IASC Operational Guidance on Data Responsibility in Humanitarian Action

Publication language
Date published
28 Apr 2021
Data approaches, Data ethics, Data protection / Responsible data management, Data management tools, Data strategies

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

The implementation of data responsibility in practice is often inconsistent within and across humanitarian response contexts. This is true despite established principles, norms and professional standards regarding respect for the rights of affected populations, the range of resources on data responsibility available in the wider international data community, as well as significant efforts by many humanitarian organizations to develop and update their policies and guidance in this area. While each organization is responsible for its own data management, humanitarians need common guidance to inform individual and collective action, and to uphold a high standard for data responsibility in all response contexts and in all phases of humanitarian action.

This Operational Guidance on Data Responsibility in Humanitarian Action responds to this need. The first edition of this Guidance was endorsed in February 2021 as the result of an inclusive and consultative process led under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC). The present version of the Guidance was prepared through a collaborative process led by the Data Responsibility Working Group (DRWG) and endorsed by the IASC in March 2023.