The Centre for Humanitarian Data

The Centre for Humanitarian Data is focused on increasing the use and impact of data in the humanitarian sector. It is managed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). As part of OCHA’s Information Management Branch, the Centre’s role is to enable the organization to deliver on its ambition to be more data-driven and analytical, and to ensure a responsible approach to technology and data management.  

The Centre’s operations are organized around four workstreams: data servicesdata sciencedata responsibility and learning and practice. Our support is provided to OCHA staff and partners, with a priority focus on locations with humanitarian operations. 

The Centre’s work has become more relevant and essential since it was created in 2017. Data is now firmly on the agenda of the United Nations with the creation in 2020 of the Secretary-General’s Data Strategy, which seeks to “unlock the data potential of the UN family to better support people and planet.” Our Common Agenda commits the organization to a United Nations 2.0 that prioritizes data, digital, innovation, strategic foresight and behavioural science. 

Similarly, demand for better data and analysis has grown in the humanitarian sector as it contends with unprecedented needs and insufficient funds. Humanitarianism is also facing a reckoning as calls for localization and decolonization require a radical reimagining of the sector. In this context, data is more powerful than ever, and the stakes have never been higher with over 330 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in 2023.

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