Information Management (IM) has been identified as a core responsibility of UNHCR by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and is also endorsed as a special project for the organization throughout 2012–2014. The Emergency Information Management Guidance Notes and Toolkit (hereafter “Toolkit”) is one of many steps towards operationalizing information management within UNHCR.
This Toolkit presents UNHCR information and data management advice and tools meant to inform a coordinated humanitarian response during the first two to four months of a refugee emergency.
The Toolkit is not intended to be an exhaustive resource on information and data management. Instead, the Toolkit offers information and data management guidance for emergency situations, and also provides a set of practical tools for use by anyone responding to the first phase of a refugee emergency. Where available, examples from the field of specific tools have been provided; in some cases, references for additional information on core UNHCR sectors are also cited.
This Toolkit should be treated as an information management addendum to UNHCR emergency response guidance already in existence. The overall objectives of the Toolkit are to enable evidence-based decisionmaking to support UNHCR’s coordination role in refugee emergencies, and to enhance the targeting of emergency assistance and resources for persons of concern.
Organization of the Toolkit
The Toolkit is divided into sections covering core information management functions and activities in the first phase of a refugee emergency. The sections are inter-connected, and it is intended that Toolkit users will move back and forth throughout the document depending on their specific needs and knowledge of information management. Each section of the Toolkit may also be referenced alone and located by using the index at the beginning.
A brief overview of core IM objectives and activities is provided in each section, followed by a “how-to” guide for undertaking IM functions. Practical IM tools to be used in emergency IM response have been included for each section. Where possible, examples of IM tools that have been used by UNHCR operations throughout the world have also been included in each section. For additional information, the Toolkit provides reference documents and links for supporting information in greater detail.
Updating and Maintaining the Toolkit
The Emergency Information Management Toolkit will remain a fluid collection of documents and tools, to be updated as required based on the evolution of information management practices, innovations in UNHCR field operations and new global-level standards.