Motivation, scope & target

The ELSI Guidance is intended to support those both facing and aiming to mitigate these challenges as they implement, manage, and govern CISs for disaster risk management.

Those involved in public protection, disaster response, and risk management need tools to facilitate collaboration and interoperability. A proliferation of digital, networked, and cloud-based tools is being developed to address these needs. However, collaboration or interoperability cannot be taken for granted as something that will happen because there is technology to help support it or because one party has a resource another party needs. While these tools can enable broader and more effective collaborations, they also come with new ethical, legal, and social risks that go beyond the guidelines of any individual agency or organisation. To best govern and manage the implementation of these tools, ethical, legal, and social guidance is needed.

Common information spaces (CIS) have become powerful concepts that respond to needs for data sharing, collaborative sense-making, and coordination. They aim to support people in constructing a shared sense of a given situation without requiring everyone to have the same understanding, goals, or details. These new tools hold considerable potential for collaborative disaster management, including opportunities for more inclusive risk governance, enhanced security, and better ways of exercising solidarity. They can also exacerbate internal politics between organisations, aggravate sensitive cultural problems, and interfere with the ability to support humanitarian values. These guidelines help make these issues more visible and readily addressed.


What guidance can this platform provide?

This guidance is intended to help those who are establishing, managing, and governing CISs to proactively identify, understand, and address ELSI. The challenge is that ELSI arise in specific contexts: there are no tried-and-true rules or one-size-fits-all solutions. As a result, this platform cannot provide definitive answers or step-by-step instructions. However, it can guide you on what to consider in relation to ELSI. To this aim, the guidance at hand is structured around the development of ELSI reflexivity: providing reflexive questions, research, and examples that help see how decisions around CIS adoption, management, and use shape other decisions and actions within larger societal contexts.

Production & Use

live lived living diagram

Intended as a ongoing community resource, the guidance is designed to be live, lived and living. It has been designed as an ongoing community resource,to enable dialogue and contributions from all interested parties, through comments, examples, and suggestions for topics and guidelines.

Each chapter opens with a description of the general theme. It is then divided into sub-chapters on specific issues that arise in relation to the theme. The hope is that as these guidelines grow through community contributions, the list of sub-chapters and examples will continue to grow and change to best represent ELSI emerging in the design, governance and management of collaborative disaster IT.