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Im Course Assignment 2 A Lubkovskaya Humlog

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Im Course Assignment 2 A Lubkovskaya Humlog

  1. 1. Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program, University of Lugano, Switzerland Information Systems and Management Assignment IM Challenges Based on the results of the Global Simposium+5 Information for Humanitarian Action Prepared by: Anastasia Lubkovskaya
  2. 2. Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program, University of Lugano, Switzerland <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>The power of information comes from its ability to shed light on past and current events and to shape future action. In the humanitarian field, information can save lives, and a lack of information can cause lives to be lost. </li></ul><ul><li>Humanitarian community recognizes the power of information, and acknowledges that information empowers. </li></ul><ul><li>“ With the ever-changing humanitarian landscape, challenges and opportunities continue to characterize the humanitarian community’s ability to share, manage and exchange information. While timely, relevant and reliable information remains central to effective humanitarian coordination and response, users increasingly expect information to support evidence based advocacy, decision-making and resource allocation.” </li></ul><ul><li>Global Symposium +5 on Information for Humanitarian Action, FINAL REPORT </li></ul>
  3. 3. Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program, University of Lugano, Switzerland <ul><li>Eight key themes </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic use of information and analysis; </li></ul><ul><li>Communications with affected communities; </li></ul><ul><li>Standards; </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration and partnerships; </li></ul><ul><li>Preparedness; </li></ul><ul><li>Professionalization; </li></ul><ul><li>Technology and innovation; </li></ul><ul><li>Capacity-building; </li></ul>
  4. 4. Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program, University of Lugano, Switzerland <ul><li>All the key areas have equal importance, and in general, are interlinked between each other; </li></ul><ul><li>Each of the themes can be a hot topic discussion and very relevant for the realities of disaster preparedness, response and recovery </li></ul><ul><li>The themes I would like to stress my attention on are the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategic use of information and analysis; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communications with affected communities; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Standards </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program, University of Lugano, Switzerland <ul><li>Strategic use of information and analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Key challenges are the following: </li></ul><ul><li>To know the best practice around defining in advance the purposes of information end products: internal/external use: </li></ul><ul><li>Sitreps, information letters, bulletins, press releases; </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment reports and surveys </li></ul><ul><li>Possible solutions : To design the most appropriate analytical methodologies and identify compatible data and information collection processes to build a sound evidence base </li></ul><ul><li>The needs and interests of decision makers and/or target audiences </li></ul><ul><li>The fundraising targeting article content will differ from regular sitrap: </li></ul><ul><li>Example: for World Vision fundraising article (Story) will have to contain photos of affected population, Quote or story of real person affected by disaster, while sitrep language and content may be more informative containing geographical locations, figures and data. </li></ul><ul><li>Possible solutions: Information products must be presented in usable and understandable formats from the end-user perspective, conveying clearly the critical information upon which to base decisions </li></ul>
  6. 6. Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program, University of Lugano, Switzerland <ul><li>Strategic use of information and analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Key challenges are the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Possible overflow of information and difficulty to distinct the reliable information sources may challenge ability of decision makers during emergency response to stay focused and make strategic moves. </li></ul><ul><li>Possible solutions : While working for Logistics Cluster, I had chance to participate in few emergency responses as part of Logistics Cluster and UNJLC. UNJLC is tasked to perform Information Management service for the Logistics cluster. That would include logistics data collection, processing/analysis and dissemination. Credibility of the source was extremely important for the Cluster leadership and participants there fore there was a tendency to use analysis from the UNJLC itself or signed in participant organizations or from a selection of trusted sources </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of proper information analysis as result of lack of sufficient data may affect strategic decision making </li></ul><ul><li>Possible solutions : Develop improved methods for assessments and humanitarian classification at all levels, with the goal of reaching a higher degree of comparability over time and space and incorporating these methods into decision-making processes at global, regional, national and local levels. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program, University of Lugano, Switzerland <ul><li>Lack of quantitative data for the analysis may weaken the strategy of response </li></ul><ul><li>Possible solutions : Accelerate the development of a phased assessment process comprising techniques such as rapid proxy indicator assessments and multi-cluster assessments. Increase participation and inclusiveness: shouldn’t be just UN exercise. This can be achieved through multi-cluster assessments. </li></ul><ul><li>When looking at issues of information management in frames of Cluster approach, I would rather focus on human factors then the systems itself: the acceptance and impacts on individuals, organizations and humanitarian community. </li></ul><ul><li>A good information management system during the emergency response aims to increase the access to valuable information and decrease the stress of being swamped. It suppose to make life easier. