The Data Responsibility Working Group (DRWG) is a global coordination body working to advance data responsibility across the humanitarian system. It brings together a diverse group of stakeholders including United Nations (UN) entities, other International Organizations (IOs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and other stakeholders engaged in the coordination and implementation of humanitarian action. The DRWG began as an Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Sub-Group in 2020 and transitioned into a system-wide working group in early 2021. The primary aim of the DRWG is to coordinate, support, and monitor collective action on data responsibility, primarily through the lens of the IASC Operational Guidance on Data Responsibility in Humanitarian Action released in February 2021.
Data Responsibility in Humanitarian Action
Data responsibility in humanitarian action is the safe, ethical and effective management of personal and non-personal data for operational response. It is a critical issue for the humanitarian system to address and the stakes are high.
Ensuring we minimize the risks while maximizing the benefits of data management in humanitarian settings requires a continued shift in practice and collective action that extends across and beyond humanitarian organizations. While each organization is responsible for its own data, humanitarians need to work together to uphold a high standard for data responsibility in different operating environments. The IASC Operational Guidance on Data Responsibility in Humanitarian Action offers a framework for collective action in this area.
Activities of the Data Responsibility Working Group
The DRWG coordinates and monitors progress on the implementation of data responsibility in humanitarian action through the following activities:
Convening a quarterly call with members to discuss challenges, opportunities, and progress on the implementation of different actions for data responsibility. These calls focus on sharing information, lessons learned on the use of the IASC Operational Guidance in different operational settings, and related work products of the DRWG.
Offering briefings on data responsibility to global and regional entities, and country-level coordination bodies, e.g., the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group (ICCG), the Inter-Cluster Coordination Mechanism (ICCM), the Inter-Sector Working Group (ISWG), and/or the Information Management Working Group (IMWG).
Contributing to the dissemination of the IASC Operational Guidance and further development of templates and tools for country-level action as required. This includes the templates and tools referenced in the IASC Operational Guidance on Data Responsibility, which are designed to be updated on a rolling basis.
Monitoring feedback on the IASC Operational Guidance and ensuring that it directly informs the future revision of the Guidance.
Collaborating to support existing capacity building initiatives on data responsibility in operational settings.
Engaging in joint advocacy on data responsibility issues that require amplification at the global level. This could include advocacy on specific operational or policy issues, or advocacy concerning barriers to data responsibility in different settings.
Coordination and Secretariat
The DRWG is co-chaired by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The co-chairs of the DRWG may be revisited on an annual basis.
The OCHA Centre for Humanitarian Data (the Centre) serves as the secretariat of the DRWG. The secretariat organizes meetings, drafts and distributes the agenda and action points, monitors progress of the implementation of action points, maintains a contact list of DRWG members, creates and maintains a DRWG page on HumanitarianResponse.info, prepares materials for distribution to the DRWG, and facilitates the flow of information with other bodies as needed.
The DRWG aims to bring together a diverse group of organizations, roles, and functions involved in the coordination and implementation of humanitarian action, since data responsibility requires wide-ranging buy-in and participation. These include, for example, Program Managers and Officers, cluster/sector Coordinators or Leads, members of cluster/sector Steering Committees (SC) and Strategic Advisory Groups (SAGs), and Technical Staff. Members of the DRWG commit to the following:
Serve as the focal point for their organization on all matters related to the DRWG, e.g., by supporting internal communication and coordination on their organization's participation in the DRWG and its engagement in different activities initiated by the DRWG.
Participate in the activities of the DRWG as outlined above and contribute individual expertise where necessary. Where relevant and feasible, members may also identify other staff within their organization to contribute complementary expertise to different activities.
Identify and support connections between DRWG activities and other related or complementary initiatives.
Individuals interested in joining the DRWG on behalf of their organization are invited to contact the Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org.