New Media: Tools & Techniques for Civilian Crisis Management

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Course Description

This course introduces participants to a variety of new media tools and platforms used in the collection, presentation, verification, and dissemination of information. Participants have the chance to practice using these tools through interactive activities and group work, while learning about cyber-security to protect information and sources.

In crisis areas, quick and informed decision-making can save lives. New web-, mobile-, and internet-based media and information dissemination platforms are constantly evolving, producing increasing amounts of content. The speed with which information is created, published and disseminated keeps increasing. This allows for a multiplicity of perspectives to surface. The challenge for experts working in civilian crisis management is finding a way to filter the information and determine what is relevant with the overload of information, and further, to communicate that effectively to the right people in an efficient manner.

Additionally, new tools are being developed to help experts visualize data in a clear way, so that it can be easily shared, interpreted, and understood by different users. It is therefore vital that experts working in crisis areas are aware of these tools and know how to apply them to their work.

This course was designed jointly by the ICT4Peace Foundation and ZIF, based in Berlin, to introduce its participants to a variety of digital media tools and platforms used in crisis contexts. During the training programme, participants are guided through the various phases of crisis information management, spanning from the collection, validation, analysis, visualization to the dissemination of information. In addition, they have the chance to practice using these tools through interactive activities and group work, while learning also about cyber-security to protect information and sources. The course language is English.

The curriculum of this course is ENTRi (Europe’s New Training Initiative for Civilian Crisis Management) certified.

Learning Objectives

The learning objectives for this training are:

  • To be able to use new media tools to collect, analyze, present, verify and disseminate information;
  • To understand the impact new and web-based social media have on civilian crisis management;
  • To communicate and share information in a secure manner;
  • To be aware of the added complexities that have arisen and are arising through the increased use of new media;
  • To understand the nature of big and open data on the web and internet, and how this information can be useful in crisis response and mitigation;
  • To gain an understanding of Crisis Information Management systems.

Course Modules

  • Introduction to New Media in Crisis
  • Information Management in Civilian Crisis Management
  • OS-INT & Big Data
  • Data Visualisation & Visualisation Tools
  • Tools for Collaboration: Creating & Using Wikis
  • New Cartographies & Mapping Tools
  • Source Verification in the Digital Age
  • Security in the Digital Domain
  • Data Protection

Course Audience

This course is geared towards experts and future practitioners in the area of information management and analysis, monitoring, and reporting, strategic communication and public information. The course curriculum is designed to suit the needs of various actors working in civilian crisis management for organisations such as the European Union (CSDP missions), the United Nations (UN), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the African Union (AU), as well as staff members of other international governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Course Dates

This course takes place from 11. to 15. April 2016. Participants shall arrive in Stans – Oberdorf (Switzerland) in the morning of 11. April 2016.

Venue

The New Media: Tools and Techniques for Civilian Crisis Management course will take place at the SWISSINT Training Center in Stans – Oberdorf in Switzerland.

Course Fee

700.00 CHF for external applicants
150.00 CHF for members of the ZIF Expert Roster

The course fee covers the cost of accommodation and food during the training, and the transport to/from the airport in Zurich and the training site. The course program is designed to include informal evening events. You are therefore recommended to stay at the course site. The course fee will not be reduced if you choose not to stay at the official training location. Insurance and travel costs are not included in the course fee and will not be reimbursed.

Neither the ICT4Peace Foundation nor ZIF offers scholarships.

Application Process

Please apply for this course by clicking on the ‘Apply Now’ button on the top right side of this webpage and following the directions that best match your profile. If the application deadline has passed, please contact the ZIF contact person for this course directly.

The application deadline is 26 February 2016.

Read the report from the first cohort of participants in 2014, and the second cohort in 2015.

Political and Humanitarian Crisis in Burundi: Launch of ICT4Peace Wiki

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The ICT4Peace Foundation is pleased to publicly release its new wiki on the crisis in Burundi.

