Integrated Company Report 2018

Our staff are committed to the further development of our partner countries. The security situation cannot always be compared with that in Germany. To safeguard the security of our workforce, we make use of a proven and professional security risk and crisis management system.

GIZ’s work in its partner countries has always involved a series of risks, including natural disasters, terrorist attacks, violent crime, unsafe travel routes and poor medical care. The safety and security of our employees is our foremost concern, and takes priority over our acquisition or business interests.


The Management Board has overall responsibility for staff safety and security. The Corporate Security Unit reports directly to the Management Board and comprises the Security Risk and Crisis Management Section as well as an analysis unit. It was set up in 2016 and is responsible for our global workforce. Key tasks of the Corporate Security Unit are security policy analyses, the coordination of crisis management, the establishment of a worldwide security risk management system and the integration of security aspects into the relevant corporate processes and procedures.

The unit offers advice during the development and quality assurance of security risk and crisis management systems worldwide and provides a base for GIZ’s security risk management advisors. The unit is the single point of contact for GIZ and the German Government in the event of crisis, coordinating crisis management and heading up GIZ’s own crisis unit. The role of the Security Officer, who advises employees on all security issues, also comes under this unit. Within the company, the unit cooperates with various organisational units in aspects of security risk management, including safety and security in Germany. In addition, the unit trains and raises the awareness of the groups of staff working with it in order to comply with GIZ’s duty of care and promote the establishment of a security risk culture across the company. Especially in the event of crises, it works closely with GIZ’s own psychosocial counselling unit (COPE). Analysis is one of the core tasks of security risk management, and is designed to provide sound assessments that are the basis for sustainable and well-considered decisions. GIZ set up the analysis unit as part of the Corporate Security Unit in 2018. It is now the central contact point for colleagues in the regional departments with regard to all questions relating to security policy developments worldwide. Context analyses, strategic foresight and scenario planning and spotlighting current crisis developments offer a myriad of methods that are tailored to the different challenges and issues faced by these departments. The analysis unit also supports security risk management by means of the Security Crisis and Risk Eye that is used to identify crises in partner countries at an early stage allowing us to take a proactive approach.

The five-day global conference held in Kenya in December 2018 offered the first forum for more than 90 staff members of the security risk management system and country directors to discuss their experience, technical issues, concepts and best practices. The outcomes of the event have been incorporated in the jointly elaborated Vision 2022 and are reflected in the following five areas of action: security culture, knowledge management, human capacity, standardisation and compliance, and structures and resources.

The Corporate Security Unit systematically implements GIZ’s flight security policy based on solid evidence. This has substantially improved transparency when it comes to assessing the risk presented by different airlines. Using external expertise, clear assessment criteria have also been developed and recommendations made on their use for the relevant managerial staff. This puts employees across the company in a position to form an objective picture of the security risks related to air travel. This procedure not only supports our colleagues, but also enables the company to better discharge its duty of care towards its employees.

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Country directors are responsible for the safety and security of the assigned staff. They are responsible for security risk and crisis management in the country of assignment. This includes drawing up an annual status report as part of the minimum security standards that were successfully introduced in the partner countries in 2018.

The status report helps ensure the professional and transparent handling of specific security risks and also enables managers to comply with their duty of care. In this respect, it supplements the training course offered on security risk management for country directors. Taken together, the course and the status report tool provide a comprehensive basis for the context-specific management of security risks and the development of appropriate measures.

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Staff members, development workers and integrated experts follow the security information/instructions issued by the country director. Before taking up their foreign assignment, all staff members take part in training courses prescribed for them by the Corporate Security Unit (these vary depending on the country of assignment). They take the steps required and thus help to minimise risks. Managers make sure not to expose any members of the workforce in the field to high individual risks in the country of assignment without taking suitable and adequate risk-mitigation measures.

The staff deployed in the field report security-relevant incidents to their line manager, the country director, the security risk management advisor or directly to the Corporate Security Unit. They ensure that they can be contacted in the country of assignment and inform the country office of their absence at least one day in advance.

In good time before undertaking their journey, all business travellers must obtain information about the security situation in the country and about special regulations that apply to the country of travel, and inform the relevant GIZ office about their travel details. Every staff member undertaking business travel and every field staff member making the outward journey to the place of assignment must complete the online travel safety and security training and submit the certificate to their line manager.

The minimum security standards constitute the framework for GIZ’s security and risk management for field assignments. They cover the key aspects, bases and procedures for a country-specific security concept in the country of assignment and are systematically implemented in partner countries around the globe. A status report analyses and validates their implementation. If there is a change in overall conditions, GIZ adjusts the measures accordingly so as to gear the security risk management system to the safety and security of staff members and the security requirements in the given country. The country offices and the Corporate Security Unit thus clarify the need for security resources based on a country-specific analysis of security risks.

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The following table provides an overview of GIZ’s security guidelines and standards.
Guideline Published Updated
Framework for Action: Security and Crisis Management 2008 2012
Staff safety and security policy 2008 2012, 2016, 2017
Minimum security standards 2016 2017
Flight security 1 September 2018 every month

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GIZ’s risk management system is based on a four-pronged approach: prevent, minimise, transfer and accept.