ptg my breev

PTG, premium global provider of security assistance services for travellers teams with mybreev.international

PTG (Pyramid Temi Group) and mybreev (mybreev.international) have partnered to provide Italian companies access to an extensive range of online travel security courses

Italian Travel Risk Management company PTG and leading German online training provider mybreev have formed a partnership in order to supply travel security courses to the Italian market.

By combining their expertise and experience, the two industry leaders are able to provide a range of unique online training solutions to Italian companies operating internationally.

Founded in 1978 and listed by the Financial Times as one of Europe’s fastest growing companies, PTG is Italy’s leading company in the provision of global security and Travel Risk Management services to the private sector.

Founded in 2009, mybreev is one of the leading European providers for e-Learning in the areas of Security, Safety, Cyber Security, Business Continuity Management and Compliance. With currently 70+ online training modules, mybreev offers a real “One Stop Shopping Digital Training Solution” to large corporations, SME´s and NGO´s.

PTG CEO Roger Warwick said: “With business travel about to start again, we are especially pleased to be able to offer highly qualified online training solutions to those companies operating internationally.

“Organisations will have to deal with a changed situation in many countries, in addition to health considerations, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has given rise to higher levels of criminality and instability and thus travel security training is of ever greater importance.”

Sven Leidel, Managing Partner of mybreev.international, said: “As a leading company in the provision of online security & safety training we’re excited about building a strong relationship with PTG and believe that by combining our capabilities we will be able to expand our presence throughout Italy and the Mediterranean area.

Warwick further stated that: “There is an ever-greater attention to Duty of Care and a fundamental part of this is being able to prepare travellers for the challenges that international travel can pose. By embracing online training we will be able to assist a greater number of organisations achieve compliance with the ethical, moral and legal considerations that have to be respected and adhered to.”

mybreev’s Sven Leidel added that: “With PTG we look forward not only to entering a new geographical market but also to developing a series of new proposals and solutions. Our partnership will provide immediate solutions to Italian companies operating internationally and over time we will jointly develop new courses.”

“Organisations are facing a world that is changing dramatically and so we are very enthusiastic about harnessing the benefits that come from the convergence of our respective expertise and experiences.

 

For further questions please contact:

Pyramid Temi Group S.R.L.                                      mybreev.international GmbH

services@ptgtravelsecurityhub.com                         info@mybreev.international

 

To learn more about PTG, please visit:

www.pyramidtemigroup.com/en

 

To learn more about mybreev, please visit:

www.mybreev.international

www.security-island.com/en

 

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travel assistance

Travel Assistance, a necessary solution for your safe Business Travel

Original Italian version of this article, published at page 22 of the latest Travel for business magazine: https://www.flipsnack.com/F95DDF6D75E/travel-for-business-magazine-n-14-maggio-2021.html

 

By Daniela Valenti

The current pandemic and a series of recent events have increased the need for a greater sense of security and safety for our travellers. To this end an ever greater number of companies are considering two very different but extremely important forms of protection: travel insurance and travel assistance services. Both service offers are important when planning a trip because no matter how strong your company’s travel risk management process is, there is always a chance for accidents or emergencies occurring along the way, thus companies need to provide for on-trip assistance and emergency response as part of their travel risk management programme.

Understanding the difference between the two services is essential as a company has to provide the best protection possible before the traveller leaves for their destination.

 

What is Travel Insurance?

Travel insurance is normally a policy that is acquired prior to a trip and serves the purpose of reimbursing losses occurred during the trip. Typically, travel insurance provides coverage for interruptions such as delays, cancellations, lost or stolen baggage. However, other insurable eventualities such as accidents, medical evacuation or repatriation, medical emergencies, car accidents, accidental death or injury can be covered.

The defining aspect of travel insurance is that, unlike travel assistance, it is activated after the unexpected event occurs; the money invested in a cancelled business trip is recovered or incurred medical expenses reimbursed. Basically, the insurance company reimburses the policyholder or the authorised beneficiary according to terms and conditions of the insurance policy.

