At its April 2014 session, HLCM received a presentation on the Organizational Resilience Management System (ORMS), approved by the General Assembly as the institution’s emergency management framework.  Resolution 67/254 included a recommendation to “expand the system to the specialized agencies, funds and programmes.


The General Assembly mandated the development of the Organizational Resilience Management System, recognizing the need to clearly articulate the roles, responsibilities and relationships of the actors involved in emergency preparedness and response.

The ORMS framework resonated throughout the UN System because it set the fundamentals to enhance organizations’ ability to manage the increasingly complex operational risks they all face. It also brought the system together around the common need to improve emergency preparedness and response and operational risk management.

To further these objectives, at its last meeting HLCM decided to establish a process to draft a UN System common organizational resilience policy, associated key performance indicators, and a supporting maintenance, exercise and review regime.

The HLCM Chair congratulated the interagency working group which had produced these deliverables under very tight timelines; demonstrating, in turn, significant alignment between agencies.

The ORMS policy was introduced by United Nations Secretariat. In the discussion that followed, organizations endorsed it, together with the associated KPIs and ME&R regime, and congratulated the working group on its excellent work.

Some participants asked whether the Programme Criticality Framework could be mainstreamed into ORMS to provide visibility, promote coherence and create synergies between operational and programme response. Further clarification was requested on the scope of integrating ORMS with exercises and contingency planning for identified risks. In response, the UN Secretariat indicated that the next phase of this work was to develop the links between operational and programme response, with a view to minimizing the burden on Country Offices preparing for, preventing, responding to and recovering from crisis events. Highlighting that the Programme Criticality Framework can be used to prioritize functions and activities that must be continued during a crisis, the UN Secretariat noted that this issue will be included in the review of the linkages between operational and programme preparedness and response. The UN Department of Safety and Security reinforced the importance of the link between operational and programme preparedness and the Security Risk Assessment.

HLCM members also supported a proposal to include the development of appropriate tools and guidance as part of the future tasks of the ORMS Working Group. The UN Secretariat further clarified that all of the KPIs are compulsory, while noting that under the ORMS principle of Flexible Standardization, agencies, funds and programmes should apply the KPIs that are appropriate to their particular context. The KPIs are not only indicators of ORMS policy implementation but, when implemented, have proven to be fundamental to effective prevention, preparedness, response and recovery at all levels. The Committee agreed to report on the KPIs at the headquarters level at the next session of the HLCM.


The Committee:

  • Approved the UN System ORMS policy, its associated key performance indicators, and the supporting maintenance, exercise and review regime.
  • Requested the continuation of the ORMS Working Group as a Community of Practice to support implementation by producing applicable tools and guidance.