Humanitarian organisations are facing increased incentives to collect and share data for various purposes such as improved coordination, more efficient service provision and accountability. At the same time, they have to ensure that data is only used for humanitarian purposes and does not cause harm to vulnerable populations. These ambitions often lead to contradictory practices: sharing more disaggregated data while also increasing efforts to anonymise and otherwise protect data.
This dilemma is particularly relevant in the ongoing dialogue between donors and humanitarian organisations vis-a-vis data sharing in principled humanitarian action. Donors’ interest in more detailed and interoperable data has only increased in recent years, largely in the interest of increased accountability and transparency. Although the issue has been addressed in multiple forums and in bilateral dialogues, stakeholders have not yet reached a common understanding on best practices for responsible data sharing between humanitarian organisations and donors.
Within the Humanitarian Data and Trust Initiative launched by the Government of Switzerland, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) Centre for Humanitarian Data, this Wilton Park Dialogue offers a platform to address the issue and an opportunity to shape commonly agreed principles for data sharing in the context of humanitarian reporting.