Humanitarian Data Forum

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Centre for Humanitarian Data is excited to host our first-ever Humanitarian Data Forum in The Hague from 12-14 June 2024.

This in-person event will mark the ten-year anniversary of the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX), an open platform for sharing data across crises and organizations. The forum will convene UN agencies, international and local NGOs, governments and donors, the private sector and academia to shape the future of humanitarian data.

Registration for the forum has now closed. For any queries, please email hdf@un.org.

When:

13:00 Wednesday, 12 June to 13:00 Friday, 14 June 2024

Where:

Amare, Spuiplein 150, 2511 DG Den Haag, Netherlands

Who:

130 participants from across the humanitarian data community

The Programme

The programme is shaped around four themes: strengthening our data ecosystem; integrating advanced analysis; advancing the responsible use of data and technology; and building partnerships and capacity. Over the three days, we will be guided by ‘The Three Horizons’ model, a foresight tool for thinking through how systems change. We will start with a focus on the future, then reflect on the present, and finally explore how we transition to the future we want to build. You can download the PDF version of the programme here.

DAY 1 | WEDNESDAY 12 JUNE

1:00pm – 1:30pm

OPENING REMARKS | Welcome to the Humanitarian Data Forum

1:30pm – 2:00pm

KEYNOTE | An Introduction to Futures Thinking

2:00pm – 3:00pm

PLENARY | The Future of the Humanitarian System

The humanitarian system of today is characterised by complex, frequent and interconnected crises, unprecedented humanitarian need, insufficient resources, and a demand for more locally-led responses. How will this landscape shift over the next decade, and what are the implications for how data and technology are used in humanitarian response?

3:30pm – 5:00pm

BREAKOUT SESSION | Drivers of Change in the Humanitarian Data System

Through a collaborative foresight exercise, we will investigate the ‘drivers of change’ that may shape the future of the humanitarian data system. We will undertake a process of collective prioritisation, interrogating which trends, from environmental to political to technical, feel most impactful.

BREAKOUT SESSION | Climate Prediction for a Faster Response

We will hear from climate scientists about the current state and expected advances in climate forecasting. This will be followed by an exploration of the capacities and systems required to fully integrate climate prediction into humanitarian processes to drive anticipatory approaches.

BREAKOUT SESSION | Local Data, Global Systems

The humanitarian community has committed to achieving a more locally-led and contextually-specific response, while seeking to deliver more standardised and interoperable global datasets. This discussion will unpack how we balance these two imperatives, in service to maximising the impact of data for decision-making.

BREAKOUT SESSION | Integrating Novel Data Sources

Novel data sources, such as drone imagery and call detail records, are being used to fill critical information gaps in crisis contexts. How can we integrate these new sources, and the innovative methods that underpin them, into humanitarian analysis and manage the risks and dependencies they might create?

5:00pm – 6:30pm

FIRESIDE CHAT & RECEPTION

DAY 2 | THURSDAY 13 JUNE

9:30am – 9:45am

OPENING REMARKS

9:45am – 10:45am

PLENARY | Facing the Challenges of Data-Driven Decision-Making

Humanitarians are operating under unprecedented constraints and complexity. This session will reflect on the experience of decision-makers and their efforts to incorporate data into their work. With the proliferation of data and analysis, how do we decipher the signal from the noise, use creative approaches, and strengthen the throughline from data to decision-making?

11:15am – 12:45pm

BREAKOUT SESSION | Predicting the Impact of Conflict

This session will bring together perspectives from conflict experts. We will consider opportunities to develop and improve models that predict the humanitarian impacts of armed conflict on vulnerable populations, with a view to enabling their use in anticipatory action.

BREAKOUT SESSION | Simulating Risk-Based Decision-Making

Through an interactive simulation of a climate shock, participants will experience risk-informed decision-making and explore how to navigate the uncertainty of forecasts and the necessary trade-offs between speed and confidence.

BREAKOUT SESSION | Tactics for Sharing Data Responsibly

This session will surface best practices for ensuring the safe, ethical and effective management of data in complex operating environments. Experts will share examples of how the actions for data responsibility have been used to prevent harm and streamline data access for humanitarian partners.

BREAKOUT SESSION | Improving Data Quality

As greater quantities of data are being produced and used by humanitarians, developing a shared understanding of data quality is crucial. This session will investigate how quality is currently being assessed and communicated to data consumers, aligning on opportunities to increase the legibility of data quality across organisations.