Curated by Sanjana Hattotuwa, Special Advisor at the Foundation, the wiki is meant to alert and raise awareness on the ongoing tragic political and humanitarian crisis in Burundi and provide timely, meaningful and urgently needed information for policy and decision makers as well as practitioners from Governments, International Organisations, civil society, business and media.

This collection of unique and widely acclaimed wikis created by the ICT4Peace Foundation are geared towards the humanitarian aid community as well as media and policy makers. They feature vital information from government, the UN system in the disaster / crisis stricken area, other NGOs, the World Bank, comprehensive situation reports, mapping information and GIS data, photos, video, who/what/where information and links to domestic and international media coverage.

Through social media and proprietary, institutional platforms and services, crisis related information and news is increasingly easy to find. However, problems around information scatter, hard to navigate web interfaces, plus the difficulty to distinguish rumour from verified content endure. The Burundi wiki features one-click access to the world’s leading sources of information, news and content as well as a design that allows it to be accessed over any modern tablet, smartphone or computer.

The Burundi wiki features,

  • A crisis briefing kit which can be read offline, with all relevant situation reports, maps and other content via the UN’s ReliefWeb
  • Disaggregated list of updates including appeals, assessments, news and press releases, UN documents and more, also from ReliefWeb
  • A list of government websites, in French and English
  • Link to all the information on Burundi hosted on the Humanitarian Data Exchange, managed by OCHA
  • Comprehensive set of maps, from OSM to Google Maps, UN cartographic information and other geo-spatial visualisations
  • List of media outlets in the country
  • Real time news and information updated from across the world, focussed on Burundi
  • Links to key social media accounts
  • Photos and videos from the ground
  • Podcasts on Burundi and the political situation
  • Burundi country profiles
  • Comprehensive list of constantly updated situation reports of Burundi
  • Snapshot of the conflict, including recent history
  • Facebook and Twitter links to updates from the groundList of UN operations and agencies working in or on Burundi
  • Videos on Burundi, including from CNN, other mainstream media and the web

The new wiki on Burundi by the ICT4Peace Foundation reflects a commitment to the provision of timely, meaningful information to a range of stakeholders on an on-going crisis.

The previous ICT4Peace wikis are as follows:

ICT4Peace moderating UN Session on Preventing Terrorists from Exploiting the Internet and Social Media

ICT4Peace was invited by the UN New York to moderate on 16 December 2015 a technical panel discussion on Collaboration between the Public and Private Sector to promote safety and counter messaging on the Internet, to prevent the recruitment of terrorists and incite terrorist acts, while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

“Terrorist groups continue to utilize the Internet and social media to facilitate their activities, including incitement to commit terrorist acts, radicalization to violence, recruitment, training, planning, collection of information, communication, preparation, financing, and execution of attacks.” (UN CTED)

The panel session was organized by the UN Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED), and included panelists from inter alia Facebook, Microsoft, Tencent, Symantec. The program can be found here.

Topics covered by the panel were inter alia: The role of the private sector in ensuring a secure ICT environment, including best practices. The need for Governments to develop partnerships with the private sector. The existing engagement of many ICT sector leaders in preventing the use of their resources by terrorists organizations and how such engagement should be broadened to include more actors in the ICT sector. The importance of acting consistently with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The  panel discussion moderated by ICT4Peace’s Daniel Stauffacher can be followed here (starts at 1:35:00 of recording).

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On 17 December 2015, the members of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) also held a special meeting on Preventing terrorists from exploiting the Internet and social media to recruit terrorists and incite terrorist acts, where some of the findings of the UN CTED technical meeting were discussed.

In January 2016, UN CTED and ICT4Peace are launching a joint project to deepen the understanding of these and other related challenges and opportunities, including with a series of workshops with all stake holders in all the regions of the world.

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(from right to left) Marc Porret (UNCTED), Ms. Monika Binkert (Facebook), Daniel Stauffacher (ICT4Peace Foundation)

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UN General Assembly’s World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS+10) Review fails to address the need for peace in cyberspace

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Review fails to address the need for Peace in cyberspace

Press Release

On December 16, 2015 the UN General Assembly issued an outcome document for its review of implementation of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). WSIS, which was the international community’s initial effort at articulating its vision for a society driven by information and communications technology (ICT), concluded its final phase in 2005. The current meeting therefore represented the views of UN member states on what the last decade of follow-up of WSIS signified for the health of the “information society” and its future prospects.

