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Digital Society Initiative

New publication by Ning Wang et al.: Supporting Value Sensitivity in the Humanitarian Use of Drones through An Ethics Assessment Framework

Ning Wang, Markus Christen, Matthew Hunt, and Nikola Biller-Andorno published Supporting Value Sensitivity in the Humanitarian Use of Drones through An Ethics Assessment Framework at the International Review of the Red Cross by Cambridge University Press.


The current humanitarian use of drones is focused on two applications: disaster mapping and medical supply delivery. In response to the growing interest in drone deployment in the aid sector, we sought to develop a resource to support value sensitivity in humanitarian drone activities. Following a bottom-up approach encompassing a comprehensive literature review, two empirical studies, a review of guidance documents, and consultations with experts, this work illuminates the nature and scope of ethical challenges encountered by humanitarian organizations embarking upon innovation programmes. The Framework for the Ethics Assessment of Humanitarian Drones (FEAHD) identifies five values and five key questions related to ethical considerations along the decision chain of humanitarian drone activities. It fills a gap between high-level, principle-based guidance related to humanitarian innovation, and detailed operation-oriented checklists for projects involving the use of drones. In this way, the FEAHD contributes to support value sensitivity in the humanitarian use of drones.

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