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The rapid emergence and adoption of digital information communication technologies (ICTs), combined with the ever-increasing dependence of all sectors of society on digital data, has redefined and reimagined the role humanitarian actors play before, during, and after a crisis occurs. While providing new opportunities for decision-making and delivery support related to aid, the growing reliance on ICTs and digital data by responders both magnifies existing challenges and creates new tensions for humanitarians around the world.
Foundational humanitarian ethical, moral, legal, and policy frameworks have not yet sufficiently evolved to address these critical tensions. Perhaps more problematic, the “humanitarian innovation” narrative has fostered a move by many humanitarian actors away from the Principles of Geneva and toward the Values of Silicon Valley. This move has undermined efforts to professionalize the use of ICTs and data and, as recent cases demonstrate, created space for significant risk and potential harm to affected populations and crisis responders alike.
This panel will propose how to professionalize the use of ICT’s and data in humanitarian response, drawing on practical case studies and experience from a range of different humanitarian actors.