There is no standard model for inter-agency security collaboration; mechanisms exist in many different forms. Mechanisms range from small groups of interested NGO security staff sharing security information informally via Skype or WhatsApp, to hosted or stand-alone structures which have dedicated staffing, enabling them to provide a broad range of security services to the NGO community including security information, analysis, technical assistance and training.
Although collaboration mechanisms have diverse structures providing different services and activities, the majority can be categorised into one of five broad models:
- Peer-to-Peer Security Groups
- Interagency Security Networks
- Security Consortiums or Partnerships
- NGO-Managed Security Forums
- NGO Security Platforms
While some mechanisms have been very successful in certain contexts, similar approaches tried elsewhere have been less effective. Therefore any mechanism will need to be adapted to the operational context, specific security needs of the NGOs on the ground, and available resources. The different security collaboration models are examined in the table below.
|Peer-to-Peer Security Group||Inter-agency Security Network||Security Consortium/ Partnership||NGO-managed Security Forum||NGO Security Platform|
A leading provider of country-level security platforms for NGOs is the International NGO Safety Organisation (INSO). INSO provides a wide range of free services to partner NGOs operating within high-risk settings, including the establishment of country-level and area-specific NGO security coordination platforms.
International NGO Safety Organisation (INSO)
- INSO country-level security platforms provide a wide range of services depending on the security context and the specific needs of the NGO community, but in general services include incident alerts and tracking, analytical reports, crisis assistance, site security reviews, staff orientations and training.
- INSO platforms are accessible to both INGOs and L/NNGOs, provided they are legally registered or constituted within the country where the platform is established, and they adhere to INSO’s Code of Conduct. INSO also assists NGOs in security coordination with the UN agencies under the Saving Lives Together Framework.
- INSO platforms are usually established at the request of NGOs operating in the country. A group of NGOs may come together, or work through an existing NGO forum, and invite INSO to undertake a scoping mission to assess the feasibility of establishing a platform within the country. However, decisions to launch INSO platforms are also subject to the availability of funding and the ability of INSO to legally register within the country.
- For all platforms, INSO establishes a voluntary Advisory Board which includes representatives from the in-country NGO community. The Advisory Board assists in determining the scope of services INSO will provide, and meets regularly to monitor the implementation of these services and INSO’s performance.