Saving Lives Together (SLT): FAQs

Published: December 22, 2017 | By UNDSS | Library item

Saving Lives Together (SLT) is an initiative to enhance security collaboration between the UN Security Management System (UNSMS), International Non-governmental Organisations (INGOs) and International Organisations (IOs). It recognises the existence of collectively experienced security threats and the importance of collaboration to support the safe delivery of humanitarian and development assistance.

The primary objective of SLT is to enhance the ability of partner organisations to make informed decisions based on shared information and knowledge. This is intended to empower partner organisations to better manage risks and implement effective security arrangements to enable the delivery of assistance, improve the security of humanitarian personnel and support continuity of operations. As such, SLT should be viewed as a tool to support existing activities in partner organisations rather than a substitute for in-house analysis and security risk management.

To engage with SLT, organisations must commit to the adoption and effective implementation of the principles, objectives and arrangements in the SLT Framework.

It is important to remember that SLT is a partnership, not a service provided by UNDSS. To this end, SLT partner organisations commit to:

  • Establish security collaboration arrangements
  • Share relevant security information
  • Cooperate on security training
  • Cooperate on security operation and logistics arrangements, where feasible
  • Identify resource requirements for enhancing security coordination between the UN, INGOS, and IOs
  • Consult on common ground rules for humanitarian action


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the tangible benefits of SLT?

At a local level, this changes from country to country but the primary benefit is greater information sharing on security issues across INGOs, IOs and the UN agencies, it also provides access to UN Safe and Secure Approaches in Field Environments (SSAFE) trainings and other collaboration opportunities. SLT members at a global level receive daily updates, access to a common online platform, as well as access to UNDSS security training. It does not include the UN providing guarantees or taking responsibility for the evacuation or relocation of INGO or IO personnel.

What does my organisation have to do to become a member of SLT at a global level?

You must be an international non-governmental organization or International Organisation (IO) to be a member of SLT. If your organisation is a member of the European Interagency Security Forum (EISF) or InterAction, you have access to SLT at a global level. If you are not a member of either of these coordination forums then Global SLT partnership can be established by an exchange of Letters of Understanding between UNDSS HQ and the HQ of the respective INGO or IO.  Please note, members of EISF or InterAction do not have to sign an LOU at this time, EISF and InterAction coordinate with UNDSS and OCHA to maintain an up to date contact lists.  

Does my organisation have to be a global member of SLT to participate at country level?

No. Who can be part of SLT at country level is determined at country level (details are included in the SLT implementation guidelines).

How is SLT with the UN organized at country level?

If there is an NGO coordination mechanism in place, whether formal or informal, security specific or more general, this is the preferred approach for implementing SLT objectives. A coordination agreement between UNDSS and an NGO forum does not preclude Individual organizations from establishing their own relationship, if both sides agree. 

What does my organisation have to do to become a member of SLT at a country level?

Who can be part of SLT at country level is determined at country level. If you are a UN implementing or operational partner you are eligible to become a member of SLT. To participate at country level, you should contact UNDSS in country and ask for details on how to engage .If there are any issues please contact a member of the SLT working group.

Can national staff from an INGO engage with UNDSS and SLT?

Yes, but they must be authorised by their organisation to represent it.

If my organisation is a member of SLT will the UN guarantee safe haven and / or evacuation in case of an emergency?

The UN does not provide guarantees and takes no responsibility for the evacuation or relocation of INGO or IO personnel.

However, if you are a member of SLT at a country level and are part of the information sharing partnership there are greater opportunities for you to discuss shared concerns and you may be asked to provide staff and location details for the UN to consider in their contingency planning.

The United Nations regularly evacuates INGO personnel. UN vehicles, UN peacekeeping and WFP aircraft are made available for the transport of INGO and IO personnel when feasible, including for medical evacuations. INGO and IO personnel will be required to sign a liability waiver when using UN vehicles or aircraft.


If my organisation becomes an SLT partner organisation must we defer to UNDSS on matters of acceptable risk and assessments of threat and vulnerability?

No. SLT is designed to enhance and complement the security risk management systems of SLT partner organisations, not substitute these systems and their related arrangements.

As an SLT partner, will the UN be responsible for INGO or IO personnel and security risk management measures?

No. The UN, INGOs and IOs maintain full responsibility for their own organisation’s personnel and security arrangements.

Does UNDSS conduct security risk assessments for INGO and IOs?

UNDSS may share existing assessments partially or fully with INGOs and IOs, but UNDSS security professionals will not conduct assessments specifically for INGOs or IOs.

Does UNDSS conduct assessments compounds for INGOs and IOs?

UNDSS may, when feasible, conduct compound assessments for INGOs and IOs. Such assessments will be on an informal basis. UNDSS assessments can only measure the compliance of the INGO/IO compound with UN security standards and arrangements.

My organisation is a member of EISF (and/or InterAction) but I have questions or find it difficult to engage with UNDSS in the field, what should I do?

Direct any queries or concerns to either or 

Are there any financial obligations related to security collaboration under the SLT framework?

No. There are no fees or contributions for participation in SLT. SLT partner organizations are expected to cover their costs related to the regular implementation of SLT: including staff hours, communications costs, transport and accommodation for the attendance at meetings or events. 

Are there costs associated if an SLT partner organization provides assistance to another SLT partner?

In case an SLT partner organization provides logistical and medical support to the personnel of another SLT partner, the supplying organization may request the related costs to be reimbursed.

Reimbursement of costs may also be required for participation in security training events, this should be determined at the time of booking with the training provider.  

What is the SLT Oversight Committee (SLT OC)and who are the members?

The SLT Oversight Committee meets annually and focuses on supporting the effective implementation of the SLT framework through leadership and guidance. The annual meetings and SLT OC membership are coordinated with, where appropriate, the global UN Security Management Team (SMT). The committee is comprised of representatives from: UNDSS, OCHA, WFP, UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF, EISF, ICVA, InterAction, and SCHR. It is co-chaired by ICVA and UNDSS.

The SLT OC is supported by an SLT working group, which meets once a month to discuss the operational aspects of the implementation of the SLT framework. The working group is comprised of representatives from: UNDSS, OCHA, UNHCR, UNICEF, InterAction, EISF and ICVA. SLT participating organizations are encouraged to submit feedback or concerns on implementation to ensure it is being done in accordance with the framework. Feedback can be provided through any member of the SLT OC, for example or