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program, University of Lugano, Switzerland <ul><li>Communications with affected communities </li></ul><ul><li>One partnership often neglected is between the humanitarian community and affected communities and affected populations can be seen just as tragic victims and the passive recipients of external assistance. </li></ul><ul><li>Possible solutions: We as humanitarians have to change our mindset and how we see affected communities, because they are also the best source of first-hand information and knowledge needed by the humanitarian community </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of two-way information flow and the importance of providing information back to those the humanitarian community is serving and assisting. </li></ul><ul><li>Possible solutions: While preparing response many international humanitarian organizations do not actively involve affected communities in IM processes and do not include their representatives in planning, assessments, operations and program evaluation. Local authorities and affected communities must be recognized as decision makers with ultimate responsibility, and therefore must be provided with the best and most useful information to ensure fast recovery and self-sufficiency. Face-to-face interaction and communication with affected populations, as well as on-the-ground observation and assessment of their conditions and needs, are the most appropriate ways of creating knowledge for humanitarian </li></ul><ul><li>organizations. To share information with affected communities, it must be conveyed in the local languages and even sub-national and ethnic dialects. In order to reach affected communities who are usually cut off from ICT infrastructure, information must be disseminated using alternative media, such as radio, community meetings, public bulletin boards, mobile phone technologies </li></ul>
  9. 9. Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program, University of Lugano, Switzerland <ul><li>Importance of Preparedness </li></ul><ul><li>Preparedness in the context of humanitarian information refers mainly to having tools and systems with agreed standards and methodologies for data collection established well in advance of an emergency. </li></ul><ul><li>There is no common assessment tool, often time information collected is duplicated or not complete, so there is lot to be done in order to come up with one generic multi sectoral tool which can be fast adopted by country context when needed. </li></ul><ul><li>There is often little agreement on which data and indicators will be used as baselines and considered authoritative, so time in between disasters would be the best for key humanitarian player to agree and look for common ground. </li></ul><ul><li>Emergency preparedness related to humanitarian information means ensuring that data, information and analysis can be readily available at the earliest stages to shape decisions for planning, response, and recovery. Preparedness measures such as baseline data acquisition and classification for high-risk areas, national-level capacity-building, and the formation of </li></ul><ul><li>institutional collaboration and information-exchange relationships would enable information managers and analysts to effectively support assistance efforts once an emergency begins. Preparedness should also include planning for exit strategies and transfer of knowledge and ICT capabilities to national and local entities. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: As a confirmation that humanitarian community not only verbally supports preparedness but actually acts upon what is being promised, I can provide example of preparedness work which is done by Humanitarian country team in Mozambique in coordination with INGC (Ministry in charge of emergency response). OCHA have seconded staff member to INGC to work with local counterparts in developing emergency information management systems and spending lot of time in contingency planing and interacting with key stakeholders </li></ul>
  10. 10. Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program, University of Lugano, Switzerland <ul><li>Service Directory </li></ul><ul><li>Develop local, national, regional and international user-friendly directories, inventories and information sharing systems for the exchange of best practices, cost-effective and easy-to-use humanitarian IM technologies, and lessons learned on policies, plans and measures for their application. </li></ul><ul><li>The recommendation of the symposium is very valuable and quite easy to implement on the cluster level. Each field cluster operates extensive number of materials related to preparedness: contingency plans, inventories, guidelines, contact lists, assessments and surveys. </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct simulation exercises for relevant staff prior to emergencies in order to test plans, reinforce best practices, and promote teamwork and coordination. Simulation exercises are also a good opportunity to test IM procedures and new and unproved technologies and systems. Logistics Cluster as example, is conducting regular simulation exercises which take place in Brindisi, Italy. This is the playground where the information management tools are tested and inter-agency teams are learning to maximize IM utilization. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program, University of Lugano, Switzerland <ul><li>IM Standards </li></ul><ul><li>Key challenges are the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Broad interpretation of the definition of standards through out the humanitarian practitioners from concepts of standards being the principles that should be agreed upon to define quality and best practice in humanitarian information to the technical IM prerequisites that should be agreed upon, such as common classification systems, terminology and metadata–which would support compatibility, comparability and interoperability of information and data. </li></ul><ul><li>Proposed solution: To search for agreement around standards would be a prerequisite to managing information across sectors or clusters, in order for the humanitarian community to support the production of analysis and information that is strategically helpful to decision makers, including cluster leads, HCs, heads of INGOs, donor representatives and governments. </li></ul><ul><li>The top-down approach to standardization, whereby standards are developed at the global level in the humanitarian community to ensure support for adoption and promulgation at decision-making levels and thereby the integration and widest adoption and use of standards throughout the system; </li></ul><ul><li>The bottom-up approach which comprises organically evolving standards based on grass-roots adoption, value and suitability for local needs. </li></ul><ul><li>Proposed solution: It is proven with experience that procedures and policies brought with top-down approach without adaptation to local context often time not effective and rejected by the field. The middle way approach has to be found when standards being stewarded at the global level and field colleagues actively engaged in standards development that have been field-tested and recognized as good practice that has proven functional in the operational environment. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program, University of Lugano, Switzerland <ul><li>IM Standards </li></ul><ul><li>Basic Information Reporting Standards </li></ul><ul><li>Date/Time Stamp (date the information was collected and frequency - date range) </li></ul><ul><li>Geo-reference (region, country, 1st administrative unit, 2nd administrative unit, population centre, latitude / longitude) </li></ul><ul><li>Source of information (provider - collector) </li></ul><ul><li>Information about the data (measurements, methodology, terms, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Building an information system based on P-codes </li></ul>
