First of its kind workshop on ICTs and Constitution Building


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.


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


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.”

Hate speech, elections and social media: Presentation for MIMU in Yangon, Myanmar

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At the invitation of the Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU), Sanjana Hattotuwa conducted an information presentation on hate and dangerous speech monitoring plus counter-speech strategies, as well as social media strategies during and in response to elections. Both were based on his experience in the strategic design of content and deployment of social media apps, services and platforms against hate speech as well as in the service of election monitoring and voter education.

The discussion, slated for one and a half hours but lasting over two, covered a number of issues anchored to the topics of the presentation in the context of Myanmar, and the historic elections that will be held on the 9th of November.

Participants discussion, inter alia, the ways through which technology could help in voter and civic education, the challenges around the design of content and the appropriation of technology in a low bandwidth environment, the challenges around the increasing use of mobile telephony in responding to hate speech, the need to identify stakeholders and key audiences in frameworks of engagement around hate speech monitoring and counter-speech production.

Sanjana’s presentation looked at election violence monitoring and voter education (using social media over mobile platforms as well) conducted in particular during the Presidential Election on 8th January and Parliamentary Elections held on 20th August 2015 in Sri Lanka. Alongside this Sanjana also briefly spoke about the on-going research into hate and dangerous speech on Facebook fora.

At the end of his presentation, the submission was made that what was often lacking in civil society was not the technology but the imagination to embrace technology in the service of peacebuilding, civic participation, democracy and governance. To this end, simple strategies to target audiences over Facebook, plus Katha – a new app from Sri Lanka allowing for more persistent and persuasive conversations using audio / podcasts on mobile devices – were showcased, in addition to the use of Instagram in Yangon, as examples of how more serious, strategic and sustained use of social media could be engineered to combat the rise of violence.

Sanjana’s presentation can be downloaded as a PDF here.

ICT4Peace Capacity Building Program for International Cyber Security Negotiations in Singapore

As part of its Capacity Building Program for International Cyber Security Negotiations, ICT4Peace organized the first cybersecurity policy and diplomacy workshop for ASEAN countries on 19 and 20 October 2015 in Singapore. The workshop was hosted by the Government of Singapore and co-organized by ICT4Peace and The S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). It is the third workshop organized by ICT4Peace, after conducting the same course in Bogota for Latin American Countries in Cooperation with OAS, and for East African countries in Nairobi in cooperation with the Government of Kenya and at the Hague Global Conference on Cyberspace (GCCS) hosted by the Government of the Netherlands. The next workshop will be held for all African countries at the AU in Addis Ababa in February 2016 and for the Diplomatic Community in Geneva in March 2016. Further information about the ICT4Peace Capacity Building Program for International Cyber Security Negotiations.

In Singapore, 20 Diplomats, Senior Officials and Technical Officials from ASEAN Governments participated in the workshop. The faculty included high-level experts from Estonia, Switzerland, Germany, US, Ireland and Australia. The program of the workshop you will find here.

The workshop was made possible thanks to the generous support from the Governments of Singapore, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland. The objectives of the program are as follows:

Long term objective:

Mitigating risks to both rights and security in the cyber-sphere through the promotion of international norms of responsible state behavior, confidence-building measures (CBMs), and international cooperation.

Short term objectives:

  • A better and more detailed understanding by public officials, diplomats, industry, civil society representatives from all regions of the world of international norms, CBMs and international cooperation in the Cyber space
  • To broaden the participation in the international debates and regional and global negotiations in fora such as the London Process, UN GGE, OSCE, ASEAN, OAS, in the EU, the AU and AP-CERT
  • A better understanding of the concerns, best practices, policies and institutional arrangements in the field of cyber security at the regional level
  • Build a network of alumni, lecturers and experts of the workshop course, to up-date and exchange information on future developments in the global and regional international cyber security debate, research and negotiations

ICT4Peace at Swiss Business Association Singapore on Cybersecurity as an international challenge for States and Companies


ICT4Peace’s Daniel Stauffacher was invited by the Swiss Business Association Singapore to give a presentation on the Cyber-war-threat as an international challenge for states and companies.

Based on examples of cyber-incidents reported by the media Daniel Stauffacher described the international security challenge for states and companies, and the ongoing global, regional and bilateral diplomatic processes. He invited the global business community and civil society to engage in these processes. He also presented the Cybersecurity Policy and Diplomacy Training course, that ICT4Peace was co-hosting in Singapore on 19 and 20 October 2015 for ASEAN countries, in cooperation with the Government of Singapore and RSIS. His presentation can be found here.

