Module 9.4 – Security Planning and Your Budget

For many organisations working in insecure areas, security-related expenses have become part of the cost of doing business. Planning operations without adequate consideration of how the security situation will affect your budget is unrealistic and potentially dangerous. UNHCR’s Security Policy emphasizes that managers are responsible for ensuring that safety is a core component of all programs, and that adequate funding should be provided to ensure this. For this to happen, security must be a core component of operational planning from the outset.

Most organisations have a budgetary planning cycle that begins at least one year before the year being planned. In UNHCR, the standard tool of medium-term operational planning is the Country Operations Plan (COP), which is prepared in March of the previous year. Planning documents like the COP must have thoughtful and substantial consideration of security-related issues. Your security risk analysis and contingency planning processes should be used to highlight the measures and resources needed to ensure safe operating standards. A security officer should be a key member of the planning process. Their advice and expertise can help managers be aware of all options and help adapt programs and procedures to changes in the threat environment. If a security officer is not present, the requirement to fully reflect security needs remains the same.

Remember that changes in the operating environment may require changes in your planned security measures. For the UN, security measures made mandatory by Minimum Operational Security Standards (MOSS) may also be affected. UN standards normally require such measures to be implemented within 60 days of endorsement by the UN Security Management Team. Given the financial implications of MOSS to the operation, and the normal timeline of budgetary processes, proper pre-planning is of the utmost importance to avoid delays in implementing operations. This may not affect you if you are employed by a private company as opposed to the UN.