OCHA Policy and Studies Series

English
ISSN: 
2412-4524 (online)
http://dx.doi.org/10.18356/12cdeb7d-en
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The Policy and Studies Series provide an indepth analysis of humanitarian policy issues. They include information on normative developments, principles for humanitarian assistance, and advice on compliance and accountability.
 
Humanitarianism in the network age

Humanitarianism in the network age You do not have access to this content

English
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    http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/1bcee1e7-en.pdf
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Author(s):
UN
17 Oct 2013
Pages:
120
ISBN:
9789210561037 (PDF)
http://dx.doi.org/10.18356/1bcee1e7-en

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This publication explores how new ways of interacting are bringing people in need closer to people who can help. In rich and poor countries, people are connecting through technology at an accelerating pace. The report imagines how a world of increasingly informed, connected and self-reliant communities will affect the delivery of humanitarian aid. Its conclusions suggest a fundamental shift in power from capitals and headquarters to the people that aid agencies aim to assist. The included World Humanitarian Data and Trends present global and country-level data and analysis on humanitarian needs, response and trends.
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  • Acknowledgments
    OCHA wishes to acknowledge the contributions of its committed staff at headquarters and in the field in preparing and reviewing this publication.
  • Executive Summary
    In rich and poor countries, people are connecting through technology at an accelerating pace. In 2012, global mobile phone subscriptions topped 6 billion, including more than 1 billion smart phones, each with more computing power than NASA used to send a man to the moon. The planet has gone online, producing and sharing vast quantities of information.
  • Introduction
    In rich and poor countries, people are connecting through technology at an accelerating pace. In 2012, global mobile phone subscriptions topped 6 billion—including more than 1 billion smart phones, each with more computing power than NASA used to send a man to the moon. The planet has gone online, producing and sharing vast quantities of information.
  • The Network Age
    On 6 August 2012, floodwaters surged through the Cavite neighbourhood of Manila, the capital of the Philippines, stranding Kassy Pajarillo’s mother and grandmother. They both called Kassy’s mobile phone to ask her for help.
  • Humanitarian information in the network age
    Regular information channels fail in the chaos of a crisis, such as an earthquake or a war. Key people may have died, and information infrastructure, such as cellular and Internet links, may not work. Essential personnel may be inaccessible and Government offices closed or, as in Haiti, destroyed. Community level structures, such as mandated village evacuation points, may be overwhelmed. Where conflict is under way, the generation and collection of information might pose serious risks. Many countries have poor baseline data or a limited ability to access the right information quickly, as needed in an emergency.
  • Adaptation and change
    The previous chapters focused on the changes that characterize the network age, and how new ideas and technologies can improve communications among the increasing array of humanitarian actors. Against this backdrop of change, humanitarian action is already adapting. Three forms of adaptation outlined below can help humanitarian organizations take advantage of the opportunities available.
  • Conclusions and recommendations
    The previous chapter highlighted changes made by Governments and humanitarian responders to adapt to the network age. But there is a need for more concerted action to build on these early ideas and to build partnerships that deliver results.
  • Further operational recommendations
    Incorporate in existing disaster management legislation, and/or other relevant guidelines, a commitment to restore and support communications networks as a humanitarian priority.
  • Glossary
    3W (Who’s doing what where)/4W (Who’s doing what where when) Information collection and exchange matrices for humanitarian agencies to report on their activities. This is intended to provide humanitarian actors with a clear picture of who’s doing what where (3W) and when (4W).
  • References
  • World humanitarian data and trends 2012
    World Humanitarian Data and Trends presents global and country-level data and trend analysis relevant to humanitarian assistance. Its purpose is to bring this information together in one place and present it in an accessible way. It is intended to establish a common baseline of humanitarian data that can be built on in future years and allow for comparisons across time. This data can be used to help support humanitarian policy decisions and provide country-level context that can support operational decision-making.
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