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The Common Operational Datasets (CODs) are critical datasets that are used to support the work of humanitarian actors across multiple sectors. They are considered a de facto standard for the humanitarian community and should represent the best-available datasets for each theme.

The Fundamental Operational Datasets (FODs) are datasets that are relevent to a humanitarian operation, but are more specific to a particular sector or otherwise do not fit into one of the seven COD themes.

Background on the CODs/FODs

The IASC Guidelines on Common Operational Datasets in Disaster Preparedness and Response were developed to help national authorities and humanitarian organizations exchange data thereby improving the effectiveness of humanitarian response. These guidelines outline the common datasets needed for response in humanitarian emergencies, as well as the governance model for the management of the data (i.e. accountabilities and responsibilities). Key terms are defined to aid understanding of the guidelines; as well as the technical standards to support data quality and interoperability. These guidelines also recognize the primary role of the State affected by disaster to organize, coordinate and implement humanitarian assistance within its territory. To this effect, these guidelines aim to ensure that the CODs support national information systems and standards, build local capacities and maintain appropriate links with relevant Government, State and local authorities. In doing so, humanitarian agencies seek to strengthen, not replace or diminish national efforts, including those of institutions not part of the Cluster Approach or Government. The guidance is designed to be used in conjunction with The Emergency Response Preparedness (ERP) approach - concept note and the Operational Guidance on Responsibilities of Cluster/Sector Leads and OCHA in Information Management.

Governance Model

There are three levels of governance for the datasets outlined in this guidance: Guardian, Sponsor and Source. The roles and responsibilities for each are outlined below.

Guardian: OCHA is the “Guardian” of the agreed upon datasets and will facilitate the distribution of the “best” available common operational and fundamental datasets in emergencies while managing forums for updates and distribution communication. If OCHA is unable to provide this service in a specific country, a suitable substitute Guardian should be identified by Humanitarian Country Teams or equivalent decision-making body during contingency planning.

Sponsor: Each dataset has a designated “Sponsor” who is responsible for identifying and liaising with relevant “Sources” to analyze, collate, clean and achieve consensus around a specific operational dataset. OCHA will maintain lists of dataset Sponsors at the country and global levels and coordinate between data Sponsors.

Source: Each dataset will have designated source(s) or owner(s), such as: national authority/agency, Cluster, NGO, UN agency, International Organization, International Red Cross/Red Crescent that agrees to be fully responsible for the development, maintenance and metadata associated with a dataset and control distribution restrictions.

What Countries and Regions are Included?

Not all countries are included in the COD-FOD Registry. Countries where OCHA has a office have been prioritized and regional offices are working with partners to compile datasets as a preparedness activities. 

Regions may be created to support transnational emergencies and often the CODs and FODs for transnational emergencies will be found broken down into their constituent countries.