UNOPS

22/12/2017

Putting data to work for people in crisis

New Centre for Humanitarian Data to drive more effective responses to the needs of affected populations.

"OCHA's new Centre for Humanitarian Data is a signpost to a future in which the technologies that are revolutionizing every aspect of our lives will be harnessed to help and support vulnerable people all over the world," said UN Secretary-General, António Guterres.

Spearheaded by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in cooperation with the Government of the Netherlands and the city of The Hague, the Centre for Humanitarian Data held its official opening on 22 December.

"When people see suffering, in other places, the natural human reaction is to want to help. With today's technology we have the chance to identify problems as they appear," said Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator for OCHA, from the opening in The Hague.

The Centre builds upon OCHA's Humanitarian Data Exchange, the organization's open platform for sharing data since 2014, which is collected from 335 organizations.

UNOPS is providing administrative services for the new Centre, including HR, recruitment and procurement. Vitaly Vanshelboim, UNOPS Deputy Executive, attended Friday's launch.

"The Centre for Humanitarian Data is the next leg of this journey," USG Lowcock continued. "Going far beyond the Humanitarian Data Exchange, it aims to use high-quality data to identify and predict humanitarian problems … and to enable responders to take action much faster, better, and more cheaply than is possible at the moment."

The Centre will utilize and promote data standards, such as the Humanitarian Exchange Language and the International Aid Transparency Initiative – both of which are supported by UNOPS.

Programming and training to increase data literacy among those involved in humanitarian assistance, though the Data Fellow Programme, is set to launch through the Centre in 2018.

Communities, both virtual and at the Centre, will work together on specific data challenges, with resources agreements being developed to share data among academic, civil society and the private sectors during crises.​