European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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Do No Digital Harm: Toward Data Responsibility in Humanitarian Action

A refugee woman at a UNHCR registration point with IRIS recognition technology © Mohammad Hawari, UNHCR Jordan

Humanitarian organisations collect and share more data than ever before. How the humanitarian community handles this data revolution to inform decisions and improve lives will be a key determinant of its future effectiveness.

In order to ‘do no harm’, humanitarians must be able to navigate the technical and ethical issues involved with working with data about crisis-affected people. Data responsibility involves understanding the risks and harm that can come from collecting and processing data about affected people and making informed decisions about storing and using such data.

During the Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Week (HNPW), the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department (ECHO) will host a panel discussion on Data Responsibility in Humanitarian Action, jointly with OCHA, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The event will bring together senior leaders from the humanitarian community, private sector, and government to discuss concrete interventions to promote data responsibility in the humanitarian sector.


Opening remarks, keynote speech, and moderation: Androulla Kaminara, Director, the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department (ECHO)


  • Nathaniel Raymond, Professor at Jackson Institute, Yale University
  • Sarah Telford, Lead, OCHA Centre for Humanitarian Data
  • Massimo Marelli, Head of Data Protection Office, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
  • Christine Knudsen, Executive Director, Sphere

Closing remarks: Ursula Mueller, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, UN OCHA

Date: Wednesday, 6 February 2019 from 11:00 to 12:30
Location: International Conference Centre of Geneva. Map here.

HNPW is a free event for emergency preparedness and response professionals. Register online to reserve your place.

Last updated 25/02/2019