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OCHA has released its latest Occasional Policy Paper on “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Humanitarian Response”. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), also known as remotely piloted aircraft or “drones”, are small aircraft that fly by remote control or autonomously. Humanitarian organizations have started to use micro-UAVs, notably in Haiti and the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan, for data collection and information tasks that include real time information and situation monitoring, public information and advocacy, search and rescue, and mapping. Peacekeeping missions, starting with the Democratic Republic of Congo, are also using more sophisticated systems. The use of UAVs raises a range of issues that will need to be addressed in order to realize the opportunities they provide to improve the provision of humanitarian aid. The report looks at emerging practical, legal, regulatory and ethical issues issues around the use of UAVs in support of humanitarian response and suggests some next steps for how to take advantage of this emerging technology.

If you have any comments on the report, or would like to share any case studies or examples of the use of UAVs in humanitarian response please contact

Download the report

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