 

What is Travel Assistance?

Travel assistance is often related to medical and security emergency services when travelling and can on occasion be used interchangeably with the term travel insurance, however, the benefits of a travel assistance programme are far greater. First and foremost travel insurance programs require the traveler to experience a loss while elite travel assistance programs are able to provide benefits without requiring the traveler to go through an event. In other words, while the first compensates a loss, the second is a service that supplies a response when the traveller has need for immediate assistance.

Travel assistance programs usually cover the costs associated with travel concierge, emergency medical support, and travel security assistance. The traveller’s assistance services are activated immediately an incident has been reported or, in the case of a natural disaster or coup d’état, automatically.

A traveller that finds themselves in a country hit by an earthquake would have access to support services that would assist them in the immediate aftermath, throughout the evacuation process, and until they have returned to their home or office. The same in the case of a coup d’état, revolution or collapse of social and political stability.

Should the traveller require medical assistance, the policy would be activated immediately and all of the necessary on-site support, such as identifying the most appropriate medical facility and accompanying the traveller to the location, given until such a time as the individual has returned home.

It is important to understand that the lack of emergency response services in travel insurance plans has now made travel assistance cover a necessary investment for many companies.

Over the past few years, travel assistance programmes have grown in popularity despite being mainly limited to the evacuation of travellers for individual problems as opposed to before or during an escalation of the security or health status of the area where they find themselves. The global increase in terror and crime related events and, above all, the complications brought about by the Covid pandemic, have increased the need for assistance that is available before and during both single person and mass events involving the traveller.

 

PTG and FocusPoint provide companies with qualified travel assistance services

In order to supply qualified travel assistance services, PTG chose FocusPoint as a partner because of their highly distinguished offer and experience.

Focus Point distinguish themselves in particular for:

  • offering a fully funded service guarantee which covers travellers from the beginning through to the completion of their journey;
  • covering not only the business aspects but also during any periods of ‘bleisure’ when the traveller wouldn’t normally benefit from insurance cover;
  • not being a classic insurance product, the program is able to cover the traveler’s safety thorough a wide range of perils.

Basically the PTG and FocusPoint programme should not be considered as simply ‘another insurance product’ but a product that in addition to the basic services covers a series of critical issues.

Of particular importance is that, on the contrary to other providers’ offers, there are no extra expenses. Let's see a concrete example:

A company had one of their employee stuck in a hotel in Kuwait who kept giving false positive Covid test results. Kuwait would not let him fly out as a normal passenger circumstances. By turning it into a medivac incident (really a employee welfare issue as he was not sick) the employee went home to Spain. The Medivac Kuwait to Spain charge was $80,000 extra from their travel assistance plan. This is a standard charge for this type of service and corporate are family with and pay the fee, then claim back of insurance.

In our assistance plan all costs are declared in advance and therefore there are no surprises or add-on costs in the event of the policy being activated. With no hidden costs to take into consideration, companies can budget correctly for their cover.

Our assistance plan is ‘cover that covers you’ and not simply an instrument to use in order to cover medical expenses or the loss of a flight or luggage. We put the traveller in contact with expert assistance in loco when it’s needed. In the case of a medical emergency, we facilitate care outside of the four walls of the medical facility, whereas medical insurance takes care of the treatment inside the four walls.

 

Pyramid Temi Group and Focus Point have partnered in order to offer a world class solution to travel risk management, so if you’re concerned that one of your employees might have to address any of the examples cited above, contact us as we have the solution.

#wemakeyoutravelsafe #travelfearlessly

 


evacuazione

Three case studies, one lesson: how well are organisations prepared to deal with an emergency?

