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Saving Lives Together (SLT): FAQs

Saving Lives Together (SLT) is an initiative to enhance security collaboration between the UN Security Management System (UNSMS), International Non-governmental Organisations (INGOs) and International Organisations (IOs). It recognises the existence of collectively experienced security threats and the importance of collaboration to support the safe delivery of humanitarian and development assistance.

The primary objective of SLT is to enhance the ability of partner organisations to make informed decisions based on shared information and knowledge. This is intended to empower counterpart organisations to better manage risks and implement effective security arrangements to enable the delivery of assistance, improve the security of humanitarian personnel and support continuity of operations. As such, SLT should be viewed as a tool to support existing activities in partner organisations rather than a substitute for in-house analysis and security risk management.

To engage with SLT, organisations must commit to the adoption and effective implementation of the principles, objectives and arrangements in the SLT Framework.

It is important to remember that SLT is a partnership, not a service provided by UNDSS. To this end, SLT counterpart organisations commit to:

  • Establish security collaboration arrangements
  • Share relevant security information
  • Cooperate on security training
  • Cooperate on security operation and logistics arrangements, where feasible
  • Identify resource requirements for enhancing security coordination between the UN, INGOS, and IOs
  • Consult on common ground rules for humanitarian action


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the tangible benefits of SLT?

At a local level, this changes from country to country but the primary benefit is greater information sharing on security issues across INGOs, IOs and the UN agencies, it also provides access to UN Safe and Secure Approaches in Field Environments (SSAFE) trainings and other collaboration opportunities. SLT counterparts at a global level receive daily updates, access to a common online platform, as well as access to UNDSS security training. It does not include the UN providing guarantees or taking responsibility for the evacuation or relocation of INGO or IO personnel. 

What does my organisation have to do to become a counterpart of SLT at a global level?

You must be an international non-governmental organization or International Organisation (IO) to be an SLT counterpart, as well as being an implementing or operating partner of the UN. If you are interested, you can contact UNDSS or UN OCHA directly and ask to be included. For more information on what this means for an INGO contact GISF or InterAction.

UNDSS offer an exchange of Letters of Understanding between UNDSS HQ and the HQ of the respective INGO or IO. At this time the LoU offers no additional benefits to the organisation than the agreement to be included as an SLT global counterpart.

Does my organisation have to be a global SLT counterpart to participate at country level?

No. Who can be part of SLT at country level is determined at country level (details are included in the SLT implementation guidelines).

How is SLT with the UN organized at country level?

If there is an NGO coordination mechanism in place, whether formal or informal, security specific or more general, this is the preferred approach for implementing SLT objectives. A coordination agreement between UNDSS and an NGO forum does not preclude Individual organizations from establishing their own relationship, if both sides agree.  

What does my organisation have to do to become a member of SLT at a country level?

Who can be part of SLT at country level is determined at country level. If you are a UN implementing or operational partner you are eligible to become a member of SLT. To participate at country level, you should contact UNDSS in country and ask for details on how to engage.

You do not need to be an SLT global counterpart to engage at country level. If there are any issues please contact a member of the SLT working group, e.g. GISF or InterAction.

Can national staff from an INGO engage with UNDSS and SLT?

Yes, but they must be authorised by their organisation to represent it.

If my organisation is an SLT counterpart will the UN guarantee safe haven and / or evacuation in case of an emergency?

The UN does not provide guarantees and takes no responsibility for the evacuation or relocation of INGO or IO personnel. 

However, if you are an SLT counterpart at a country level and are part of the information sharing partnership there are greater opportunities for you to discuss shared concerns and you may be asked to provide staff and location details for the UN to consider in their contingency planning.

The United Nations regularly evacuates INGO personnel. UN vehicles, UN peacekeeping and WFP aircraft are made available for the transport of INGO and IO personnel when feasible, including for medical evacuations. INGO and IO personnel will be required to sign a liability waiver when using UN vehicles or aircraft. INGOs and IOs may be required to cover costs when UN services are utilised.

If my organisation becomes an SLT counterpart organisation must we defer to UNDSS on matters of acceptable risk and assessments of threat and vulnerability?

No. SLT is designed to enhance and complement the security risk management systems of SLT partner organisations, not substitute these systems and their related arrangements.

As an SLT counterpart, will the UN be responsible for INGO or IO personnel and security risk management measures?

No. The UN, INGOs and IOs maintain full responsibility for their own organisation’s personnel and security arrangements. 

Does UNDSS conduct security risk assessments for INGO and IOs?

UNDSS may share existing assessments partially or fully with INGOs and IOs, but UNDSS security professionals will not conduct assessments specifically for INGOs or IOs as part of SLT. 

Does UNDSS conduct assessments compounds for INGOs and IOs?

UNDSS may, when feasible, conduct compound assessments for INGOs and IOs. Such assessments will be on an informal basis. UNDSS assessments can only measure the compliance of the INGO/IO compound with UN security standards and arrangements.

My organisation is a member of GISF (and/or InterAction) but I have questions or find it difficult to engage with UNDSS in the field, what should I do?

Direct any queries or concerns to either eisf-director@eisf.helpful.ws or jschopp@INTERACTION.ORG.

Are there any financial obligations related to security collaboration under the SLT framework?

No. There are no fees or contributions for participation in SLT. SLT partner organizations are expected to cover their costs related to the regular implementation of SLT: including staff hours, communications costs, transport and accommodation for the attendance at meetings or events. 

Are there costs associated if an SLT partner organization provides assistance to another SLT partner?

In case an SLT partner organization provides logistical and/or medical support to the personnel of another SLT partner, the supplying organization may request the related costs to be reimbursed. 

Reimbursement of costs may also be required for participation in security training events, this should be determined at the time of booking with the training provider.  

What is the SLT Oversight Committee (SLT OC) and who are the members?

The SLT Oversight Committee meets annually and focuses on supporting the effective implementation of the SLT framework through leadership and guidance. The annual meetings and SLT OC membership are coordinated with, where appropriate, the global UN Security Management Team (SMT). The committee is comprised of representatives from: UNDSS, OCHA, WFP, UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF, GISF, ICVA, InterAction, and SCHR. It is co-chaired by an NGO Representative and UNDSS.

The SLT OC is supported by an SLT working group, which meets once a month to discuss the operational aspects of the implementation of the SLT framework. The working group is comprised of representatives from: UNDSS, OCHA, InterAction, GISF and ICVA. SLT counterparts are encouraged to submit feedback or concerns on implementation to ensure it is being done in accordance with the framework. Feedback can be provided through any member of the SLT OC, for example eisf-director@eisf.helpful.ws orjschopp@INTERACTION.ORG.

The contacts for SLT in the UN are: Lloyd Cederstand of OCHA at cederstrand@un.organd Joachim Schmitz of UNDSS at schmitzj@un.org


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