Humanitarian organizations face increased incentives to collect and share data for various purposes such as more efficient service provision, accountability and transparency. At the same time, they have to ensure that data is only used for humanitarian purposes and does not cause harm to vulnerable populations. An important aspect of these efforts is the role that donors play in financing and requesting data about humanitarian operations.

In September 2021, the Government of Switzerland, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Centre for Humanitarian Data convened a virtual Wilton Park meeting on responsible data sharing with donors under the banner of the Humanitarian Data and Trust Initiative (HDTI). Below we summarize the results of the research and consultation to create a framework for responsible data sharing between humanitarian organizations and donors. 

The consultation consisted of two parts:

  • Part I took stock of the research on the risks and constraints associated with humanitarian data sharing as well as related donor objectives and practices. Research conducted by the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) assessed how risks related to data sharing with donors may materialize in practice. Research by the University of Manchester’s Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) focused on how and why donor governments request data from humanitarian actors. Together, these studies engaged over 50 humanitarian and donor representatives across headquarters and field locations.
  • Part 2 focused on the review of a draft ‘Principled Framework for Responsible Data Sharing Between Humanitarian Organizations and Donors.’ This framework aims to reinforce the overarching commitment to ‘do no harm’ while maximizing the benefits of data sharing between humanitarian organizations and donors.

The HDTI committed to the following activities based on the recommendations that emerged:

  1. Presentation at the UN World Data Forum: The HDTI held a high-level side-event at the UN World Data Forum in Bern, Switzerland in October 2021, detailing outcomes to-date and next steps for the HDTI-Wilton Park dialogue process.
  2. Revision of the framework: Based on feedback during the Wilton Park dialogue process, the revised framework will be circulated with donors and humanitarian organizations for an additional round of review in mid-February. The open review period will last for one month. 
  3. Finalization and endorsement of the framework: The final draft of the Framework will be shared with donors and humanitarian organizations for endorsement in April 2022. Endorsement will be handled on a rolling basis. 

Learn more about this work and download the Wilton Park report here

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