Open sharing of timely and accurate data is essential to humanitarian response. As the humanitarian data ecosystem grows, the opportunities and risks of sharing data become clearer, prompting organisations to explore more limited approaches to data sharing. 

Organisations widely recognize the sensitivity of personal data: its exposure has a high likelihood of causing harm. This understanding does not yet widely exist for non-personal data. While most non-personal data is safe to share openly, some non-personal data can be sensitive and should be handled with caution. 

The Centre and the Joint IDP Profiling Service (JIPS) have developed a Guidance Note on Responsible Approaches to Data Sharing to support decision-making around the sharing of non-personal data in humanitarian settings. It explains data sensitivity, provides common examples of sensitive non-personal data, and explains an approach to information and data sensitivity classification in humanitarian settings. It also offers a framework that organisations can use to weigh four factors that help determine whether data can be shared and explains common approaches for doing so responsibly. 


This is the final note in a series of eight guidance notes on Data Responsibility in Humanitarian Action, which have been published over the course of 2019 and 2020. Through the series, the Centre aims to provide additional guidance on specific issues, processes and tools for data responsibility in practice to complement the OCHA Data Responsibility Guidelines.  This series was made possible with the generous support of the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO).

Read the other guidance notes in this series on Statistical Disclosure Control, Data Incident Management, Data Responsibility in Public-Private Partnerships, Humanitarian Data Ethics, Data Impact Assessments, Data Responsibility in Cash and Voucher Assistance, and Responsible Data Sharing with Donors here.

For more on managing sensitive humanitarian data, visit the Data Responsibility page on the Centre’s website or contact our team at