English translation of the article published on the Travel for business website: https://www.travelforbusiness.it/casi-studio-travel-risk-management/

By Mark Lowe

A military coup, offensive cartoons and the fear of rebel attacks all have one thing in common: western governments advising their citizens to evacuate countries impacted by violence and social unrest. While the first question to pose before an international journey remains “Is the trip necessary?”, one of the next is “How well are we prepared to deal with an emergency?” Discover our one-stop-solutions for your international business in full compliance with the Duty of Care.

When the generals in Myanmar decided against accepting the results of the political elections the result was immediate and traumatic, the military coup brought with it violent protest and the resulting situation led to a number of foreign governments advising their citizens to leave the country immediately.

In the case of the cartoons, the advisory released by the French Embassy in Islamabad demonstrated how an apparently unrelated event can have direct and dramatic consequences on our interests abroad. Irrespective of the political backstory to the protests, the situation put French nationals in Pakistan at risk and Paris, fearing for the safety of its citizens, advised them to evacuate without wasting time.

Before the situation in Chad further degenerated with the death of the newly re-elected president Idriss Deby, fighting between the army and rebels in the north led US Government analysts to fear that armed groups would advance on the capital N’Djamena. As a precautionary measure, the US State Department ordered all non-essential diplomats and families of American personnel to leave the country.

 

Monitoring evolving situations

In hindsight it is easy to say that all three cases presented elements that made the potential for the situation to degenerate identifiable, however, if that was the case then why did national governments not act faster?

While the answer to the above question can be debated at length and would have to include the analysis of a series of diplomatic considerations, all three examples serve as micro case studies as to the importance of correctly monitoring and understanding developing scenarios.

A rapid examination of each case proves the point in question: the warning signs were there.

Suu Kyi and her once-banned National League for Democracy (NLD) party have ruled Myanmar since being elected in 2015. Last November’s elections saw the NLD win more than 80% of the vote, however, the military-backed opposition immediately began making accusations of voter fraud - allegations for which little or no evidence was provided. The scene was being set and on the morning of 1 February 2021, Myanmar's military announced that it had taken control of the country.

Anti-French sentiment had been simmering for months in Pakistan since Paris expressed support for Charlie Hebdo’s right to republish the cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, a choice deemed blasphemous by many Muslims in a number of countries.Tensions boiled over after the leader of a far-right Islamist party critical of France was arrested. The resulting violent anti-French protests paralysed large parts of the country leading to the French embassy in Pakistan advising all French nationals and companies to temporarily leave the country.

At the time of the evacuation order, Chad’s former President Idriss Deby appeared poised to extend his 30-year rule, both the United States and the United Kingdom warned of possible violence in the capital N’Djamena. Both governments were concerned that armed rebel fighters approaching N’Djamena from the north and growing popular discontent over President Idriss Deby’s handling of the nation's oil wealth may have led to widespread protests and violence.

As a precautionary measure, Washington and London advised their citizens to leave the country immediately.

 

Three case studies, one lesson: being prepared is fundamental

Western governments are structured to monitor and interpret political and social change, private companies, with few exceptions, are not. This leads to the first conclusion: organisations with international operations must have access to specialist analysis and updates concerning the situation in the countries and regions that they are operating in.

Timely, reliable information is fundamental and lies at the core of an organisation’s capability to correctly manage international travel. In addition, the analysis of current situations is an important element of an organisation’s obligation to exercise full Duty of Care towards their staff.

The second, equally important observation is that any organisation operating in a country at risk of political or social instability must have a robust and immediately actionable emergency evacuation procedure in place. While the company might not be able to anticipate an emergency scenario, it must have the ability to deal with the complications of evacuating staff at short notice.

While the first question to pose before an international journey remains “Is the trip necessary?”, one of the next is “How well are we prepared to deal with an emergency?

The answer to the former is subjective while the answer to the latter is objective: has the organisation's Travel Risk Management procedure provided for access to both remote and local assistance?

If the answer is no, and the traveller does not have access to local support, at the very least full Duty of Care is not being provided.

 

PTG formed strategic partnerships to provide clients with End-to-End Travel Security

Timely and Accurate Intelligence

Access to updated, reliable information is of particular importance when deciding if a trip should take place or otherwise and there will be occasions in which an organisation has doubts in regards to this decision.

