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The Ankara Declaration:
to Establish the
Global Disaster Information Network
Endorsed at the GDIN Annual Conference

Ankara, Turkey
April 28, 2000

(Amended at GDIN2001 23 March 2001).   Further Amended in 2005-2006 and 2007 as a result of formal incorporation as a federally registered charity 501(c)(3).  While the structure in this historical document has changed, the fundamental policy goals have not.  GDIN is forever grateful for the work by Dr. Albert Simard of Natural Resources, Canada who developed the Ankara Declaration, and who continues to be a valued partner. Details on the corporation and its legal documents are available upon request.

"The right information, in the right format, to the right person,
in time to make the right decision."


23 March 2001   -   GDIN was subsequently incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.


Change Details

Cover page

Amendment details


Change to paragraph numbering


Selection of conference venue


Membership of Executive Committee


New para. Addition of members


Change from para number 9.4


Change from para number 9.5


Establishment of Working Groups


Virtual Information Facilitator Service


Change to By-laws completion date



Executive Summary

This Declaration describes the purpose and scope of a Global Disaster Information Network (GDIN). It outlines the goals of GDIN, as well as guiding principles and its intended benefits. It lists several types of participants as well as describing four broad roles. The Declaration outlines management and organizational structures for GDIN. It explains the funding process and financial management for GDIN. It concludes with processes for amending the Declaration at the Ankara Conference and at subsequent annual GDIN conferences.

1. Preamble

1.1 Whereas the human, economic, and ecological impacts associated with disasters are increasing exponentially and these costs and losses pose a systemic risk to society’s social, economic, and ecological bases. It is correspondingly difficult, in some cases impossible, for local, national, and global disaster management agencies to cope with the scope, magnitude, and complexity of these disasters.

1.2 Additionally, developing countries are particularly susceptible to enormous losses from all types of disasters, due to limited response capabilities, vulnerability of their economies and infrastructures, and migration of people to hazard-prone areas and urban centers.

1.3 Further, as we begin the 21st century, a revolution in information and computer technologies is transforming the global community from an industrial to an information society. Use of these technologies could assist in reducing and preventing the considerable impacts of disasters on people, their infrastructures, and their environment.

1.4 Resulting from a meeting in Washington DC on July 16-17, 1998 and a meeting in Mexico City on May 11-14, 1999, the international community of disaster experts agreed that there was a pressing need to establish a Global Disaster Information Network, hereinafter called GDIN, to harness rapidly evolving technology and information management processes to facilitate and enhance the global sharing of disaster management information.

1.5 Recognizing this need, a consensus declaration was developed, based on consultations with disaster experts from government agencies, the United Nations, the World Bank, OECD, the EU, private industry, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions.

1.6 Therefore, the international community of disaster experts have endorsed this declaration at the GDIN 2000 Conference in Ankara, Turkey, on April 28, 2000. This endorsement represents the views of the experts as individuals; it does not necessarily reflect the views of their governments, agencies, organizations, or companies. This endorsement reflects a consensus of delegates at the Conference; no signatures are required.

1.7 Notwithstanding any language in this Declaration to the contrary, it is understood that nothing in the Declaration should be construed to give rise to any international legal rights or obligations for any GDIN participant.

2. Description

2.1 GDIN is a voluntary, self-sustaining, non-profit association of countries, organizations, and professionals, from all sectors of society with an interest in sharing all types of disaster information. GDIN makes better use of existing and new technologies and develops institutional processes to promote global sharing of information about all disaster management functions between providers and users. It does this, in part, by providing a primary portal of access and linkage to existing national and international emergency- and disaster-management networks. GDIN also attempts to improve the effectiveness and interoperability of disaster information systems. GDIN also promotes and supports more timely access to disaster information by potentially affected communities and the general public through national and regional networks..

3. Scope

3.1 GDIN is global in scope. GDIN facilitates the exchange of thematic and organizational content (data, information, and knowledge), focusing on natural and technological disasters. (This is not to exclude other types of disasters/emergency situations in the context of which GDIN-facilitated exchanges are feasible/appropriate.) GDIN processes information about all disaster management functions: prevention, mitigation, planning, preparedness, monitoring, warning, response, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and recovery. The range of disaster information reflects what is made available by information providers; GDIN should not be a substantial provider, nor should it limit what is made available.

