UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), also known as drones, are used more and more in various fields for imagery, transport and other purposes. Humanitarian organizations, but also actors not traditionally involved in humanitarian action have started to use these tools in humanitarian settings as well. Hopes are high that drones will strongly improve humanitarians’ capacity to assess needs, monitor changes on the ground and even to deliver relief items. At the same time, critics voice their skepticism regarding the actual usefulness of drones in humanitarian settings. We are addressing these questions from different angles:
Drone Technologies and their Applications
The knowledge base regarding the use of drones in humanitarian settings is quite thin. We are working with civil protection and humanitarian organisations that have used or worked with drones in the past to document and share their insights and learnings with the humanitarian community at large.
To this end we are publishing case studies that evaluate past deployments in humanitarian settings.
Legislations and Regulations
We are researching the current regulations of 30 of the most disaster prone countries in the world. The database can be accessed here: wiki.uaviators.org/doku.php
Research on Perception
A survey was circulated through humanitarian networks to understand the perception and the level of experience on the use of drones by staff from organisations involved with humanitarian aid and civil protection.
Building the knowledge base
In the second phase of the initiative, we are expanding the knowledge base by deploying drones in collaboration with partner organisations. The findings and lessons learned will also be shared with the humanitarian community.
A first deployment took place during the Trimodex exercise in France and more deployments are planned.
Stakeholder Discussions and Sharing of Experiences
Following the research of case studies we will hold stakeholder sessions in Geneva and elsewhere to share the information and discuss outstanding issues and ways forward for the safe and appropriate integration of drones in humanitarian work. All outputs will be published through this website and the Humanitarian UAV Network.
For those interested in receiving the publications or participating in stakeholder sessions, please contact Denise Soesilo at firstname.lastname@example.org
Drones in Humanitarian Action is supported by DG ECHO.