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The global IM Working Group (IMWG) endorsed guidance on CODs in 2016, which is intended to replace previous guidance endorsed by the IASC in 2010.

What it means for IMOs

The guidance recognises two 'core CODs' (administrative boundaries and population statistics) that should be in place in all 'disaster-prone' countries. A third core COD (humanitarian profile) is required in all countries with 'ongoing humanitarian operations'.`

Fundamental Operational Datasets (FODs) have been replaced with the concept of 'country-specific CODs', which allow country teams to agree on datasets that are relevant to their particular context. The list of country-specific datasets should be described in a 'data plan' that's endorsed by the IMWG, as well as the ICCG or HCT.

Not all datasets should be CODs. CODs should be relevant, commonly needed, open and usable. If you're not sure if a dataset should be a COD these simple criteria can help.

OCHA is responsible for maintaining the two core CODs on administrative boundaries and population statistics.

At country-level, the RC/HC has overall responsibility for managing CODs. The local IMWG has day-to-day responsibility, while the UNCT, HCT and ICCG are expected to provide support and resources towards their management. Clusters and agencies may be responsible for one or more 'country-specific' datasets.


Share the new COD guidance with members of your IMWG. Review the guidance in detail at your next IMWG meeting and discuss how it can be implemented. Consider how the IMWG can raise awareness of the guidance with the HC, ICCG and HCT.

Since the chair of the IMWG is now a permanent member of the ICCG (see guidance brief 01), discuss this guidance at an upcoming ICCG meeting. Emphasise that the ICCG should define which datasets each cluster/sector should manage as 'country-specific' CODs. An early output should be endorsement of a 'COD data plan', listing which datasets will form the 'country-specific' CODs and which agency is responsible for managing them.

Review the two core CODs (administrative boundaries and population statistics) for your country that OCHA is directly responsible and ensure they meet the minimum COD-AB standards or COD-PS standards.

Content of this document updated 26 January 2018
Migration to this page 17 December 2020


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