4. Goals

4.1 The goals of GDIN are:

4.1.1 Increase awareness of the importance and value of disaster-related information and best practices for managing it

      1. Adapt remote sensing, computer, communication, information, and network technologies to acquire, produce, disseminate, and access disaster data, information, and knowledge.
      2. Promote the development of national and regional capacity and infrastructures to access, manage, disseminate and use disaster information carried by GDIN in a digital format.
      3. Foster the sharing of information about all disaster management functions via a primary portal of access to national and international networks.
      4. Facilitate development and foster adoption of mutually-agreed interoperability, metadata, and classification standards to support global sharing of disaster information.
      5. Provide disaster information and support services as directed by GDIN’s governing body.

5. Principles

5.1 Several principles serve to guide the design, development, and implementation of GDIN:

      1. The provision of information is voluntary; however, such content should be formatted so as to be compatible with mutually-agreed GDIN standards.
      2. Mandates, decision authorities, and responsibilities remain with local, regional, and national information users.
      3. Disaster information is managed in accordance with mutually-agreed best practices and principles, as endorsed by GDIN.
      4. Copyright, intellectual property, proprietary information, and security concerns must be respected.
      5. Disaster information should be provided with no or minimal cost and restrictions.
      6. Information provided without restriction is shared equally throughout GDIN. Notice of the availability of such information should be disseminated to all participants.
      7. International agreements, such as the Tampere Convention on the Provision of Emergency Telecommunications should be fostered, to enhance disaster telecommunications.
      8. GDIN complements and partners with, not supplants, existing disaster information networks to leverage the advantages of new technologies.

6. Benefits

6.1 GDIN has the potential to reduce the human, economic, and ecological impacts of disasters and the costs of disaster management by:

6.1.1 Making information more readily available when, where, and as needed.

6.1.2 Lowering the cost of producing, providing, and using disaster information.

6.1.3 Leveraging the efforts of existing disaster information and relief networks.

6.1.4 Supporting more timely and better co-ordinated disaster response.

6.1.5 Creating synergy to enable the production of new kinds of information.

6.1.6 Increasing public awareness of how to plan for and respond to disasters.

6.1.7 Expanding the base of knowledge about disaster and emergency management.

7. Participation

7.1 GDIN is inclusive rather than exclusive. The widest possible participation in providing disaster information is encouraged from emergency management communities. These include:

      1. International Organizations, such as: the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies, the World Bank Group, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
      2. Countries.
      3. National, regional, and local disaster management agencies.
      4. Disaster organizations, such as: the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, Non-Governmental Organizations.
      5. Academic institutions, such as universities, training schools, research and development agencies, and institutes.
      6. Private industry, such as companies and consultants that provide disaster-related products and services.
      7. Emergency Associations, such as: The International Emergency Management Society, International Association of Emergency Managers, and Emergency Planning Society.
      8. Recognized experts, such as: managers, scientists, policy analysts, technical specialists, government officials.

8. Roles

8.1 GDIN and its participants have four roles:

8.1.1 Providing information - All activities undertaken by providers are voluntary and as they deem appropriate. Information providers are responsible for: managing information assets, acquiring data, transforming data into information, synthesizing new knowledge, disseminating information products, providing access to content, providing search capability, and adapting content to GDIN standards, as determined by the GDIN Standards Working Group. Providers should assist users by identifying potentially useful information and including source references in the metadata.

      1. Using information - Information users determine what information they need, appropriate formats, and how they use it. Information users are responsible for: searching for information, accessing and transferring it to their repositories, interpreting and adapting the information to their needs, using it as they deem appropriate (consistent with restrictions from providers), and all consequences of using the information. The source of all information must be clearly identified.
      2. Managing information - GDIN promotes, facilitates, coordinates, and supports the provision and use of information by providers and access by users. GDIN acts as an information broker and manager, to integrate providers and users into a disaster information community, to facilitate information sharing through an information infrastructure, and to assist users in finding and adapting content to their specific needs and capacities. The brokering function may include a quality assurance/quality control service for disaster information. GDIN develops, implements, and operates a primary portal of access to all existing national and internal disaster information networks.

8.1.4 Linking to information - GDIN links to and does not replace, duplicate, compete with, or supplant, existing global disaster information initiatives such as that provided by: ReliefWeb, HazardNet, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, and the Reuters Foundation AlertNet. It should also link to regional, sector, and operational systems, such as the PAHO Supply Management System, the WHO/EHA Health Information Network for Advanced Planning, and the Canadian FireM3 System for Monitoring, Mapping, and Modeling forest fires. GDIN leverages its efforts by supporting and linking to existing global disaster information networks. GDIN focuses on adding value to existing information and networks.

