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Ensuring the safety and security of UN and NGO personnel is a basic requirement for all field operations.

Security Communications Systems are often the only way for humanitarians to communicate in remote areas and under challenging conditions. They enable vital connection and support during security incidents, timely flow of information and the monitoring of field missions and convoys.

The collaborative Telecommunications Security Standards (TESS) initiative aims to provide the right tools - in terms of connectivity systems, applications and procedures - for Security Communications Systems.

Set up in 2018 by the Inter-Agency Security Management Network (IASMN) and the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), TESS is the inter-agency coordination structure mandated by the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) to make clear recommendations and provide hands-on support to standardize Security Communications Systems for UN and NGO personnel globally.

While TESS consists of a small core team of technical specialists, it depends on collaboration with UN and NGO partners, online networks and partnerships with the private and public sectors as well as academia.

In June 2020, the TESS project transformed into a permanent support service called {TESS+}, coordinated by the World Food Programme (WFP) – the agency that played a leading role in its creation.

You can contact the TESS team via TESS@WFP.ORG

62 countries
where TESS has conducted missions
90 countries
in the TESS portfolio
US$ 1.76 million
cost savings on investment (annual)

{TESS+} is divided into three parallel project tracks, called “streams”

  • Stream 1: Support field operations to assess, debug and support their current Security Communications Systems.
  • Stream 2: Standardise current security communication technologies, focusing on several technical areas: radio systems, vehicle tracking systems, and mobile satellite systems.
  • Stream 3: Re-developing and testing new long-term standards based on up-to-date technologies with the objective of delivering a more intuitive user experience and cost-effective solution.

Each stream is articulated into three layers:

  • Connectivity: The hardware that physically connects users and security personnel into a Security Communications System.
  • Applications: The software components that run on the connectivity layer and provide security management functions to both personnel and security personnel.
  • Procedures: The implementation of technologies through standardised security procedures.