New global programme on Crises Management launched at UNHQ

A new training programme on “soft skills” in crises management was launched at UNHQ on 19 May, which will be available at various duty stations worldwide. Aimed at UN Secretariat staff, the programme is designed to equip those in key emergency management roles with the required soft skills.

The first session was formally opened by ASG Pollard, OHRM, who said:
“It is encouraging to see such a favourable response across all Departments and Offices, as well as from colleagues in UNDP, UNICEF and UN Women. Over 100 participants have registered for the four sessions being offered here at HQ. This is just one of the initiatives that the Secretary-General remains committed to as we continue to build an Organization that provides a caring working environment and support network for survivors and affected families.”

Following successful pilot sessions in New York and Nairobi, the course was further refined prior to deployment to all Offices Away from Headquarters and Economic Commissions. In partnership with the Field Personnel Division (FPD) of the Department of Field Support (DFS), the course is being progressively rolled out in all field operations.

Who is this course intended for?

Jointly developed and delivered through OHRM’s Emergency Preparedness and Support Team (EPST) and the Staff Counsellor’s Office (SCO), this course serves to address a Management Committee decision to equip and enhance the skills of Security, Administrative, Management and Human Resources personnel with the principles of psychosocial first aid, crises communication skills, and crises response protocols. These are also known as the ‘soft skills’ of crises management.

Staff will be exposed to key principles including:

  • Adopting a “preparedness mind-set”
  • Developing a common understanding of the Organization’s protocol for providing initial assistance to staff
  • Enhancing competencies in effectively and compassionately communicating and responding
  • Acquiring sufficient knowledge to be able to assess and identify those situations for specialised referrals

Why has this course been developed?

The Organization has a duty of care to ensure that those who have suffered bodily or emotional harm, and the families of personnel who have lost their lives, receive immediate and continuing support to address the many issues that arise in the aftermath of tragedies.

While the importance of being competent in the so-called “hard” skills such as providing a security response, interpreting and applying human resources and financial rules and regulations in responding to crises is well-recognized, it is equally important to know how to recognize and deal with stress, communicate with victims and survivors in a empathetic manner and to demonstrate a caring organizational culture in action.

While significant progress has been made in strengthening our capacity to respond to crises and support those who have survived malicious attacks, natural disasters or other emergency situations, more can still be done.

As one UN family, this course offers staff an opportunity to join together to support colleagues and their families when affected by emergency situations.

How do I take the course?

The course is currently being delivered through a 1 day face-to face workshop provided by experts from EPST, Staff Counsellors and an emergency response specialist.

Managers and staff (Administration, Human Resources and Security functions) interested in attending future courses may contact

All participants will be issued with a certificate of completion.

Where can I find further information?

Staff members can email the EPST team at