By Cyber Era NG Special Correspondent
The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR and the World Bank have signed a new global data sharing framework agreement that will provide both organisations with quicker access to data, improving the timeliness of humanitarian aid and development assistance, and help strengthen protection of forcibly displaced and stateless people.
The global Framework Data Sharing Agreement will facilitate timely access to data related to the socio-economic condition of refugees, internally displaced and stateless populations, enabling the World Bank to design targeted programmes that build long-term economic resilience and individual potential. At the same time, access to World Bank country data can inform UNHCR’s assistance to forcibly displaced and stateless people as well as host communities.
‘The majority of those forcibly displaced are hosted in low- and middle-income countries, creating a development challenge as conflicts and wars remain unresolved,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi who signed the agreement today. “Ensuring that refugees have access to education, healthcare and livelihoods gives them hope for a better future. This agreement will strengthen our analytical capacity and help our teams gather and responsibly share robust evidence to inform our programmes.”
“The scale, complexity, and speed of challenges associated with forced displacement require longer-term development support as well as immediate aid,” said the World Bank’s Managing Director for Operations Anna Bjerde. “The new global Framework Data Sharing Agreement will be vital to this approach, and marks another important milestone in our collaboration with UNHCR.”
The agreement builds on existing data partnerships between the World Bank Group and UNHCR, including the Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement and the joint initiative between UNHCR and IFC to create inclusive economic opportunities that benefit refugees and their host communities. Most recently, the World Bank and UNHCR undertook high-frequency surveys to study COVID-19’s impact on refugees and host communities in several countries. The agreement incorporates safeguards in line with international practice and the parties’ data protection and privacy frameworks.
“In settings where weeks matter in saving lives and reducing suffering, this agreement will cut down substantially the amount of time it takes to share data between the two organizations at the country level,” said Head of the World Bank-UNHCR Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement, Björn Gillsäter which facilitated the agreement. “It will allow us to develop evidence-based policy recommendations more quickly.”
Anticipated uses of data sharing under the agreement include generating sampling frames for forthcoming surveys by leveraging UNHCR’s proGres registration database for refugees. Access to refugee data also facilitates the inclusion of forcibly displaced and stateless people into development programming. Sharing statistics between both organizations will also allow for better analysis and programmatic planning of responses for refugees and host communities in locations where both organizations operate.