Humanitarian organisations face increased incentives to collect and share data for various purposes, such as more efficient service provision, accountability, and transparency. At the same time, they must ensure that data are used only for humanitarian purposes and do not cause harm to vulnerable populations. An important aspect of these efforts is the role that donors play in financing and requesting data about humanitarian operations.
In September 2020, the Government of Switzerland, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the UN OCHA Centre for Humanitarian Data began a dialogue under the banner of the Humanitarian Data and Trust Initiative (HDTI) to examine this issue. The dialogue process began with a virtual Wilton Park meeting aimed at clarifying the purposes for increased donor requests for disaggregated data and the specific risks associated with such data sharing in humanitarian settings. The meeting identified several open questions for joint exploration:
What are the formal and informal objectives of data sharing and how are these currently communicated and understood?
What types of disaggregated data are humanitarian organisations sharing with donors?
How does such data sharing build or undermine trust between donors and humanitarian organisations?
Which guidelines or principles and potential mitigation measures would limit the risks related to this type of data sharing?
This report by Professor Larissa Fast (HCRI, University of Manchester) offers insights into these questions.