Over the past 10-15 years, the operational environment of NGOs has become increasingly dangerous. Serious incidents – killings, kidnappings, or attacks that cause serious injuries – are on the rise as are politically-motivated attacks against humanitarian workers.
InterAction has been concerned about this trend and established a Security Unit to help members develop appropriate responses. Initiatives addressing security concerns have included a Security Management Training Course, which was developed with RedR and OFDA. InterAction has also developed Minimum Operating Security Standards (MOSS), and Security Standards for National Staff, and worked in partnership with UN Saving Lives Together. InterAction’s Security Advisory Group (SAG) helped establish the International NGO Safety and Security Association (INSSA), which is intended to be a membership body for security professionals. The Security Unit also holds ad hoc meetings on developing security trends in countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Yemen and Haiti.
Systematic approaches to risk management have been developed and those systems have become the industry standard, which many of InterAction’s members follow. However, many NGOs still do not have security management systems and this will be a priority in the coming years for InterAction’s security team.