As there are no ‘black and white rules’, professional advice should be sought on these occasions. Through our partnership with Riskline, PTG is able to provide timely and accurate intelligence to organisations operating in an ever greater number of countries, while travellers are kept constantly informed by receiving Real-Time Travel Alerts on their smartphones.

Worldwide Local Support

Pyramid Temi Group is the only Italian based company that has a global hub network, a capacity that has been strengthened through a partnership agreement with another industry leader, FocusPoint. By combining our respective skills and experience, we are able to provide companies with response services to crises and accidents of a medical and security nature globally.

The PTG and FocusPoint one-stop-solution enables travellers to access global assistance from their smartphone via Assistance Button connected to our 24/7/365 Emergency Hotline in over 250 languages, for both medical and security emergencies.

 

As Myanmar, Pakistan and Chad have all demonstrated, while some scenarios can be predicted, this requires dedicated, specialised resources and a number of capabilities necessary to fulfilling the obligation of full Duty of Care, that very few private organisations possess.

 

Travel Security Hub®, a one-stop-tool for Travel Security

The Travel Security Hub® platform has been designed and developed by PTG, and powered by Riskline and FocusPoint, in accordance with management and travellers’ Travel Risk Management needs and in full respect of the principles set forth in the new international Travel Risk Management Standard, ISO 31030.

Companies  have access to a one-stop tool to identify, assess and mitigate travel risks, activate our ground services, and respond to any incidents, crises and emergencies that could affect a traveller’s safety and security.

Our services complement Travel Risk Management procedures and bolster an organisation’s ethical, moral and legal obligations in terms of Duty of Care towards its travelling population.

 

Learn more about how we can support your organisation’s preparations for the return to travel: https://www.pyramidtemigroup.com/en/what-we-do/

 

 


The military coup in Myanmar illustrates the importance of evacuation plans

Photo Credits: Reuters

12/03/2021

Mark Lowe

While the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is suggesting that Italian citizens consider leaving Myanmar, other governments have escalated their risk assessment levels and are advising their citizens to leave the country immediately.

British nationals have been advised to leave Myanmar unless they have an urgent requirement to remain.

The ministry’s advice highlights a number of concerns that companies have to take into consideration before sending employees into countries where there is a potential risk of having to evacuate them.

In Myanmar’s case, the advice stems from the consequences of the recent military coup, but emergency evacuations can also be determined by health emergencies, natural disasters, civil unrest, or open conflict.

The evacuation advisory highlights the importance of continuous situational awareness, of having a robust evacuation plan in place, and compliance with government guidelines and advice.

Situational awareness is fundamental to ensuring the safety and security of both staff members travelling internationally and those that are assigned to activities in a foreign country. It is essential that potential critical issues are identified in advance and that the monitoring process continues during their assignments.

Critical issues must be identified in order to define mitigation procedures and, in the case of an event, being in the condition to correctly manage the situation.

In those cases where there is a heightened threat of staff being exposed to security or health risks, an evacuation plan must be defined in advance of travel. The plan should be multilevel and thus take into consideration, in the case of staff assigned to long-term permanence in an at risk country, a gradual escalation process. For example family members should be evacuated first, those remaining should consider sharing accommodation, communications protocols should be reinforced, and the practical evacuation considerations implemented.

For example, as is the case in Myanmar, international flights may be suspended and thus overland travel, despite the great number of necessary considerations, may be an option if land borders are open.

However, if the international airport is open there may be the possibility of ‘relief’ flights being available for those seeking to leave the country. In many cases these flights are commercially bookable.

Staff training is essential and must be conducted well in advance of travel. The training in question will not be exclusively for those who will actually travel but will also include those employees who will provide support roles.

Various departments will be involved, including the legal department which will also play a key role in complying with government guidelines. This is an essential task as both legal and insurance considerations have to be examined and understood.

