Can We Define What Humanitarian Data Is?

At a Humanitarian Stakeholder’s Workshop held in 2013 it was generally agreed that it would be useful for some sort of marker to be added to the IATI Standard in order that humanitarian data can be easily identified. However, there was much discussion and as yet no agreement on what the properties of Humanitarian data are in order that it can be distinguished from other development data?

All suggestions are welcome. For the purposes of the IATI standard we could agree that identification of data as ‘Humanitarian’ is simply left to the discretion of the data owner. However, it would be good to explore at least what some of those common properties might be?

I think these are some of the common properties:

  • Centred around short-/medium-term crisis response (and preparation/recovery) rather than long-term social/economic/political development goals.
  • Shorter planning and implementation windows.
  • Often (not always) coordinated through the humanitarian cluster system.

There’s some overlap, especially during the early-recovery phase (when some of the work is similar to development work — e.g. (re)building schools — but generally with shorter windows).