Training & development: a key element of our work

Providing UN system organisations with safety and security training programmes is a key element of UNDSS’ work.

Providing high quality safety and security training helps personnel and organisations to carry out their work safely and to comply with their responsibilities. This is achieved through the assessment, design, development, delivery and evaluation of standardized UN safety and security learning programmes.

As the Chair of the Inter-Agency Security Training Working Group, we promote cooperation and inter-agency standardization for safety and security learning programmes. Our aim is to maximize reach to all personnel while reducing costs and timelines for the UN system at large. As part of this effort, we established the Competency Based Learning (CBL) model as the standard for safety and security programmes.

Men and women receive training in an open field with a helicopter behind them

UNDSS Tajikistan Security Officers facilitate a drill in 2017. ©UN Photo

Security Training Global Overview

At the 33rd session of the Inter-Agency Security Management Network (IASMN) meeting in January 2021, UNDSS presented a global overview of the security training delivered to UNSMS personnel, managers with security responsibilities and security personnel.

Delivery of in-person security training was significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, but also saw a marked increase in the use of online learning methodologies to provide security training. UNDSS and the UNSMS were able to pivot smoothly towards greater use of online training in 2020 in part because of efforts to exploit technology for training and use diverse methodologies in security training as a result of the 2018 Learning and Development Strategy. The annual report also highlights the immense amount of training being delivered across the UNSMS, with more than 500,000 personnel completing training between 2018 and 2020.

Goal & target audience

The goal of security training within the UNSMS is to enhance Security Risk Management effectiveness and cooperation between security personnel, managers with security responsibilities and all other personnel. Accordingly, UNDSS is responsible for facilitating training delivery across the UN Security Management System (UNSMS) to three specific target audiences:

  1. Security personnel and all members of the ISW.
  2. Managers with security responsibilities.
  3. UNSMS personnel and their dependents.

In 2018 and 2019, the UNDSS delivered over 2,300 security training courses to all three target audiences, reaching more than 315,000 staff members. The Training and Development Section (TDS) is consistently seeking to further improve the reach and impact of training.

Management effectiveness

In 2018, UNDSS adopted a Learning and Development Strategy for the Integrated Security Workforce which, along with the 2020 UNDSS Strategic Plan, aims to improve security training management effectiveness, thereby enhancing its impact and accessibility for those who need it most.

Learning catalogue

In 2019, the UNDSS issued a new Security Learning Catalogue, currently under revision to ensure all target audiences know about available training, who should attend, and the nominations process. The updated Catalogue will be posted here and on UNSMIN.

Best practices

The Training and Development Section (TDS) was strengthened and reorganized to ensure training standards in UNDSS adhere to international and industry best practices and is accessible to their intended target audience. TDS is also strengthening its ability to support other sections in UNDSS and the Integrated Security Workforce (ISW), who deliver training for any of the three target audiences.

TDS is now organized into four distinct teams:

  1. Staff awareness training team, led by David Cahill.
  2. Training for Managers with Security Responsibilities, led by Ben Owusu-Firempong.
  3. Training for Security Personnel, led by Enrique Oribe.
  4. Learning Support and Design Team, led by Luis Pinheiro.

Governance & prioritization

Finally, the USG of UNDSS has also created a new Security Training Governance and Prioritization Mechanism to determine the priorities for security training and ensuring the appropriate resources from across UNDSS are allocated to those priorities. The Mechanism will also review and approve a rolling two-year security training calendar to allow for better planning of training in the field. The Governance and Prioritization Mechanism had its first meeting in August 2020 and will meet again this year to adopt the security training calendar for 2021 and 2022. The calendar, once approved, will be posted here and on UNSMIN.

Training Calendar

In light of the Covid-19 situation, the UNDSS senior management has decided to suspend all security training involving travel until further notice. The 2020-21 Security Learning Calendar has been suspended.

This decision does not affect locally organized training not involving travel, if it is in keeping with local guidance from the UN and public health authorities, i.e. SSAFE, WSAT, ETB, IFAK, etc.