In terms of advance preparation and staff training, a number of considerations will have to be addressed including some very practical advice as to dealing with an evacuation. These considerations will include, but not be limited to, issues such as banks and ATMs being closed or unavailable and thus having sufficient funds and US Dollars for use at airports or for day to day necessities, the lack of internet connections and disruptions to local phone networks, curfews and general behavior during the emergency.

Political tension and unrest in Myanmar has spread since the military takeover, levels of violence are rising throughout the country and thus in a similar scenario those unable to leave the country should stay at home and stay safe. Guidance should be given in advance as to managing situations where the individual needs to leave home for essential reasons.

The situation in Myanmar illustrates what can happen in the space of a very short period of time and thus the importance of staff training, situational awareness,  preparation, crisis management, and having a robust travel risk management procedure in place.

Pyramid Temi Group can help you address all of these issues, contact us to discuss your requirements and how we can work with you to ensure that your travellers stay safe!


PTG has committed as a signatory member of the UN Global Compact

PTG has formally committed to respecting the ten universal principles in the fields of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption

 

9th March 2021

PTG is proud to announce that we have committed as a signatory member of the UN Global Compact (UNGC).

UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.  It is a call to companies to align their operations and strategies with ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption.

In signing the UN Global Compact, PTG joins over 16.000 leading organizations in 160 Countries which have actively committed to supporting and promoting corporate sustainability.

 

PTG’s mission as a Travel Risk Management company is providing organizations with global Security assistance and protection wherever business takes them. Safety, Security, responsibility and sustainability are fundamental aspects of our corporate strategy.

 

Our participation in the UN Global Compact strengthens our commitment to sustainability, responsibility and respect for human rights” says Roger Warwick, PTG’s CEO and Founder.

PTG is a Founder Member of ICOCA – International Code of Conduct Association for Private Security Companies, and we are the first Italian company to be certified to ANSI/ASIS PSC.1 2012, a management standard for quality of private security company operations. Joining the UN Global Compact reinforces our pledge to play a leading role on sustainable development in the global Travel Security industry”, adds Warwick.

 

 


What's driving your Travel Risk Management Policy?

18/02/2021

Mark Lowe

Photo Credits: James Eagle

 

Lessons learned from the world of Information Technology

Over the past couple of weeks, dozens of LinkedIn users have posted a somewhat interesting and thought provoking graphic.

The result of a survey conducted by James Eagle, a Zurich based investment writer and blogger, the graphic illustrates the result of a simple question: What drove digital transformation in your company, the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Technology Officer or Covid-19?

A simple question to which a startling 88% of respondents specified Covid-19.

While there are few direct links between Travel Security and Digital Transformation, there are, however, some  parallels between the conclusion of the survey and an event that shook the Italian security community in January 2019.

 

What’s driving change in your organisation?

The question is simple but significant: What’s driving your organisation’s implementation of a Travel Risk Management policy? Hopefully, the driving force won’t be a reaction to a traumatic event.

Generally there are three principal answers to the question: compliance with the Italian legal framework, moral and ethical considerations, or the understanding that security adds value to a company.

 

“The idea of having to create and maintain a robust travel security programme can seem a daunting prospect”

 

If asked, most organisations will reply that all three combined are the driving force behind the development and implementation of an adequate Travel Risk Management policy.

For organisations that have as yet to implement the necessary policies, the idea of having to create and maintain a robust travel security programme may appear something of a daunting prospect.

However, if addressed correctly, the task can be broken down into a series of achievable steps that lead towards the objective of achieving full compliance with the legal, ethical and value considerations cited above.

 

Leadership and ownership

Stakeholder identification and their involvement through a precise breakdown of roles and responsibilities lies at the heart of the development of an organisation’s Travel Risk Management policy.

Leadership and ownership are the starting points. The first question has to be who or which department will take the lead? In all probability the choice will be to select an individual from the risk, security, legal, or human resources department.