As could be expected for such a complex undertaking the outcome document revealed a mixed record on implementation. On one hand the growth of the Internet (and other forms of ICT) has been phenomenal. By the end of 2015, 3.2 billion people are expected to be online, a threefold increase from 2005. Moreover of these users a majority (2 billion) now resides in developing countries. Mobile (and increasingly smart) phones have had even greater growth from 2 to 7 billion subscriptions.

This impressive increase in users eclipses however the slow development of the governance and other standards that have failed to keep pace with the spread of the technology. Too often in the outcome document one encounters a reaffirmation of key elements of WSIS (e.g. on internet governance, bridging the digital divide, multi-stakeholder cooperation) without the elaboration of how these aims have been progressed over the last decade or guidance on how they should be developed in future.

We welcome the attention devoted to human rights in the document, including the reaffirmation of UNGA and Human Rights Council resolutions asserting that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online”. If this belief is ever to be more than just a slogan however it will require strict implementation and robust oversight. Pleas for states to respect the independence of the media and to uphold the right to privacy will ring hollow in the absence of meaningful action to safeguard these rights in practice.

The most striking omission in the outcome document was any reference to a peaceful cyberspace, a precondition for realizing the varied goals of WSIS. One searches in vain in the document for a mention of the word “peace” despite the fact that paragraph 36 of the Tunis Commitment recognized the importance of conflict prevention and the role of ICT in enabling the UN’s peacekeeping and peacemaking functions. The document refers to “the leading role for governments in cyber security matters relating to national security” without any acknowledgment of their responsibility for maintaining global cyber peace and security. Other stakeholders will have to redouble their efforts to ensure that irresponsible state conduct in cyberspace is not allowed to compromise this unique environment. Such state action if left unchecked could endanger the WSIS vision and a peaceful cyberspace.

Please find a copy of this Press Release here.

Contact:

Daniel Stauffacher
danielstauffacher@ict4peace.org
www.ict4peace.org

New York, 17 December 2015

ICT4Peace Lecture at the Executive School of Management, Technology and Law, University of St. Gallen

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ICT4Peace’s Daniel Stauffacher was invited by Dr. Daniel Woker, Ambassador-in-Residence at the Executive School of Management, Technology and Law (ES-HSG) of the University of St.Gallen to give a lecture on the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Crisis Management, Peacebuilding and Protection of Human Dignity.

In the second part of the lecture he described the policy research, advocacy and capacity building work needed to help counter the malicious use of the internet by state and non-state actors to preserve an open, free and secure cyberspace.

The presentation of Daniel Stauffacher, President of ICT4Peace, can be found here.

Registration now open: Build Peace 2016 in Zurich

Build Peace 2016

Involved in the conference since the first time it was held at MIT in Boston in 2013, the ICT4Peace Foundation is pleased to be the host of Build Peace 2016 at ETH, Zurich, Switzerland from 9 – 11 September 2016.

Registration and speaker applications are now open! Click here for more information and to sign up.

Build Peace is a community that brings together practitioners, activists and technologists from around the world to share experience and ideas on using technology for peacebuilding and conflict transformation. 250 people gather annually at the Build Peace conferences, which have to date been held in Boston (2014, hosted by the MIT Media Lab) and Nicosia (2015, hosted by UNDP). Participants come from as many as 60 different countries, working in national and international NGOs, the UN system, academic institutions, civil society organisations, grassroots organizing and the private sector.