9. Management

9.1 GDIN is managed by three bodies -- An Executive Committee, the Annual Conference, and a Funding Committee. An overview of the management structure is shown in Annex 1.

9.2 The Annual Conference establishes GDIN goals, and objectives, policies, operating procedures, and the types and providers of GDIN services. The Conference is hosted by a country or disaster organization; the host and location should change each year. The Conference is organized and executed by a Conference Committee chaired by the host. It comprises Chairs of the immediately previous and succeeding conferences, the Chair of the Funding Committee, Chairs of GDIN Working Groups, the GDIN Executive Director, and other members, as the Annual Conference or Conference Committee may deem appropriate. Direction from the conference is based on a consensus of attending delegates, in accordance with this Declaration. The Conference Committee prepares a report of the Conference findings and recommendations. The venue for the next conference or, alternatively, the one after the next, is selected at the end of each conference.

9.3 The Executive Committee provides oversight for GDIN and a Secretariat by ensuring that directions from the Annual Conference and the Funding Committee are implemented. The Executive Committee is presided over by a Chair, who is elected by the Committee, for a term of one year. It also oversees and coordinates the activities of the various working groups. The Executive Committee comprises nine members:

      1. The Chair of the Policy Committee 1
      2. Representatives from the Annual Conference Organizing Committee 2
      3. Representatives from the Funding Committee 2
      4. Representatives of Working Group Chairs 2
      5. Representative from the NGO Working Group 1
      6. Executive Director 1

9.4 Each representative is selected by the committee or group(s) that they represent. Other members may be added or removed by agreement of the Executive Committee, until conclusion of the next annual conference. Decisions are based on a consensus of members of the Executive Committee, in accordance with this Declaration.

9.5 The Funding Committee oversees and directs disbursements from a fund, to be known as the GDIN Fund. The Funding Committee comprises one representative each from any government or other participants that provides 5% or more of GDIN core funding, including in-kind contributions or contributions of approved services. Organizations may aggregate their contributions to meet the 5% threshold and gain a joint representative on the Committee. Committee membership is for the year in which a contribution is made. The Executive Director of GDIN is also be a voting member of the Funding Committee, except on the GDIN annual budget. Each representative has one vote. An organization is limited to one vote, regardless of the number of contributions from its component parts The Committee is presided over by a Chair, elected by the Funding Committee, for a term of one year. Decisions are based on a consensus of committee members, in accordance with this Declaration..

9.6 Working Group Chairs and Project Leaders are non-voting observers of the Funding Committee. All funding decisions regarding Working Groups or Projects are taken in consultation with appropriate Working Group Chairs or project participants.

10. Organization

10.1 Working Groups: These are groups of experts established and terminated by the Annual Conferences to accomplish specific goals and objectives on behalf of GDIN. The expected duration of a Working Group is included in its terms of reference. Terms of reference for each working group are approved and reviewed by the Conferences. Working Groups report progress, accomplishments, findings, and recommendations to the Annual Conference. The Conference may appoint a Chair or allow a Working Group to select a Chair. Travel expenses are normally incurred by Working Group members. Working Groups may, however, request funds from the GDIN Fund or other appropriate organizations to support cash expenditures or to pay travel costs for essential experts. Between conferences, the Executive Director or the Executive Committee can establish additional Working Groups as the need arises and as funding permits. Annual conferences can establish Working Groups and can amend the mandate of or abolish Working Groups.

10.2 Executive Director: The primary role of the GDIN Executive Director is to implement directions received from GDIN’s governing bodies. The Director recommends actions and activities as well as reports on progress and accomplishments to these bodies annually. The Director represents GDIN at international disaster fora and at key meetings of international disaster organizations. The Director assists host countries in organizing and executing the Annual Conference, as needed. The Director supports Working Groups and special projects to facilitate the achievement of milestones and deliverables. The Director coordinates the GDIN Secretariat and the Information Facilitator in fulfilling their roles and responsibilities. The Executive Director could also serve as a point of contact between participants and the various GDIN committees and groups. The Executive Director may assist with GDIN fund-raising activities but has no fiduciary responsibility with respect to the GDIN fund. The Executive Director is selected by the Annual Conference and serves for a term of one year; the term may be extended by a consensus of the Annual Conference.

10.3 Virtual Information Facilitator Service: The Virtual Information Facilitator service assists users in finding information and adapting it to their specific needs and capabilities. This service is intended to provide assistance with unusual information needs, when normal searches have been unsuccessful.

