29 January 2021

CPDP2021 Panel - AI & humanitarian action: Raising the standards? 



The humanitarian sector is, like many, exploring how to use AI to do things better, while also ‘doing no harm’. Uses of AI in the humanitarian field range from detecting and evaluating the need of aid to helping in its delivery, and can emerge in complex realities in which different interests coalesce – e. g. related to security, or border control. As those benefiting from the work of humanitarian actors are frequently vulnerable populations, potentially targeted by a multitude of harmful actors, the stakes of mishandling their data, or making wrong decisions based on AI, can have consequences that go much beyond the usual risks in the digital realm. These issues demand a constant reflection on how to make sure that the potential benefits of using AI in humanitarian action are not outweighed by risks; in other terms, how to make sure that AI in humanitarian action is fully compatible with humanitarian goals.

The panel will explore: 

  • Which are the most pressing challenges and main opportunities of AI in humanitarian action? 
  • What are the implications of partnerships between humanitarian organisations and public and private actors to develop and deploy AI in the humanitarian sector?
  • How to reconcile technical standards and data protection law with the humanitarian principles that humanitarian organisations are bound to respect, especially the principle of do no harm?
  • How are the (best) practices developed in the humanitarian field informing data-driven Covid-19 responses?



  • Aaron K. Martin (Tilburg University)
  • Xabier Lareo López de Vergara (EDPS)
  • Julia Zomignani Barboza (VUB/FRC)
  • Catherine Lennman (FDPIC)


Moderator: Michalina Nadolna Peeters (VUB/LSTS)

Organised by: Brussels Privacy Hub (BPH) / ALTEP-DP project


Time: 10:30

Venue: online

Registration: To register for the CPDP conference, please consult the CPDP Website

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