 

“The first question has to be who or which department will take the lead?”

 

In most cases taking the lead will automatically imply ownership, the overall responsibility for the development and implementation of the organisation’s travel policy.

It is essential that departments work together guided by a holistic approach to travel risk management, this implies setting precise goals and objectives that will depend upon efficient interdepartamental communications and collaboration.

The most important piece of advice is that everyone in the organisation should perceive the Travel Risk Management policy as being supported at Board level and sponsored by each of the pertinent departments.

 

Conclusion

For a company’s Travel Risk Management policy to succeed, leadership, ownership and efficient management are the three essential components.

While management must make a determined effort to define and implement the necessary steps, it is essential that the objectives and advantages of a robust Travel Risk Management policy are shared and understood throughout the company.

While Pyramid Temi Group firmly believes that every organisation has the capacity to develop and implement a Travel Risk Management policy, we recognise that professional support and practical advice can go a long way to assisting companies achieve their objectives.

If you’re interested in knowing more about how our 40 years’ experience in Security and Travel Risk Management can benefit your company, we’re available to discuss your risk profile and analyse your requirements.

CONTACT US

 


Travel Security: identifying "Grey Rhinos"

Photo credit: Protesters build a brick barrier on a main road in the capital Khartoum, during a demonstration against rising prices. Photograph: Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images

 

17/02/2021

Mark Lowe

Food Insecurity should not be mistaken with famine or as being an issue that afflicts worn torn or drought-stricken countries and therefore nations that we are unlikely to visit.

On the contrary, food insecurity is a challenge that risks creating instability in towns and cities where we have business interests or where we intend pursuing opportunities.

The United States Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as: “Occurring when households are unable to acquire adequate food because they have insufficient money and other resources.

One of the many direct consequences of the current pandemic is an increased level of poverty and therefore ever greater challenges for those trying to feed their families.

The potential consequences fit perfectly into the Grey Rhino category as they are foreseeable and could have a significant impact on traveller security.

 

“Food insecurity risks creating instability in towns and cities where we have business interests or where we intend pursuing opportunities”

 

Earlier this week Sudan declared a state of emergency in seven regions in order to stem violent protests over soaring food prices.

Buildings were looted and burned, and food was stolen from markets and shops during protests against dramatic increases in food prices.

The scenes witnessed in Darfur, North Kordofan, West Kordofan, and Sennar where curfews have been imposed and schools have been forced to close could very well be repeated in a number of other countries.

Food insecurity is not a new problem, but the current situation has accentuated the challenges faced by citizens in a number of countries throughout the world including many that we conduct business in.

 

Situational Awareness and Emergency Assistance

As part of our Duty of Care towards staff members travelling internationally we have to monitor ongoing situations and do our best to predict scenarios in which there is the potential for civil unrest or violence.

In 2021 food insecurity has to be considered one of the many Grey Rhinos that will put our Travel Risk Management Policies to the test.

Companies have to ask themselves not only how well organised they are to monitor current situations and forecast potential changes to the status quo, but also how well prepared they are to intervene in the case of the unexpected worst case scenario actually taking place.

 

“Knowledge is essential but it has to be supported by the capability to interpret updates and transform them into practical advice”

 

Preparation is the starting point but a reactive capability is also fundamental. It is not enough to be aware of risks and be alerted to sudden changes in countries or cities that interest us, staff members present in these locations must be given adequate, timely support in order to best manage the situation.

At Pyramid Temi Group we believe that analysis and planning are the building blocks of an efficient Travel Risk Management Policy and to this end we focus on assisting our clients correctly assess and plan for international travel.

We offer continuous updates on local security situations, we train staff members well in advance of travel and brief them before they depart, and we support them during their voyage by providing security updates and, crucially, advising them on best practices to adopt during a security event.

We believe that knowledge is essential but that it has to be supported by the capability to interpret updates and information and transform them into practical advice.

