IOM Security Management System
IOM has been a member of the UN Security Management System (SMS) since 1998. The terms and responsibilities of IOM towards the UN SMS and vice versa are stated in the 2013 IOM-UNDSS Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). In accordance with this MOU, the UN is to provide the same safety and security services to IOM as provided to UN personnel, while IOM is to comply with all UNSMS safety and security policies and procedures. It is important that managers and security professionals have a copy and be conversant of this MOU.
The Office of Staff Security (OSS) is IOM's focal point within the UNSMS. The OSS is responsible for providing leadership on safety and security policy management and operational support to enable the safest and most effective implementation of IOM programmes and activities.
IOM OSS provides the following global services:
- Regional Field Support Offices
- Policy Development and Advisory Security and other specialized trainings
- Operations Centre with 24/7 Communications Centre
- Security Related Services within Procurement and Finance
- Air Safety
- Hostage Incident Management
- Surge Capacity/Response
When establishing a new office or setting up operations in an emergency area, get in touch with your relevant Regional Security Officer (RSO) as soon as possible to ensure that security requirements are coordinated and addressed on time, such as a Security Risk Assessment. For further information on Security Risk Assessment, please see Security Risk Management in Emergencies.
In case of any discrepancies or unclear safety and security policies and procedures between IOM and the UNSMS, managers and security professionals should immediately consult with OSS for clarifications. This is especially important in areas where IOM has had no earlier presence. In such situations, it could happen that the local UNDSS or even the Designated Official is not aware that IOM is a member of the UNSMS, resulting in the refusal of safety and security services, such as issuance of UN ID or invitation to the Security Management Team. If this happens, present the MOU and inform your RSO immediately.
Relevance to IOM’s Emergency Operations
It is important to understand what it means for IOM to be a member of the UNSMS as this requires us to coordinate with the UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS). This is a responsibility of all duty stations. Furthermore, knowing what you are entitled to and your security responsibilities may help you avoid delays and misinterpretations of policies and procedures and can give you and your colleagues a secure environment, especially in an emergency setting.
It is also important to be aware of the available services of OSS, especially since emergency operations, in particular, are tightly linked to safety and security. Being familiar with the services of OSS will allow you to coordinate your security requirements with the appropriate IOM security professionals as early as possible, avoiding delays in your operations.