OCHA Data Responsibility Guidelines

Publication language
Date published
20 Oct 2021
Data protection / Responsible data management

Data responsibility in humanitarian action is the safe, ethical and effective management of personal and non-personal data for operational response. It is a critical issue for the humanitarian system to address and the stakes are high.

The OCHA Data Responsibility Guidelines (‘the Guidelines’) offer a set of principles, processes and tools that support data responsibility in OCHA’s work.The core audience for the Guidelines is OCHA staff involved in managing data across OCHA’s core functions of coordination, advocacy, policy, humanitarian financing and information management, with a primary focus on the field.

The Guidelines are informed by a series of gap analysis studies, research and field testing conducted by OCHA over the past several years. This includes extensive piloting of a working draft of the Guidelines by OCHA offices in ten different response contexts in 2019 and 2020, with support from the OCHA Centre for Humanitarian Data (‘the Centre’). These pilots informed the revision of the Guidelines for finalization and endorsement in 2021.

The Guidelines reflect the latest global guidance and policy instructions within the United Nations (UN) Secretariat and the broader humanitarian system, including:

  • The Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation
  • The Secretary-General’s Data Strategy
  • The Inter-Agency Standing Committee Operational Guidance on Data Responsibility

The Guidelines also reflect forthcoming administrative issuances of the organization related to data protection and privacy. See Annex E for a list of the references that informed the development of the Guidelines and Annex F for a selection of additional resources related to data responsibility in humanitarian action.

The Guidelines will be revised every two years.