme for crisis management exercises emerged in November 2021, following a conversation between members of the OASC, IDSC Steering Committee (SC) about the challenges of running regular crisis management exercises within their respective organisations. IDCS and GISF partnered to develop this manual to support NGOs in facilitating crisis management exercises as part of the initiative. The manual can be used informally between peer organisations, as well as for in house tabletop activities.
  • New GISF Digital Crisis Management Simulation Hub – The GISF Exercise Platform (GEP) is an exciting addition to the GISF offering to members delivering a consistency of understanding and crisis exercising across the world. It allows any registered member to run a GISF-approved exercise whenever they wish, free of charge to the member.
    The GEP will be fully hosted and supported by Conducttr except for the need for GISF to add and remove members. During this session, participants will take a sneak peek of the GEP and interact with this new tool ahead of the official launching in April 2023.

Location: Nutrition International Offices – 180 Elgin Street, Suite 1000, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K2P 2K3 

Dates: Thursday 23 and Friday 24 March 2023

Times (ET):
Day one: 10:15 – 17:30 (Social to follow)
Day two: 08:15 – 17:30

*Sessions posted may be subject to changes, please check back for updates.*

Click here to view the participant information packet