The main theme for 2016 will be: Peace through technology: towards transformation. In 2014, we asked what technology could do in four areas: information, communications, networks and games. In 2015, we focused on by whom and for whom technology is used to build peace, looking specifically at questions of empowerment, behavior change and impact. In 2016, we propose to ask why we use technology to build peace. What and who are we trying to change? Where are the levers of change in society that technology can affect? What questions should we be asking as we engage in or with a conflict? What vectors of conflict transformation can technology best support? What ethical paradigms should guide our actions in using technology? Conflict does not need to be managed or resolved, rather it must be transformed away from violence and destruction and towards constructive change. Within this main theme of transformation, we identify three areas of inquiry: political transformation, socio-cultural transformation and ethics.

More details around keynote speakers and agenda will follow in the months to come.

Second Protection Information Management (PIM) meeting, led by UNHCR

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Having participated remotely in the first Protection Information Management (PIM) meeting held in May 2015, and subsequently given input to working documents that captured the discussions at the meeting, ICT4Peace Foundation’s Sanjana Hattotuwa was invited by UNHCR and the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) to attend the second PIM meeting, held in Geneva from 2 – 4 December.

Download agenda here.

The Foundation sees the development of UNHCR led standards on PIM as anchored to work it has facilitated with the UN system since 2008 around crisis information management.

The second PIM Working Meeting entailed collaborating and brainstorming with key Protection and IM partners at the global level, to support a process through which the discipline of Protection IM, its components, standards, guidance and tools will be further identified, defined and shared with the rest of the humanitarian community.

The PIM Working Meeting aimed to achieve the following objectives:

  • Overview of the PIM May Working Meeting outcomes, while further building upon specific outcomes of the May Working Meeting including 1) PIM Principles; 2) PIM Core Competencies; 3) PIM Matrix (as of May). Gather feedback and lessons learned by colleagues applying the above PIM products since the May Working Meeting.
  • Build upon and reach consensus on documents developed in line with PIM ‘Next Steps’ articulated in the May Working Meeting: 1) PIM Glossary 2) Agreement/commitment to Quality Standards for Data and Information Sharing
  • Updated and revised PIM Matrix (since the May Working Meeting), its categories: Population Data; Protection Needs Assessment; Protection Monitoring; Case Management; Protection Response Monitoring and Evaluation; Security/Access/Safety (collection of information); Other Sectoral IM Systems; Communicating with Affected Populations; Human Rights. Articulate the data outputs for each PIM category to be shared 1) with protection colleagues only; as well as a separate set of data outputs by category 2) to be shared as broadly as possible within the humanitarian community.
  • Explore possible PIM methodology; are there mandatory PIM categories which are required for all PIM categories or systems to function? Explore how to apply PIM in an operation or context, and understand how PIM contributes throughout the project or programme cycle. What is needed? How do the different relationships between the systems interact or influence a possible application of PIM?
  • PIM Capacity Building and Learning: Stocktaking of what has been done and developed, including PIM Briefings; PIM webinars; PIM sessions in trainings (DRC, JIPS, others?); PIM working sessions / testing; and training materials for three PIM Trainings and E-learning. Identification of additional needs, what is missing?
  • Agree on ‘Next Steps’ and the way forward for PIM after December, what are the next components, tools etc we will collaborate on. What is needed?
  • Modalities for collaborating on PIM: What’s the most effective way to continue to collaborate (meetings, webinars, use of Ref. Group) etc.? Is a Plan of Action needed?

 

First of its kind workshop on ICTs and Constitution Building

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The ICT4Peace Foundation, in collaboration with International Idea and Google Ideas, curated the first of its kind workshop on technology and constitutional building processes at the National Constitution Centre in Philadelphia, on Monday, 16 November 2015.

The concept note to the workshop can be read here.

As noted on the event webpage, the making of a Constitution is one of the most difficult processes a nation can embark on.  As well as critical political hurdles of reaching agreement among disparate groups regarding the basic structure and vision for the country, there are a number of other challenges that must be overcome if the constitution making process is to succeed. These include learning from the vast experience of other countries, ensuring the citizenry are kept informed and involved in the process and allowing opportunity for citizens to participate in the process, such that the constitution results from the voices of the people – their hopes, dreams, fears and concerns.

