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Minimum Standards for Comprehensive Risk Management in Complex and High Threat Environments

Fragile and conflict affected states, in particular complex and high threat environments, present a wide array of risks for the organization, including security threats to staff, threats to UNICEF’s reputation, credibility and ability to demonstrate value-added and the risk of financial losses due to misuse, fraud, diversion or theft (which also exists in other environments but can be heightened when different armed groups are present, governance is weak or challenged or access for monitoring or other purposes is limited) . In addition, the “normal” risks faced by UNICEF programmes, such as operational risks linked to slow procedures, challenging partnerships, resource mobilization and human resources, the irregular application of the standard UNICEF framework, are often heightened in emergencies given the pressures of time and the operational contexts.

The main purpose of this guidance note is to enable managers to better assess the risks and decide objectively based on the comparison of risks and expected gains. Operational contexts differ considerably from one to another. For this reason, the suggestion is not to dictate specific measures but to adopt common minimum standards which would be applicable across the organization, adapted to context.



Area of Work

Humanitarian Access


Guidance / Manual



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