By Amin S.

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The disaster environment thus contains many barriers to the smooth operation of a disaster information management system. System design should therefore include careful consideration for the creation of incentives for stakeholder participation, especially during the first days or weeks of the emergency relief phase before the full practical value of the system has been clearly established. The incentives might include carrots, such as guaranteed access to data produced by other organizations working in the same districts or in the same sectors, and sticks, such as legal requirements to supply data for the system.

To nourish the system at all times, governments might consider making information sharing a legal responsibility, even outside the context of a disaster, and donors might make information sharing during disaster response a requirement among external responders seeking financial support. These steps would provide clarity in roles and responsibilities and allow disaster information sharing to become directly regulated by operational procedures that would give the information practical value. They would also help ensure sustainability.

An information management system that is developed as part of a permanent, national disaster response capacity is far more likely to succeed. To nourish the system at all times, governments might consider making information sharing a legal responsibility, even outside the context of a disaster, and donors might make information sharing during disaster response a requirement among external responders seeking financial support. These steps would provide clarity in roles and responsibilities and allow disaster information sharing to become directly regulated by operational procedures that would give the information practical value.

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