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The goals of the workshop were fourfold:

  1. To build awareness amongst the constitution-building community of easily adaptable technologies that can help the process and their work.
  2. To learn about potential negative consequence and spoiler dynamics increased through the adoption and adaptation of ICTs.
  3. To strengthen the links between the technology and the constitution-building communities.
  4. To create a robust network of practice and practitioners to develop cutting-edge technology responses to address both substance and process of constitution building.

Sanjana Hattotuwa, Special Advisor at the ICT4Peace Foundation, led the curation of the workshop which included the selection of Ignite Talks (10 minute auto-advancing presentations) from leading platform, app and website developers working around online and web mediated collaboration, guiding them through the development of their presentation to anchor the substance to the key foci of the workshop, working with other keynote speakers to hone their content to the key challenges faced by Constitution Building Process (CBP) experts who were also in the room, creating templates for feedback in the lead up to the workshop, conceptualising the agenda and on the day of the workshop, moderating the sessions.

Sanjana also gave a keynote at the beginning of the workshop around how technology can play a role in constitutional design and making.

In his keynote presentation, Sanjana flagged the (new) media landscape today as the foundation for discursive terrains in many societies that had to first be recognised and subsequently leveraged by CBP experts. He flagged not just known social media platform, but also in some contexts, for example with the use of Instagram in Sri Lanka, how specific apps and platforms, built for one purpose, were being appropriated by individuals and institutions around advocacy, activism and dialogue.

He then went on to give a bird eye’s view of what ICTs had contributed to in terms of socio-political and indeed, even cultural production, dissemination and contestation, and flagged the enduring problem of ascertaining how best to filter actionable intelligence from the level of noise and the tsunami of content produced over social media.

Flagging the Spectrum of Public Participation by the International Association of Public Participation, Sanjana underscored the need for ICTs in CBPs to focus on and reside more in the involvement, collaboration and empowerment of citizens, rather than as mere on-way information conduits or rudimentary, cosmetic consultative mechanisms.

Ending on a note of caution, Sanjana noted the importance of engaging with the unlike-minded, and the challenges around engineering the recognition of and engagement with difference. Stressing a greater focus on the role and research around cognitive neuroscience as it applies to CBPs and peacebuilding, the work of social marketers and the role played by telcos, Sanjana ended with a quote from renowned author William Gibson, noting that the responsibility of those assembled in the room was to disseminate and democratic knowledge around the use of tech in CBPs.

A full report of the workshop will be made available soon. Photos from the workshop can be seen here.

ICT4Peace at the International Information Security Research Consortium Conference in Seoul, Korea

The ICT4Peace Foundation was in invited to participate in the 12th International Information Security Research Consortium Conference (IISRC Conference), which was hosted by the Korea University Law School on 2 and 3 November 2015 in Seoul, Korea. His presentation at the Conference can be found here.

There topics on the agenda were: 1. State sovereignty and state boundary in cyberspace; 2. Theater of military operations in cyberspace. The concept of “neutrality” and neutral states in cyberspace; 3. Identification and marking of objects in cyberspace that are protected by international humanitarian law; 4. Critical infrastructure objects in cyberspace & international law; 5. The scope of distinction, proportionality and precaution principles within cyberwarfare; 6. The concepts of “combatant” and “non-combatants” in relation to armed conflict in cyberspace.

On this occasion ICT4Peace was invited to join the International Information Security Research Consortium, which includes 20 academic and research institutions from 12 countries. A membership agreement was signed between Prof. V.P.Sherstyuk, Director of Information Security Institute at the Lomonosov Moscow State University (ISI MSU) and Daniel Stauffacher.

On 21 April 2015, Daniel Stauffacher, President of ICT4Peace had given a presentation on the “Role of Civil Society, Private Sector and Academia in furthering Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in Cyberspace” at the Lomonosov University Moscow annual Garmisch-Partenkirchen Conference. The Conference brought together experts from Russia, USA, UK, Germany, Japan Korea, Estonia, Finland, Italy, France, Switzerland. The presentation by Daniel Stauffacher can be found here.

