510 initiator Maarten Van der Veen was invited to be part of the panel at COHAFA working group Tallin. The Council working partly on Humanitarian Aid and Food Aid (COHAFA) is the main forum within the EU for strategic and policy debate on humanitarian aid between the EU Member States and the European Commission.
The group meets monthly, and calls for additional emergency meetings in response to major sudden crises. At the meetings, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) and the EU Member States exchange information on humanitarian crisis situations and assess humanitarian needs. They also seek to improve the coherence of aid efforts at EU and global levels.

Below are the 3 insights Maarten brought to the panel.


  • An awareness of “Data Culture” is needed to see the potential disruption that data can have to humanitarian organizations. Data literacy should be built across the entire humanitarian ecosystem, at all levels from management to aid workers. Data capacities should be established and localized. Remote international data support can be useful if local capacities are insufficient. Data expertise should be a core capacity of humanitarian organizations who operate in humanitarian response. Capacity should therefore better be insourced instead of problems outsourced. Knowledge institutes can support the development and execution of a data research agenda. Private sector companies can contribute skills and tools and in few cases data. Governments can promote the use of open data and remove blockers.


  • Data preparedness should be a joint effort between development and humanitarian organizations. Investing in data pre-disaster, will help us identify and target the most vulnerable, do early warning and early action in the midst of a disaster, and prioritize humanitarian relief after a disaster. Development and humanitarian organizations should therefore go beyond reporting open data for IATI, and work with governments to build data collaboratives for the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai framework for DRR.


  • Data responsibility is key to ensure the applicability of the fundamental humanitarian principles in the 21st century and to do no harm. While the new EU General Data Protection Regulation is an important step to enhanced transparency, data responsibility takes into account ethical considerations that go beyond compliance. New policies, exchange of experiences and debates about what is considered responsible when using data are needed.




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