If you’re interested in knowing more about how our 40 years’ experience in Security and Travel Risk Management can benefit your company, we’re available to discuss your risk profile and analyse your requirements.

CONTACT US


Civil and Political Instability in 2021: what measures should a company have in place to deal with the protection of its staff?

Mark Lowe, 02/02/2021

The military coup in Myanmar was not hard to predict, indeed it was pre-announced and took place in a country with a long history of military political power. Nevertheless, events in the southeast Asian nation should make us reflect in terms of how many other countries are at risk of serious political instability during 2021.

Several fragile democracies are facing political elections over the coming eleven months and these planned events will require careful monitoring on the part of organisations with interests in these countries.

In addition, there is the risk of social instability provoked by the Covid pandemic spilling over into political unrest in a number of countries where no elections are on the cards.

Put quite bluntly, the impact of the pandemic on local economies has created greater poverty and the consequences will be greater criminality in some cases, protests against government management of the emergency in others, reduced efficiency and functionality of basic services in other cases, and all three in a number of countries.

This ‘Grey Rhino’ situation poses a number of questions that cannot be left unanswered, for example what impact could civil unrest have on exports and how will that impact supply chains, how can evolving situation be monitored, and, most importantly, what measures should a company have in place to deal with the protection of its staff?

With the roll-out of Covid vaccines, over time business travel will slowly begin to pick up but if Duty of Care was complex before the pandemic, the current situation is far more complicated due to Covid accentuating existing problems and introducing new ones.

While on the one hand it is imperative that companies monitor evolving situations closely, on the other it is equally important that their travel security policies are updated accordingly.

If the situation in Myanmar was predictable, the same might not be true in a number of other cases during 2021 and due to this organisations must make an extra effort to assure full Duty of Care for their staff.


Gestione dei rischi all'estero dei volontari delle ONG italiane

Risk Management: what can Italian NGOs to safeguard staff working abroad

After 18 long months of continuous doubt, anxiety and fear, the young Italian volunteer Silvia Romano has been reunited with her family, friends and colleagues.

Kidnaped from the Kenyan village of Chakama during an armed attack in which 5 local people were injured, she was transferred to Somalia and held by Islamist militants before finally being relaesed following lengthy and complex negotiations with her captors.

While Silvia can today begin a new chapter in her personal and professional life, a new chapter also needs to be opened in regards to the management of Non Governmental activities in complex environments such as Kenya where, as the case in question illustrates, the inherent risks also include the threat of abduction.

While we cannot under any circumstances shy away from the obligation of identifying a series of lessons learned, we must avoid the counterproductive temptation of polemic and non constructive criticism.

The reality of the fact is that Romano’s abduction was not the first of its kind, indeed there are a plethora of similar cases and this fact raises the question of both risk analysis and the capacity of organisations to mitigate and develop a capacity to manage crises.

To compound difficulties, one of the most obvious consequences of the current Covid-19 crisis is that non governmental organisations will be operating in environments where rising poverty levels will be accompanied by rising crime levels.

Without any shadow of doubt, as in 2015 Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs will play an important role in guiding non governmental organisations in regards as to how to address security concerns. The roundtable discussions of 2015 produced a series of precious guidelines and it is only to be expected that they will represent the basis of future discussions.

However, whilst awaiting a new round of interaction and debate, Italian non governmental organisations have the opportunity to begin addressing security considerations and measures to deal with them.

This is of fundamental importance as not only is it an ethical, moral and legal requirements in terms of Duty of Care towards staff working in the field, but is also a question of the very same organisation’s survival: a kidnapping or death can result in funds drying up leading to the organisation being unable to continue field operations.

As specifically regards the legal obligation, what holds true for a private company holds true for a non governmental organisation: management has a precise duty towards staff and will be charged with criminal negligence if an investigation concludes that the necessary security measures were not implemented.

Put quite simply, it is a case of those less fortunate being put at risk of no longer receiving precious support and assistance due to an organisation not implementing the steps necessary to protecting their field operators.