In his presentation on 21 April 2015, Daniel Stauffacher proposed concrete actions in the following areas of work for civil society, private sector and academia in furthering Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in cyberspace: i) Transparency and Accountability; ii) Participation; and iii) Deepening the Knowledge Base.

ICT4Peace has published the following report on the role of civil society in furthering confidence building in English here and in Spanish here.

ICT4Peace at UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) 10 Year Review Consultations in New York

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ICT4Peace at UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) 10 Year Review Consultations in New York

Former Canadian Ambassador Paul Meyer, Senior Advisor, ICT4Peace Foundation, kindly represented ICT4Peace at the Second World Summit on the Information WSIS+10 Interactive Stakeholder Consultations at UN Headquarters in New York on October 19, 2015.

In December of 2003, the world came together in Geneva at the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) to declare a “common desire and commitment to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society,” and ushered in an era of harnessing the power of information and communication technology to contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The resulting Geneva Plan of Action established targets and the eleven action lines, which guide development in specific areas.

The second phase of WSIS, conducted in Tunis in 2005, built upon the achievements of the Geneva Plan, with the resulting Tunis Agenda addressing additional issues, such as financing and internet governance. Paragraph 111 of the Tunis Agenda, endorsed by the General Assembly in resolution 60/252, requested the General Assembly to undertake the overall review of the implementation of the outcomes of WSIS in 2015. In response, the General Assembly in resolution 68/302, decided that the overall review will be concluded by a two-day high-level meeting on 15 and 16 December 2015 of the General Assembly, to be preceded by an intergovernmental process that also takes into account inputs from all relevant stakeholders of WSIS.

ICT4Peace has been actively participating in the preparatory process for the WSIS plus 10 Meeting in New York in December 2015, as reflected in these events and reports by the ITU and the UN CSTD.

Statement by Paul Meyer, Senior Advisor, ICT4Peace to Second WSIS+10 Interactive Stakeholder Consultations – UN HQ, October 19, 2015, New York (download as PDF here).

“On behalf of ICT4Peace, an NGO committed to promoting a peaceful cyberspace, I welcome this opportunity to contribute to the WSIS+10 preparatory process. WSIS represented the first dawning of international consciousness of the great potential of information and communication technologies for advancing the goals of the international community. The ensuing decade has only served to highlight the importance of ICTs and in particular the Internet for promoting the well-being of humanity. With over three billion Internet users, two-thirds of whom reside in the global south it is imperative that this versatile tool is fully utilized to promote the core objectives of the United Nations: security, human rights and development.

From our perspective, a crucial theme to emerge from WSIS and which is not given the profile it merits in the zero draft document before us, is the need for a peaceful cyberspace. Maintaining cyberspace as a realm for peaceful use for the benefit of all humanity is a fundamental precondition for a healthy information society today and in the future. As the preamble to the Sustainable Development Goals document, adopted here last month, rightly reminded us: “there can be no sustainable development without peace”.

This interrelationship was already evident to the drafters of the 2005 Tunis Commitment, paragraph 36 of which reads “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 conflict, promoting their peaceful resolution, supporting humanitarian action, including protection of civilians in armed conflict, facilitating peacekeeping missions, and assisting post conflict peace-building and reconstruction”

We believe the intervening years have amply proven the wisdom of this stance. The last decade has also served to highlight the magnitude of the threat from malicious cyber activity that can wreck havoc on users, be they states, companies, NGOs or just plain individuals. We consider this risk and the imperative to preserve cyberspace for peaceful purposes, requires explicit recognition in the outcome document.

It might best come early under the “Building Confidence and Security in the use of ICTs” section and consist of a reaffirmation of paragraph 36 of the Tunis Commitment regarding the potential of ICTs to promote peace and to prevent conflict. If specific citing of paragraph 36 is not possible a suitable sentence would be “Maintaining a peaceful cyberspace and using ICTs as tools for conflict prevention is fundamental to our vision of the information society”.

Such an affirmation is incumbent on those who wish to prevent conflict from compromising this special environment for humanity and to promote instead the immense contribution ICTs can make in achieving the peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace-building goals of the UN and the international community as a whole.”