2013 has again been an eventful year for the ICT4Peace Foundation, not only in its work helping the UN and the international community to improve crisis information management using ICTs and new media, but also in its support to global diplomatic and civil society efforts to build an open, safe and secure cyberspace.
2013 was also special. It was 10 years ago that ICT4Peace started, in December 2003, its research on the role of ICTs in preventing, responding to and recovering from conflict, which led to the publication of its ground-breaking report in 2005 and the adoption of Paragraph 36 on ICT4Peace by the Heads of States and Governments at the World Summit on the Information Society in in Tunis in 2005.
Unfortunately, far too many humanitarian and political crises in 2013 including in the Philippines, Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) repeatedly tested the international community whether it could take meaningful action, in a timely manner, to save lives and protect victims. Also at stake was whether or not the UN system could demonstrate that it is deploying well-functioning crisis management systems, with integrated and harmonised ICT and Information Management capabilities.
While in many cases we are still far from having adequate systems in place, we also witnessed during the Super Typhoon Yolanda crisis in the Philippines some encouraging developments by the UN and its stakeholders, in particular OCHA, which facilitated effective crisis information management systems on the ground. Some of the important preparatory work by the UN and OCHA on the Common and Fundamental Operational data sets (COD/FOD) and its institutionalized cooperation with the Volunteer & Technical Communities (V&TCs) and the Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN), both processes supported by ICT4Peace, came to fruition for the first time during the Typhoon Yolanda crisis.
Given the work and input the Foundation, together with OCHA, the UN Chief Information Technology Officer and other members of the UN family, has put into these processes that have sought to bring together key actors from the traditional humanitarian institutions and V&TCs, it is extremely heartening to see how things have evolved since 2010. There has never before in the history of the United Nations been a Standby Volunteer Task Force ready and capable of handling information management operations. From the very first concept of DHN and at every stage in its evolution, the ICT4Peace Foundation has supported the DHN, including in the deployment and implementation of simulation exercises. Today’s relief and aid landscape has fundamentally changed from even a few years ago, and these changes are definitely for the better. To show its appreciation the UN, through OCHA, sent this letter of thanks to the ICT4Peace Foundation.
ICT4Peace experts have also since 2007 been researching the challenges posed to a resilient, open, safe and secure cyberspace and have called on the international community to consider measures to mitigate them. In 2011, ICT4Peace called for norms of responsible state behaviour and started its series of publications on cyber security challenges and international negotiations. In 2013, thanks to the help of our colleagues Eneken Tikk, Paul Meyer, Camino Kavanagh and Barbara Weekes, ICT4Peace continued to organize workshops and publish new and cutting edge reports to support the international community in this new and fast developing field.
In 2013, ICT4Peace experts participated in the work of the UN GGE in New York and the Working Group on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) for the Cyberspace at the OSCE in Vienna. As part of this work, the Swiss Government supported the holding of a workshop in June 2013 on CBMs organized by ICT4Peace at ETH Zurich, which resulted in the ICT4Peace Report: Confidence Building Measures and International Cyber security. During the Seoul Conference on Cyberspace in October 2013, ICT4Peace also organized a multi-stakeholder workshop which led to the following ICT4Peace Seoul Statement on Cyber Security and workshop report. In the final outcome document (page 3) of the Seoul Conference, ICT4Peace was encouraged to implement its offer to provide an initial focal point for collating the views of civil society, business and academia on norms and confidence building measures (CBMs), and for establishing means to report these views to government.
In 2013, ICT4Peace, in cooperation with its partner organisations, the Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF) and Folke-Bernadotte Academy (FBA) conducted again two Crisis Information Management Training Courses at the International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC) in Nairobi and ZIF in Berlin.
ICT4Peace Special Advisor Sanjana Hattotuwa gave several lectures on the role of big data and crisis management at prestigious Universities.
Finally ICT4Peace supported the organisation of the 2013 edition of the International Conference on Crisis Mapping (ICCM 2013) in Nairobi and pledged to co-organize together with Google ICCM 2014 in New York and ICCM 2015 in Geneva. In Nairobi ICT4Peace Special Advisor Sanjana Hattotuwa organized a panel on big data.
Please find below a review of all the ICT4Peace updates on its website in 2013:
We look forward to working with established partners and colleagues in 2014 and to forging new relationships to explore new aspects of Crisis Information Management and further the building of an open secure and resilient Cyberspace in 2014!
Wishing all a happy New Year,
Geneva, 18 December 2013
 36. We value the potential of ICTs to promote peace and to prevent conflict which, inter alia, negatively affects achieving development goals. ICTs can be used for identifying conflict situations through early-warning systems preventing conflicts, promoting their peaceful resolution, supporting humanitarian action, including protection of civilians in armed conflicts, facilitating peacekeeping missions, and assisting post conflict peace-building and reconstruction.