BREAKOUT SESSION | Achieving Interoperability through Taxonomies and Standards

This session will examine efforts to address interoperability challenges to date, reflecting on improvements to data standardisation in the sector and beyond. On the basis of these advances and their impact, we will identify easy wins and longer term ambitions for consistency in the data produced and shared.

LUNCH

1:45pm – 2:30pm

PLENARY | AI & the Humanitarian Sector

This session will begin with an overview of AI’s current capabilities, followed by a discussion of the key considerations that should inform how humanitarians integrate AI into their work.

POCKETS OF THE FUTURE

What are pockets of the future?

In The Three Horizons model, ‘pockets of the future in the present’ show us ways to move beyond business-as-usual. They are examples of new ways of working that give us confidence that a new system is possible. Our ‘pockets of the future’ will showcase exciting new approaches, initiatives and products from across the humanitarian data community.

2:30pm – 3:30pm

POCKET OF THE FUTURE | Humanitarian Applications of AI

Reflections from humanitarian organisations on early efforts to use AI to improve operations and insights.

POCKET OF THE FUTURE | Tools for Data Responsibility

Case studies demonstrating the integration of technical tools, such as statistical disclosure control, allowing for the minimisation of risk and maximisation of benefit when working with sensitive data.

POCKET OF THE FUTURE | Innovations in Early Warning

A showcase of early warning systems, followed by a discussion on how insights from these systems can be used to better inform humanitarian action.

POCKET OF THE FUTURE | Storytelling for Impact

A discussion on the power of effective data-based, human-centred storytelling and how it can influence decision-makers and raise awareness of critical issues.


4:00pm – 5:00pm

POCKET OF THE FUTURE | Effortless Data Exchange through APIs

Case studies on APIs, with a discussion on how to make humanitarian data easier to integrate into multiple systems and products.

POCKET OF THE FUTURE | Estimating Populations

A closer look at different population datasets, followed by a discussion on the innovative ways they are being used by humanitarian organisations to understand needs and prioritise assistance.

POCKET OF THE FUTURE | Triggers for Anticipatory Action

Examples of how organisations are using data to power anticipatory approaches, from improving impact predictions of tropical storms to developing risk mitigation strategies with national authorities.

POCKET OF THE FUTURE | Making Use of Satellite Data

A showcase of satellite-derived data products, with a discussion on how to further advance satellite applications in the sector.

5:00pm – 6:00pm

RECEPTION

DAY 3 | FRIDAY 14TH JUNE

9:30am – 9:45am

OPENING REMARKS

9:45am – 10:45am

PLENARY | Powering the Transition

To quote Wendy Schultz, “you can’t control the future, but you can influence it, by what you choose to do, and what you choose not to do.” Having explored the possible futures for our humanitarian data system, and the challenges of today, this discussion will identify the shifts necessary to achieve our ambition. Recognising the constraints of our contextual environment, we will reflect on where we have agency to act and the energy required to fuel the transition.

11:15am – 12:30pm

BREAKOUT SESSION | Strengthening Our Data Foundations

In a persistently fragmented data landscape, this session seeks to articulate what data is essential for building a robust operating picture and how we can make the data available in a frictionless way. We will align on the elements of strong data foundations and identify the opportunities to further integrate critical data into workflows.

BREAKOUT SESSION | Defining Trustworthy Analysis

As more analysis is produced to influence humanitarian response, it is important to ensure it can be trusted. Following a shareback of initial findings from several analytical actors in the sector, we will explore how we can set basic standards for transparent, reproducible and credible analysis.

BREAKOUT SESSION | The Next Generation of Humanitarians

This session will consider the skill sets that will underpin the future of humanitarian work. What assumptions are we making about the roles that are required, and are there other capabilities that may be critical? We will seek consensus on where there are gaps in capacity and how we might bridge them in creative ways.

BREAKOUT SESSION | Partnerships to Power the Transition

Building on the thinking from across the forum, we will explore the diversity of partnerships needed to achieve a resilient humanitarian data ecosystem. How do we coordinate across the breadth of actors, ensuring we avoid duplication of efforts and remain aligned on our shared vision?

CLOSING REMARKS

Register

The forum is an invite-only event. Once you complete the registration form, we will be in touch to confirm participation.

Thank you for registering for the Humanitarian Data Forum. Once your registration has been confirmed, we will be in touch with a logistics note and further details on the event programme.

Humanitarian Data Forum