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In today’s global environment, UNHCR’s strategic generation and use of data on forcibly displaced and stateless populations are vital in positioning and validating UNHCR’s role and actions and to affirm its capacity and authority to protect, assist and provide solutions to refugees, asylum-seekers and other populations of concern to the organization.

To this extent and as part of a wider organizational transformation, UNHCR is pleased to share its new Data Transformation Strategy 2020-2025. The strategy is a first step towards strengthening UNHCR’s role as a leading authority on data and information relating to forcibly displaced and stateless populations.

The Strategy provides UNHCR’s vision, priorities, and key actions that will be undertaken to enhance strategic and responsible use of timely, quality data and information with the aim of further strengthening UNHCR’s role as a data-driven organization and a center of excellence for refugee, statelessness and forced displacement data.

Data is a game-changer for informing policy and practice and UNHCR’s contributions will generate better and more powerful data and evidence on the circumstances of forcibly displaced populations. Achieving this role is dependent on boosting data collection, management and analytical capacities. This is for example crucial in our relationship with the newly opened World Bank – UNHCR Joint Data Centre on Forced Displacement to ensure better-informed decisions that can improve socio-economic circumstances for affected populations.

The Strategy in short (for the full strategy see here):

The vision

Our vision is that by 2025, UNHCR is a trusted leader on data and information related to refugees and other affected populations, thereby enabling actions that protect, include and empower.

What we aim to achieve

  • Improve the way we protect and seek solutions for forcibly displaced and stateless populations
  • Leverage and adapt digital technology that is tailored to the varying operational contexts
  • Enhanced engagement and collaboration with governments, partners and other stakeholders, including greater interoperability of ecosystems
  • For UNHCR to be a leader on data protection, security and data ethics
  • To connect knowledge and learning in regards to data across the organization

Data Principles

UNHCR data activities will be anchored in the overall imperative of “Do no harm” and guided by core principles of:

  • Being people-centered
  • Being fit-for-purpose and proportion
  • Ensuring strong data protection and security


  • Trusted, valid, reliable and useful data and information on forcibly displaced and stateless populations
  • Responsible and efficient data management
  • Quality evidence on results and impact of UNHCR interventions
  • A role model for ethical and responsible approaches to data protection and privacy

To view the full document, please see here.