Humanitarian UAV Guidelines on Effective Partnerships
Relevant partnerships can be established between actors who need and provide humanitarian or development data and/or humanitarian or development cargo services (including national and local governments; the UN and NGOs).
For UAV operators/providers/volunteers looking for humanitarian partners:
In general, experience has shown that the most useful UAV uses in disasters are those uses that are carried out in partnership with a sponsoring organization or agency, where the UAV operator acts based on the needs of the sponsor organization who knows the overall context of the disaster. In the context of conflict, UAV operators must onlyoperate in partnership and under the strict guidance of sponsoring organizations or agencies.
In disaster response and preparedness settings, UAV operators seeking a partnership should:
- Find a sponsoring humanitarian/development organization, ideally prior to a crisis.
- Develop your mission(s) in tandem with sponsoring organization efforts to assist the affected community and work through the sponsoring organization to engage with the community.
- Understand the context of the overall humanitarian emergency or development context and position yourself and your equipment as to not become a liability.
- Some organizations will not have the capacity or ability to engage you in a conversation about the utility of your technology, particularly during crisis response. Be prepared to take no for an answer.
For organizations looking to partner with UAV groups:
- Assess utility of UAVs in addressing needs of affected communities and consider making partnerships prior to crises (standby partnerships, letters of mutual intent, MOUs, implementing partner agreements, etc.). In a crisis, be aware of local operators who are acting independently and in good faith and consider efforts to reach out to them to bring them into coordinated humanitarian efforts.
- Select a company or organization with compatible principles, taking note of the overall framework for operation of UAVs in humanitarian contexts outlined above. Prioritize partnerships with local operators. Transparency with respect to objectives and funding is important to gauge the suitability of partners. When exploring partnership possibilities, be sure to identify who will cover travel/shipping costs, import/export devices, secure insurance, obtain waivers/permissions, analyze the resulting data, etc.
- Define the terms and duration of your partnership, including community engagement principles, responsible data management and interoperability, data protection, data ownership and publicity rights during and after the partnership has ended and other similar considerations. Remain cognizant of the fact that the prioritization of the affected communities necessitates both the identification and avoidance of any conflicts of interest as well as the invalidity of any considerations of third parties that would compromise the primary obligation to affected populations in any way.
- Define and discuss the risks for the organization and for the UAV operator. This includes the safety of local communities and staff as well as potential threats to overall mission accomplishment as well as financial and reputational risk.
- Clearly specify termination of contract clauses. Termination of contract is considered to be lawful when a legitimate reason exists to end the contract before the UAV mission has been completed.
- Establish adequate Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), including day-to-day procedures for information sharing and reporting of flight plans, logs etc.
- To avoid disruptive and/or overlapping UAV flights and congestion of airspace, support humanitarian coordination efforts and clusters where they exist, including daily reporting of where and when operations are occurring.