Building Data Responsibility into Humanitarian Action
OCHA Policy and Studies Series, May 2016
Posted: 25 Apr 2018
Date Written: May 1, 2016
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
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