While nobody will suggest for a moment that they know and understand the local reality better than the organisation actually working there, the experience and professionality of the private sector can be of great assistance.

A security provider has to be thoroughly vetted, this means not only a careful examination of the company and their staff’s practical experience, but also the details of their proposed strategy including full respect for human rights in accordance with  ICOCA (International Code of Conduct Association) principals.

Another important factor is that of choosing a provider that can cover all of the specific considerations: at the very least the development of procedures, staff training (basic and advanced), special risk insurance (medical and crisis), briefings and risk analysis, and the capability to fully support the organisation during all phases of a crisis.

As specifically regards insurance, while for well-known reasons K&R cover cannot be offered to Italian companies, it is worth clearing a little ambiguity: while the insurance cover in question will reimburse a ransom payment, perhaps more importantly it will cover the costs of the specialist assistance offered during and after the kidnapping event. It should be remembered that there have been cases where the protracted length of negotiations have resulted in the cost of the specialist assistance being greater than the ransom payment itself.

 

Pyramid Temi Group is very well aware of the value of the important work conducted by the NGO sector. We are amongst the founder members of ICOCA and our advisory services conform with the best practices and guidelines developed and adopted by the most important international associations and organisations. We are also aligned with the ISO31030 standard currently under development by the ISO TC262 technical committee of which PTG is a member.

We assist non governmental organisations in all phases of security planning and management from the development of procedures to the training of frontline staff and on-site support during a crisis.

Please contact us directly for a copy of our vadecum and description of our NGO support services.


An Evolving Crisis - Regional Updates. Country Status Report #6: Lebanon

Over the coming weeks Pyramid Temi Group will be publishing a series of updates from our regional hubs. The objective of the updates is to deliver informed comment and insight from our experts as to how a series of countries are addressing the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) emergency.

If you would like the updates delivered directly to your email box please sign-up to service by clicking here

Please note that in addition to the Covid-19 updates, those who sign-up to the service will receive a complimentary copy of our updated country report.


As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread, we spoke with the Managing Director at Pyramid Temi Group’s local partner company in the Lebanon to understand more about the current situation and which issues will become the most critical over the coming months.


Q: How is the population reacting to the spread of the virus?

A: Almost all civilians are abiding by the Government’s orders to stay in their homes and work remotely from there. However, a few days ago Riots re-emerged due to the losses of the Lebanese Pound against the United States Dollar.

 

Q: Which system has been adopted by the provincial government?
A:
I would say that it is in many ways similar to the system adopted in the UK.

 

Q: Would you agree that no one/single suits all and thus individual governments must devise their own specific strategies? Which factors define your country?

A: The Chinese decision to implement a total lock down on the nation thus preventing an uncontrolled spread of the Covid-19 virus fits well with the Lebanese culture.

Q: How are people reacting to your government’s choice?

A: People are reacting positively and believe that it was the best decision to quarantine the whole nation. However, currently a part of those that are on the breach of poverty are back on the streets rioting again.

 

Q: Are people following government instructions?

A: Almost all are abiding the government instructions.

 

Q: Please describe how the private sector is being affected by the present status.

A: The private sector is suffering considerably from the consequences of the current situation. A lot of work has almost come to a stop and only the minimum is being done. Movements are limited to the absolute minimum and many in the private sector have started adapting having employees work remotely from their homes. Another strategy is rotation where only one employee is allowed to work in their department at a time, due to this reduced work flow companies are laying employees off or are going bankrupt.

 

Q: Has the government enlisted the assistance of the private security sector?
A:
No, only government forces.

Q: What’s on your radar screen, do you have any particular fears or concerns?
A: 
The main concern is that a number of civilians are not acting as they should and that the riots taking place can lead to COVID-19 spreading across the country, a scenario that would be difficult to contain. We need to remain on high alert, manage the prices of commodity goods carefully, and make sure that civilians take the Covid-19 outbreak seriously.

 

DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the interviewee. They are published in good faith and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PTG.