Building Data Responsibility into Humanitarian Action

OCHA Policy and Studies Series, May 2016

Posted: 25 Apr 2018

See all articles by Nathaniel Raymond

Nathaniel Raymond

University of Oslo

Ziad Al Achkar

Independent

Stefaan Verhulst

New York University (NYU) - The GovLab

Jos Berens

Leiden University - Centre for Innovation

Lilian Barajas

Independent

Matthew Easton

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Date Written: May 1, 2016

Abstract

Data are changing the face of humanitarian response, providing unprecedented opportunities to innovate and to better assist affected populations. Whether using social media to identify needs in a natural disaster such as Typhoon Hagupit (2014), or deploying mobile survey tools in Nepal (2015) for faster post-earthquake assessments, the possibilities of these technologies are numerous and profound. However, the use of these new data has also raised new risks and challenges for collecting, analysing, aggregating and sharing data. Because affected populations can be harmed as well as helped by the use of data, frameworks must be established to ensure that humanitarians understand and mitigate risks caused by the use of data. Ensuring adequate data security, ethical standards, and privacy protections is the collective responsibility of the entire humanitarian data ecosystem. In May 2016, Member States, humanitarians, policy-makers and affected people will gather at the World Humanitarian Summit. This gathering is a unique opportunity to place data responsibility on the global humanitarian agenda. As stated in the report of the Secretary-General for the World Humanitarian Summit, “data and joint analysis must become the bedrock of our action.” Articulating and implementing a shared humanitarian vision for the responsible use of data will ensure that this bedrock rests on a solid foundation. This paper identifies the critical issues humanitarians face as they strive to responsibly use data in operations. It also proposes an initial framework for data responsibility.

Keywords: Data Responsibility

Suggested Citation

Raymond, Nathaniel and Al Achkar, Ziad and Verhulst, Stefaan and Berens, Jos and Barajas, Lilian and Easton, Matthew, Building Data Responsibility into Humanitarian Action (May 1, 2016). OCHA Policy and Studies Series, May 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3141479

Nathaniel Raymond

University of Oslo

PO Box 6706 St Olavs plass
Oslo, N-0317
Norway

Ziad Al Achkar

Independent ( email )

Stefaan Verhulst (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - The GovLab ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

Jos Berens

Leiden University - Centre for Innovation ( email )

Postbus 9500
Leiden, 2300 RA
Netherlands

Lilian Barajas

Independent ( email )

Matthew Easton

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

230 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60604
United States

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