At the time of writing this, we are all still managing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The consequences for our members and stakeholders globally have been extensive and varied. Many private security companies have seen their roles and responsibilities change, some being deemed essential workers in a range of contexts. Civil society organisations in some of the more complex environments have seen a shrinking of the civic space and a tightening of security measures during the lockdowns. Mobility for all has been severely curtailed, internationally and regionally.
How and when the COVID-19 pandemic will end is unclear. However, although still too early to be able to quantify fully the societal and economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the first six months alone, many sectors, including the private security industry, have been hit hard. There has been a substantial downturn of business and cancellation of contracts for most security companies with an international client base. Civil Society Organisations and humanitarian agencies have already noticed programmatic and budgetary constraints. Governments and multinational corporations have had to re-direct resources and re-align priorities to manage the pandemic. The hardship and challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic will require resilience and collective efforts to manage
Throughout this exceptional period, ICoCA has remained fully operational, supporting its members and affiliates and fulfilling its 2020 objectives. For instance, 90% of member and affiliate companies successfully completed the annual company self-assessment and the Secretariat is engaging with all companies to provide tailored feedback to strengthen effective integration of the international code of conduct into their policies, procedures and operations. In cooperation with the Global Interagency Security Forum, ICoCA has developed a detailed procurement tool for humanitarian agencies seeking to contract private security provides.
Greater visibility has been given to the work of the Association and its members and affiliates through a series of podcasts and webinars. The Association has also launched a more dynamic and on message website and established a Fund to recruit young professionals, who have seen job opportunities disappear due to the pandemic.
Moreover, momentum is growing internationally on developing mandatory human rights due diligence regulatory frameworks, in the tightening of ESG reporting standards and requirements in the financial sectors, and in the development of an international treaty on corporate responsibility throughout the supply chain. In all these areas, there is increased recognition of ICoCA’s relevance and added value in bringing about positive change.
There is undoubtedly still much to be achieved to raise standards universally amongst private security companies operating in complex environments. Therefore, as we mark the 10th Anniversary of the signing of the International Code of Conduct in November, our joint efforts to bring greater oversight, accountability and respect for internationally recognised standards amongst private security providers, take on greater importance.
I look forward to continue working with you.