Reliable dataIt was recently announced that the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has chosen The Hague to host its data centre. At the centre, reliable data on people confronted with natural disasters or humanitarian crises will be collected, analysed and shared. OCHA finds out the direct needs and decides who are eligible for aid. The organisation sends out data to all UN member states based on which they can define their policies and work out their aid projects.
New platformAlderman for Knowledge-based Economy and Deputy Mayor Ms. Ingrid van Engelshoven is very happy that the UN has decided to bring the OCHA data centre to The Hague. ‘The Hague has a prominent position in the field of peace and justice and is currently seeking ways to better address various humanitarian issues, with the help of large quantities of digital data, the so-called big data. A few weeks ago, we established a new platform: HumanityX, which will be taking the lead on big data. The platform is a collaborative partnership between scientists and students from Leiden University’s Centre for Innovation, the United Nations, the private sector and international aid organisations such as the Red Cross.’
Testing groundThe Hague aspires to be a testing ground for developments in the field of peace, justice and arbitration. What has been achieved so far? Van Engelshoven: ‘We are hosting no fewer than 160 international organisations. Among them, world-renowned institutions such as the OPCW, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Court. We’re the second UN city in the world after New York. The city government is supporting this development in all sorts of ways.’ Another important institution according to Van Engelshoven is the The Hague Security Delta: ‘It is the largest security cluster in Europe, with knowledge institutions, governments and companies all working together. The city is involved as one of the founding fathers. We make a connection between vision and funding, encouraging further development of The Hague as an international city.’
InnovationThe Hague is giving innovation pride of place, in particular in the areas of peace and justice. ‘It provides a boost to the city’s economy and creates jobs for higher as well as lower educated people. We warmly welcome yet another UN agency joining us in The Hague. It is a new development but in keeping with a tradition: many UN agencies call The Hague their home. OCHA setting up a data centre in The Hague is new. Working from this location, data analysts from the University of Leiden will be contributing to better care for refugees around the world. They will do so using the HumanityX platform, where they will collaborate with partners including UN Global Pulse, Stanford University and Harvard University.’ The Hague was recently accepted as member of the illustrious 100 Resilient Cities network, pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation.
‘ This creates possibilities for us to lead the way in innovation. All these institutions and organisations act as magnets for knowledge-based institutions. From all around the world, students are coming to The Hague, a place where international law can be studied in theory as well as in practice.’