Direct and effective collaboration between the international humanitarian system and the volunteer and technical communities is needed to fully take advantage of the various new information technologies available to disaster and humanitarian response operations, a new U.N.-backed study says.
Mobile phones, satellites and other types of information technologies have grown vital to the humanitarian aid community, particularly in allowing a swift response in the immediate aftermath of natural disasters and other emergencies, according to the study, which is also backed by the U.N. Foundation and Vodafone Foundation.
But the study, dubbed “Disaster Relief 2.0: The Future of Information Sharing in Humanitarian Emergencies,” adds that the current structure of the humanitarian aid community and its relationship with the volunteer and technical communities is not well-positioned to take full advantage of these new technologies.
The report outlines a five-prong approach to creating an effective interface between the two:
- Establish a neutral forum where areas of agreement and conflict between the international system and the volunteer and technical communities can be identified. - Create an innovation space where new practices and tools can be explored as experiments. - Put together a deployable field team with a mandate to deploy the best available practices and tools from the volunteer and technical communities.- Put a research and training consortium that will evaluate the work on the ground and train humanitarian workers and members of the volunteer and technical communities on the best practices for information management in the humanitarian context. - Develop a “clear operational interface” outlining ways of collaborating before and during emergencies.
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