  13. 13. Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program, University of Lugano, Switzerland Principles of Humanitarian Information Management and Exchange Reliability Inclusiveness Accessibility Accountability Interoperability Impartiality Relevance Sustainability Humanity Timeliness Confidentiality Reciprocity Verifiability
  14. 14. Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program, University of Lugano, Switzerland <ul><li>Accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>Humanitarian information and data should be made accessible to all humanitarian actors by applying easy-to-use formats and by translating information into common or local languages. Information and data for humanitarian purposes should be made widely available through a variety of online and offline distribution channels, including the media. </li></ul><ul><li>________________________________________________________ </li></ul><ul><li>Access to information is crucial for the effective management of disasters. All those who are concerned with managing disasters necessarily have the need to access timely and accurate information. </li></ul><ul><li>Often a considerable amount of resources is spent on just finding the relevant information. This happens because the information is stored redundantly in several places and in several formats. </li></ul><ul><li>Maps and spatial information are important components of the overall information in case of any disaster event (flood, earthquake, cyclone, landslide, wildfire, famine, and so forth). Hence mapping and spatial information acquisition becomes vital for any disaster management effort. In general, GIS can be used in any part of the disaster management cycle; namely disaster preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation. But one important need for any disaster management effort is to have the spatial information accessible to a larger group of people, in a fast, easy and cost-effective manner. </li></ul><ul><li>As part of my work with Logistics Cluster, I observed how GIS is applied by UNJLC and find it very useful and participatory. When Cluster Participants provide information and becoming part of data collection and representation: logistics maps, air operations maps; </li></ul>
  15. 15. Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program, University of Lugano, Switzerland <ul><li>There is more to information than collection and management – it must also be disseminated and made available in such a way as to ensure easy accessibility by users and that it be useable. </li></ul><ul><li>The technical nature of this type of discussion necessitated due attention to matching user needs and their own approaches with information retrieval, all with a view to developing an information architecture (that is, a web site layout) that can facilitate “intuitive access” from the user’s perspective. </li></ul><ul><li>Despite the proliferation of technological solutions to information management issues, the failure rate for solutions is still higher than the rate of success. Even those information management solutions that were meant to fill a specific need often fail to achieve their objectives when the fundamental component – regard for the users and their needs – is overlooked. </li></ul><ul><li>This phenomenon is not specific to humanitarian information, and it is evident that the development of efficient information management systems is more often focused on timely and effective responses than on user needs. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program, University of Lugano, Switzerland <ul><li>Inclusiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Information management and exchange should be based on collaboration, partnership and sharing with a high degree of participation and ownership by multiple stakeholders, including national and local governments and, especially, affected communities whose information needs should equally be taken into account </li></ul>Benefits of Sharing Information <ul><li>Creates a shared understanding of the situation for decision-making, supporting coordination activities </li></ul><ul><li>Makes a wider range of resources available to individual organisations – more than they could develop by themselves </li></ul><ul><ul><li>individual organisations projects more effective </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Builds relations between organisations which will support future cooperation </li></ul>
  17. 17. Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program, University of Lugano, Switzerland <ul><li>Privacy . For example, refugees being registered have a right to privacy, i.e. their details should not be publicly available. </li></ul><ul><li>Security . For example, where there is an ongoing conflict it may not be possible for the security forces – UN, INGOs or otherwise – to reveal everything they know without jeopardizing their own operations. </li></ul><ul><li>Sensitivity . For example, IDPs are a politically difficult issue both within a country and for the humanitarian community. Mapping conflict or ethnic groups is often requested – but the outputs can be misused for political reasons. </li></ul><ul><li>Confidentiality . For example, should the amount of funding an agency has be general knowledge? Or is it an internal matter only? This can impact on the capture of information on who’s doing what where. </li></ul><ul><li>Quality . For example, if data has been gathered but the survey methodology was poor, it may be better not to release the data at all, otherwise people may be misled by it. </li></ul>Data Security Issues
  18. 18. Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management Program, University of Lugano, Switzerland <ul><li>Summary </li></ul><ul><li>There is a wide spread of information management initiatives: tools, web platforms, websites, however the humanitarian community still faces many of the challenges when it comes to information management during emergency responses. </li></ul><ul><li>Information practitioners still struggle with information overload, incompatible technologies, nonstandard data sets, lack of resources and competing policies and mandates. </li></ul><ul><li>Changing the culture of information exchange within the humanitarian community still has a long way to go. Information sharing by various partners remains voluntary and based on goodwill rather than on enforced agreements. There is no accountability in not sharing information. </li></ul>

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