In 2008 the Independent Panel on Safety and Security of UN Personnel and Premises Worldwide, led by Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, reviewed the safety conditions of UN system staff operating in challenging security environments. A priority recommendation of the Panel was the redesign of the Security Phase System which exposed security decisions to political pressure from host countries and limited the flexibility of country managers by imposing administrative and financial decisions.
The CEB established an HLCM Steering Committee on Safety and Security to support the implementation of the Independent Panel’s recommendations by shifting the security management culture from a ‘when to leave’ policy toward a new approach of ‘how to stay’. The Steering Committee, in cooperation with the Inter-Agency Security Management Network and the Department of Safety and Security, was tasked with proposing action plans on:
Prioritizing staff safety and security;
Promoting a culture of security with the UN system;
Integrating staff safety and security as an essential institutional managerial responsibility.
The HLCM Steering Committee, chaired by former Under-Secretary-General, UN/Department of Field Support, Ms. Susanna Malcorra, made recommendations on changes to the Security Phase System. The Committee championed the need for a strong, dynamic and proactive security and risk management structure to better protect UN staff while allowing critical programme operations to continue in insecure and unstable environments. This led to the design of the new Security Level System, which was launched on 1 January 2011, and a framework to define Programme Criticality, as well as to the implementation of a series of tools and mechanisms to better operatate under the CEB principle of "how to stay".
The Programme Criticality Framework is a mandatory component of the UN Security Management System (UNSMS) which is used to determine the criticality of all activities carried out by UN personnel in environments of heightened security risk.
The Executive Group on Security was established by the Chief Executives Board to facilitate the rapid decision making capacity of the Under-Secretary General for Safety and Security when an impasse, exigencies or life and limb are at stake preventing the ability of the Designated Official or the Security Management Team to address developing or critical events that require a timely security decision.
A new Security Level System was developed to assess risk through a structured process based on threats (deliberate human causes) and hazards(harmful natural or man-made accidental events) which are examined and weighted to arrive at an appropriate security level.
The Inter-Agency Security Management Network (IASMN) meets twice a year to review existing and proposed policies and resources related to the UN security management system and makes recommendations on these to the High Level Committee on Management.