10.4 Secretariat: A minimal staff (not to exceed three positions) monitors and records GDIN decisions and activities. It provides administrative, clerical, and staff support for the management bodies, Working Groups, the Executive Director, and the Information Facilitator. It maintains a GDIN presence on the World-Wide Web and loads data and information on to a Web site as directed by the Annual Conference; it maintains links to approved disaster web sites around the world; it creates and maintains a database of disaster experts associated with GDIN. The Secretariat posts records of GDIN meetings, decisions, and activities on the Web site.

11. Funding

11.1 The GDIN Fund is established to accept and administer contributions to GDIN. Funding for GDIN is through voluntary grants and contributions. Any organization — government, private, or other — with an interest in disaster management may contribute to GDIN. Contributors may direct their contributions to specific GDIN activities or may place conditions on the use of their contributions. Contributions may be made to the GDIN Fund or, if approved by the Executive Committee or Annual Conference, directly to any person or organization for approved GDIN services or projects.

11.2 The fund is divided into two parts - operations and projects. Operations include all recurring GDIN expenses, such as costs of the Annual Conference not borne by participants and the host, costs of running the GDIN Secretariat, the Executive Director and Information Facilitator positions, travel to GDIN events by a limited number of essential experts, approved GDIN services, and other recurring activities or services authorized by the Annual Conference or the Funding Committee.

11.3 An annual operating budget, designating the allocation of funds for GDIN operations, is prepared by the Executive Director, in consultation with the GDIN Fund Manager. It is submitted to the Funding Committee for review and approval, based on directions from the previous Annual Conference and the availability of operating funds. The Committee evaluates the previous year’s expenses for conformity with the budget.

11.4 The GDIN Fund supports projects and Working Groups, to the extent that funds are available in excess of those required for GDIN operations. As much as possible, projects should be self-funded. Projects and Working Groups are not generally funded by GDIN on a continuing basis, although they may have a life in excess of one year. Project proposals can be submitted to a Pilot Projects Facilitator who ensures that the relevant Working Group(s) evaluate and prioritize proposals. In addition, Pilot Projects can be initiated by Working Groups on their own authority; but funding by GDIN of Pilot Project cannot take place without available funds.

11.5 An accredited professional Fund Manager will be contracted to manage and administer the GDIN fund, as directed by the Funding Committee. Duties of the fund manager include: fiscal management, fund raising, and administrative support on financial matters for the Executive Director and the Funding Committee. The Fund Manager should also recommend processes for upkeep and growth of the fund.

12. Amendments

12.1 It is anticipated that this Declaration will be changed from time to time, as necessary. The processes is as follows:

12.2 Before the GDIN Conferences:

12.2.1 Proposed amendments to the Declaration are submitted to the GDIN Executive Committee at least two months prior to the Conference.

      1. The Executive Committee considers all proposals. It may endorse proposed amendments, according to their appropriateness, based on the intent of this Declaration.
      2. All proposed amendments, together with the views of the Executive Committee, are posted on the GDIN Web site at least one month prior to the Annual Conference.

12.3 The Annual Conference

12.3.1 Proposed amendments are presented on the morning of day 1of the Conference at a plenary session. This is followed by a plenary discussion.

      1. A Drafting Committee receives written suggested changes from Conference participants until 5 pm on day 2 of the Conference.
      2. The Committee considers all suggested changes and may modify the proposed amendments, as they deem appropriate.
      3. Updated versions of the amendments are provided to Conference participants on the mornings of day 2 and day 3 of the Conference.
      4. The amendments are presented at a plenary session on day 3 of the Conference.
      5. A consensus of Conference participants indicates endorsement of the amendment.

12.4 Between Annual Conferences

12.4.1 Proposed amendments to this Declaration are submitted to the Policy Working Group.

12.4.2 The proposed amendments are made available to the GDIN membership for comment for a period of 30 days.

      1. Best efforts to achieve consensus will be made.
      2. If consensus is not achieved,
      3. (i) if the amendment is editorial in nature, the Policy Committee will make a determination, or

        (ii) if the amendment is substantive in nature, the amendment will be referred to the next Annual Conference for a decision.

      4. Proposed amendments to operational procedures will be submitted to the Policy Working Group for review and determination.

13. By-Laws

13.1 By-laws will be necessary to guide the management and daily operations of GDIN. The Policy Working Group has been directed to develop a set of By-laws for GDIN and submit them to the 2002 GDIN Conference, where they will be reviewed, modified as necessary, endorsed, and appended to this Declaration. Such elements of this Declaration as are more appropriate to By-laws will be transferred to the appended document