He also introduced the work program of ICT4Peace on Rights and Security in Cyberspace.

ICT4Peace Baseline Review published in Chinese Language

ICT4Peace is honoured to announce that its acclaimed paper BASELINE REVIEW of ICT-RELATED PROCESSES & EVENTS has been published in the Chinese language as part of its cooperation with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), Beijing.


At the 2013 Seoul Conference on Cyberspace, the ICT4Peace Foundation hosted a side-meeting during which strong emphasis was placed on ensuring greater inclusivity with regard to on-going and emerging cyber security-related processes, including with regard to ensuring greater regional participation in related discussions and debate, and greater involvement of civil society, industry and academia (as per the UN GGE reports). ICT4Peace Foundation’s related plenary Statement reiterated these views, committing itself to ensuring that information on the different processes reaches a broader geographical audience and establishing means to report these views to government. The release of the baseline review report in Chinese language ia now a further step in this direction. The translation into Spanish is planned.

The report is structured around the following three areas: i) international and regional security (the predominant focus); ii) transnational crime and terrorism; iii) and governance, human rights and development. These areas are obviously interdependent, with developments in one area often impacting another, yet they have traditionally been approached separately through distinct communities of practice and fora. This has been the case over the past fifteen years; yet more recent developments demonstrate that these policy areas are converging, thus constituting an opportunity for wider ranging agreements on the one hand, and greater risk of misunderstanding and tension on the other. The report also serves as a baseline for future annual reports.

ICT4Peace is indebted to Ms. Tang Lan, Director at CICIR, for this cooperation and her staff for having translated the text, and to Yuheng Zhang of the East-Asian Institute of the University of Zurich, Switzerland for the review of the translation and finalising the tables in the Chinese edition.

ICT4Peace also published the paper A ROLE FOR CIVIL SOCIETY? – ICTs, NORMS AND CONFIDENCE BUILDING MEASURES IN THE CONTEXT OF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY in Spanish Language in cooperation with the Organisation of American States (OAS).

ICT4Peace Cybersecurity Policy and Diplomacy Workshop for ASEAN countries in Singapore


Hosted by the Government of Singapore, ICT4Peace, in cooperation with RSIS, is organising a cybersecurity policy and diplomacy course in Singapore (19 – 20 October 2015) for the ASEAN Countries. Invited to participate are Diplomats, Government Officials and a limited number of academics and representatives of Think Tanks from the ASEAN Countries. The participants will be familiarised with the ongoing global (e.g. UN GGE), regional (e.g. OSCE, ARF, AU, OAS) and bilateral cybersecurity negotiation processes. They will acquire a deeper understanding of the most important areas of diplomatic negotiations for a secure and open cyberspace, such as the application of international law for Cyberspace, norms of responsible state behaviour as well as confidence building measures in the cyberspace. An exercise will be carried out to test and deepen the understanding of the topics presented.

The course will be completed with a discussion on the way forward for the ASEAN Region in terms of cybersecurity policy. ICT4Peace has conducted this course already in cooperation with the OAS for the Latin American Region and with the Government of Kenya for 12 East African Countries. The next course will be held in Cooperation with African Union in Addis Ababa, and for the Diplomatic Community in Geneva in cooperation with GCSP, Geneva.

The general information provided by the Government of Singapore can be found here.

The draft program can be found here.

Diplomats, Government Officials as well qualified academics and members of think tanks from the ASEAN countries are invited to apply through their Governments or directly to:

Ms. Sherry Lim
Technical Cooperation Officer/International Programmes | Technical Cooperation Directorate
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore
T: +65 6379 8471 |

ICT4Peace: Smart Use of ICT, the Internet and Universal Access Imperative for Successful Implementation of the SDGs

On 27 September 2015 ICT4Peace participated in the UN Summit on the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and contributed to the Interactive Dialogue Session on building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions to achieve sustainable development, co-chaired by H.E. President Michelle Bachelet (Chile) and H.E. President Park Geun-hye (Korea). ICT4Peace’s Daniel Stauffacher’s full statement can be found here.


The Video recording of his intervention (beginning at 2:03:02) can be found here.

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