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Dear friends and colleagues,

2009 was again a very busy and successful year for the ICT4Peace Foundation.

As you might remember, the ICT4Peace process was launched with the support of the Swiss Government in 2004 and lead to the publication at the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis in 2005 of the groundbreaking report of the UN ICT Task Force: The Role of ICT in Preventing, Responding to and Recovering from Conflict and the adoption of Paragraph 36 of WSIS in Tunis. In 2006, the ICT4Peace Foundation was created in Geneva with the support of President Martti Ahtisaari, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2009.

In 2008 the UN Secretary General’s ASG and Chief Information Technology Officer, Dr. Soon-Choi invited the ICT4Peace Foundation to carry out a Stocktaking exercise on the UN Crisis Information Management Capabilities, including the use of Web 2.0 and social networking tools.

As a follow-up to this report, in 2009 the Foundation assisted the UN CITO and other key UN agencies such as DPKO, DPA, OCHA, WFP, UNICEF, UNHCR to develop the UN Crisis Information Management Strategy (CiMS) and create the UN Crisis Information Management Advisory Group (CiMAG).

The Crisis Information Management Strategy (CiMS) is based on the recognition that governments, the UN, IFIs, non-governmental organisations, business and media have significant experience in crisis response. Yet, no single agency, department or actor has the capacity or sole mandate to address these crises. This makes it vital that everyone involved in disaster prevention and response harmonise the use tools and systems to produce, disseminate and archive information in a manner that can be scaled up or rapidly focused to deal with any type of crisis. The CiM strategy will help all actors, including the UN’s member states and agencies, to deal with all stages of a crisis lifecycle more efficiently and effectively. The strategy goes on to suggest that crises today require information to be shared within and between all actors, and that interoperability of CiM systems is critical in this regard.

The ICT4Peace Foundation, in the fulfilment of its mandate, also continued to work with the Cairo Regional Center for Training on Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping in Africa (CCCPA), the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra and L'Ecole de Maintien de la Paix (EMP) based in Bamako, Mali to develop CiM training courses for peacekeepers, governments, I.O., NGOs in multi-stakeholder and multi-dimensional missions in the region. For example, in 2008 at the CCCPA, real time, hands-on exercises in citizen generated, online information gathering, analysis, visualization and reporting, using Web 2.0 tools as well as social networking platforms, based on an actual, evolving ground situation were conducted. For many participants, this was their first experience of leveraging tools and services on the web to inform policies and responses regarding a sudden onset disaster.

A number of other examples, anchored to the Role of ICT in Preventing, Responding to and Recovering from Conflict are included in the Foundation’s ICT4Peace Inventory wiki (http://inventory.ict4peace.org), which is updated regularly with new initiatives and examples from across the world. The Foundation is presently also launching an ICT4Peace paper series with the Berkman Center at Harvard University and Georgiatech.
Finally, the ICT4Peace Foundation was increasingly solicited to participate at major events to bring to bear its unique and rich experience regarding the role of ICTs in conflict and natural disasters. Besides Kofi Annan’s Global Humanitarian Forum 2009, for instance the Danish Government and UNFCCC invited the ICT4Peace Foundation to present its work at the Copenhagen Climate Summit. On that occasion, the Foundation launched an appeal to the Heads of States, UN, International Organisations, civil society, business and media for better disaster preparedness and crisis management.

On behalf of the ICT4Peace Foundation, I wish you and your families a successful and fulfilling year ahead.

Daniel Stauffacher
Chairman
ICT4Peace Foundation
Geneva, Switzerland

danielstauffacher@ict4peace.org
www.ict4peace.org