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WSIS FORUM 2010, UN WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY, 12-13 May 2010, Geneva

The ICT4Peace Foundation will host a workshop during the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) FORUM 2010, entitled Getting it Right in Crisis Management: Going beyond the hype on ICTs.

13 May 2010, 09:00-11:00, Room L
Getting it Right in Crisis Management: Going beyond the hype on ICTs
Haiti is seen as a turning point in the use of ICTs in Crisis Management but many lessons remain unheeded from previous disasters such as the 2005 Tsunami. Indeed, there is an expectation that ICTs themselves can revolutionize crisis management and provide a “quick-fix” in solving intractable, complex situations often in politically unstable locations around the globe. However, the framework in which the ICTs operate is often just as critical, if not more so, than the technology itself. How can we improve interoperability between UN agencies and other aid agencies to ensure the quick, reliable sharing of information both in crisis situations and disaster mitigation? How can we properly assess the impact of ICTs in Crisis Management to date? What works? What doesn’t? Are we investing in the right technologies that primarily need to function in very difficult environments? Is the humanitarian community setting the right priorities in the development of Crisis Information Management tools? What about capacity building in local communities?

Speakers:
Lin Wells, Distinugished Research Professor & Force Transformation Chair National Defence University, USA (may join remotely)
Brendan Mc Donald, Manager, Field Information Services Unit (FIS), Communications and Information Services Branch, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs CONFIRMED
Nigel Snoad, Microsoft, USA CONFIRMED
Juliana Rotich, Program Director, Ushahidi, Kenya CONFIRMED
Bartel Van de Walle, Assistant Professor, Information Systems and ISCRAM Chair, University of Tilburg, The Netherlands CONFIRMED
Sanjana Hattotuwa, Special Advisor, ICT4Peace Foundation CONFIRMED

The Foundation will also be participating in the following high-level WSIS debate focusing on ICTs for disaster management:

Wednesday 12 May 2010, 09:00-11:00, Room H

ICTs for Disaster Management
ICTs play a critical role in disaster predication, monitoring, and detection. ICT can save human lives through the timely dissemination of early warning alerts. In the immediate aftermath of disasters, ICT plays an important role to coordinate search and rescue operations, the supply of food, medicine and other essential services, and in providing critical information to the victims of disasters. Emergency Telecommunications play a critical role in the immediate aftermath of disasters by ensuring timely flow of vital information which is much needed by government agencies, and other humanitarian actors that are involved in rescue operations and providing medical assistance to the injured.

Moderator: Dr. Cosmas Zavazava, Emergency Telecommunications- Telecommunication Development Bureau, International Telecommunications Union

Opening Remarks: Mr. Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, Director of Telecommunication Development Bureau, ITU

Panellists:
Mr. Sony Esteus, Director Société d’Animation et de Communication Sociale (SAKS), Haiti
Mr. Steve Buckley, President of the World Association of Community Radio AMARC, Quebec
Dr. Daniel Stauffacher, Chairman, ICT4Peace Foundation, Geneva
Mr. Thomas Wasilewski, Senior Director for Government Affairs, QUALCOMM
Mr. Mark Moore, President Collabria LLC, USA
Mr. Emanuele Gennai, Global Affairs Account Executive, EMEA, ESRI Europe, Nyon, Switzerland
Dr. Seppo SISATTO, Chairman, Organizing Committee GAREC, FINLAND

For further information about the WSIS program in general, please have a look at the WSIS Forum 2010 website: http://www.itu.int/wsis/implementation/2010/forum/geneva/

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ICT4Peace aims to enhance the performance of the international community in crisis management through the application of information Communications Technology (ICT) – technologies that can facilitate effective and sustained communication between peoples, communities and stakeholders involved in crisis management, humanitarian aid and peacebuilding. Crisis management is defined, for the purposes of this process, as civilian and/or military intervention in a crisis that may be a violent or non-violent with the intention of preventing a further escalation of the crisis and facilitating its resolution. This definition covers peace mediation, peace-keeping and peace-building activities of the international community. In bridging the fragmentation between various organisations and activities during different crisis phases, ICT4Peace aims to facilitate a holistic, cohesive and collaborative mechanisms directly in line with Paragraph 36 of the WSIS Tunis Commitment:

“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.”

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ICT4Peace (Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication pour la paix) a pour objectif de relever le niveau de performance de la communauté internationale dans la gestion de crise en s’appuyant sur l’utilisation des technologies de l’information et de la communication (TIC). Celles-ci peuvent, en effet, contribuer à rendre plus efficace, dans la durée, la communication entre individus, communautés et autres acteurs impliqués dans la gestion de crise, l’assistance humanitaire et le rétablissement de la paix. Dans ce contexte, il faut comprendre la gestion de crise comme une intervention civile et/ou militaire dans une situation de violence ou de non-violence aux fins de prévenir une aggravation de la crise et de faciliter sa résolution. Cette définition recouvre toute activité de la communauté internationale déployée dans le cadre d’une médiation pour la paix, d’opérations de maintien de la paix et de rétablissement de la paix. En établissant pendant les différentes phases de la crise des passerelles entre organisations et activités, ICT4Peace cherche à mettre en place des mécanismes permettant une approche qui soit globale et cohésive et qui favorise la collaboration. Par son action, ICT4Peace est en ligne directe avec le paragraphe 36. de l’Engagement de Tunis adopté par le Sommet mondial sur la Société de l’information (SMSI) :

"36. Nous apprécions le rôle que peuvent jouer les TIC pour promouvoir la paix et prévenir les conflits qui ont notamment des incidences négatives sur la réalisation des objectifs de développement. Les TIC peuvent être utilisées pour repérer les situations de conflit grâce à des systèmes d'alerte avancée, pour prévenir les conflits, promouvoir leur règlement pacifique, appuyer les actions d'aide humanitaire, notamment en ce qui concerne la protection des civils dans les conflits armés, faciliter les opérations de maintien de la paix et contribuer au rétablissement de la paix et à la reconstruction après des conflits. "

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La Fundación ICT4Peace se estableció en 2005 a fin de promover la toma de conciencia y llevar a la práctica los términos del Párrafo 36 del Compromiso de Túnez de la Cumbre Mundial de la Sociedad de la Información (WSIS), en todas las etapas de la gestión de crisis, a saber:

“ 36. Valorizamos el potencial de las TICs en la promoción de la paz y la prevención de conflictos que afectan negativamente los objetivos de desarrollo. Las TICs pueden ser utilizadas para identificar situaciones conflictivas por medio de sistemas de alerta avanzada para la prevención de conflictos, promoviendo su resolución pacífica al apoyar la acción humanitaria, incluyendo la protección de civiles en conflictos armados, facilitando la actividad de las misiones de mantenimiento de la paz y la reconstrucción en la fase posterior al conflicto.”

En ese sentido, la Fundación contempla la función de las TICs como herramientas para cubrir los aspectos de alerta temprana y prevención de conflictos, mediación de paz, mantenimiento y construcción de la paz, así como la gestión de desastres de todo tipo y operaciones humanitarias requeridas por la comunidad internacional.