SMI is a forum for exchange and expertise on the security policy and practice of international aid agencies operating in hostile environments.
SMI aims to contribuite to the professionalisation of the non-profit sector and the establishment of internationally recognized institutional standards in risk and security management for international aid agencies.
Access to beneficiary populations and security are intimately linked. Without safe and secure access, assistance and protection to beneficiary populations are hampered, and organization’s staff, assets and reputations, as well as donor investments, are put at risk.
SMI serves the international and community and its national and international staff to operate safely and securely across the insecure environments in which they work. SMI strives to contribute to reducing the human and program costs of operating in these environments, thereby enabling better fulfillment of their missions.
To achieve this goal, SMI seeks to transform the professional culture of national and international NGOs and aid agencies to enable properly integrated security strategies. SMI works in close cooperation with aid agencies, donors and academia, as well as other key stakeholders such as the military and the private sector. SMI seeks to develop a widely accepted and applied standard for the risk and security management of national and international NGOs and aid agencies, and to develop and promote robust risk and security management cultures within these agencies.
The SMI approach recognizes that:
- Security challenges are systemic and affect all aid agencies and organizations;
- No individual aid agency has the means and methods to address these challenges on its own;
- The gaps in security management are not only technical in nature, but are strategic in their implications in terms of the modus operandi of aid agencies and their professional culture;
- The basic, authoritative knowledge of security management is often not available yet, and has to be generated;
- Developing this knowledge requires comparative studies of practice within the aid community and across other industries;
- Identifying and bridging gaps in security management requires collaboration with the entire range of stakeholders, including intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and NGO consortia, the military, academia, donor governments and development agencies, as well as the private sector.
SMI was launched in November 2004 by the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conﬂict Research (HPCR) at Harvard University as a follow-up to enquiries that highlighted serious security challenges facing humanitarian, development and peace-building organizations in dangerous conﬂict and post-conﬂict environments. As per 1 August 2009, the SMI transitioned to the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP).
SMI undertakes the following activities in order to develop and foster strong security management practices:
- Production or commissioning of relevant and authoritative research and policy;
- Hosting expert conferences and advanced trainings to share best practices in risk and security management;
- Building a network of risk and security management professionals;
- Providing advisory and consulting services to meet the needs of operational and security managers.
Partners and Donors
SMI is a donor-funded, not-for-profit project administered by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP). It is funded by the Human Security Division of the.Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
Since its inception, SMI has also benefited from the generous support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida); the Swiss Expert Pool for Civilian Peace-building (SEP) of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Hu man Security Division, and the Centre de Crise, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, France.