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ICT4Peace aims to enhance the performance of the international community in crisis management through the application of information and Communications Technology (ICT) – technologies that can facilitate effective and sustained communication between peoples, communities and stakeholders involved in crisis management. 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 and peace-keeping activities of the international community. In bridging the fragmentation between various organizations and actors during different phases of crises, ICT4Peace aims to facilitate 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.”

ICT4Peace aims to raise the awareness about the Tunis Commitment and promote its practical realization in all stages of crisis management and peace operations, facilitating knowledge exchange and information transfer between all involved actors, including communities affected by disasters and conflict.

Objective: Enhancing the performance of the international community in crisis management through ICT

  • ICT4Peace aims to raise awareness about the contribution and potential of ICT in crisis management
  • ICT4Peace aims to foster exchange of best practices in the field of ICT for crisis management
  • ICT4Peace aims to enhance the competency of the international community in crisis management through improved interagency interoperability supported by practical collaborative frameworks and ICT tools.
  • ICT4Peace aims to contribute to the establishment of broad principles derived from operational best practices, help integrate them into UN processes and make ICT part of UN evaluation exercises.

Activities carried out so far:

  • In-depth research on the Role of ICT and Information Management in Preventing, Responding to and Recovering from Conflict and publication of its report: http://www.ict4peace.org/articles/ict4peace_ebook.pdf.
  • Negotiation and adoption of Paragraph 36 of the WSIS Tunis Commitment.
  • Contributions to the Peace.it publication by the Crisis Management Initiative: http://www.ict4peace.org/articles/PeaceIT_1_2007.pdf
  • Setting up of ICT4Peace Foundation website: http://www.ict4peace.org/
  • Establishment of an ICT4Peace Informal Policy advisory Board under the Chairmanship of President Martti Ahtisaari of Finland: http://www.ict4peace.org/people-1.html
  • Launching of Partnership between DESA Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID) and ICT4Peace Foundation: ICT4Peace Foundation appointed as leader of GAID community of practice of ICT4Peace
  • Under the Chairmanship of President Martti Ahtisaari of Finland, a group of experts from the UN, international civil society, business and academia met in March 2007 to identify key challenges of and solutions to existing ICT mechanisms on conflict management. Launching of collaborative research of best practices by CMI, ISCRAM, ICT4Peace Foundation, Interpeace Alliance.
  • Launch of ICT4Peace inventory wiki: A global database of ICT in crisis management, humanitarian aid and peacebuilding (http://inventory.ict4peace.org/)
  • Launch of partnership between the ICT4Peace Foundation and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) through the Global Symposium +5 ‘Information for Humanitarian Action’ event and the ICT4Peace: An International Process for Crisis Management process (http://www.reliefweb.int/symposium/).

Roadmap:

  • Meeting at the United Nations, New York on 15th November 2007 to launch the ICT4Peace initiative and introduce it to an international range of stakeholders.
  • Organization of a panel and workshops to illustrate and discuss case studies and best practices of using ICT in crisis management and promoting peace in January 2008.
  • Presentation of a report on the current state of interoperability and ICTs in conflict mitigation by spring 2008, including opportunities and challenges for ICT4Peace
  • Confirmed buy-in from Governments and UN and key international and local partners by mid-2008 to launch ICT4Peace process in the appropriate UN bodies.
  • Final commitment by Governments, relevant UN bodies and stake-holders by 2008 on a set of principles and practical guidelines for better use of ICT in crisis management in order to save resources and lives during crisis management and peace-building operations.

Guiding questions for ICT4Peace:

  • Illustrate with examples and case studies how a good use of ICT has helped in promoting peace or how a lack of a good ICT use has hampered crises management? Corresponding conclusions to be drawn with regard to the priorities and challenges in future years?
  • How can we enable a greater degree of cohesion, transparency and accountability to processes of conflict transformation? Can ICT augment existing stakeholder interventions, enable marginalized actors to participate more fully in crisis management peacebuilding processes, empower grassroots communities, and bring cohesion to full-field peacebuilding activities?
  • Establishing computers and Internet connections is insufficient if the technology is not used effectively, if people are discouraged from using it or if local economies and patterns of access cannot sustain long-term application. How do we make sure that a strong political will supports these transformations? How do we make sure that technology is used effectively (how do we train and educate people in the use of ICT)? How do we assure that gains related to the deployment of ICT are distributed in a way as to also serve the interests of those who could hamper the use of ICT? How do we assure that the financial resources needed to sustain long-term use of ICT are assured?
  • How should ICT be used in the training of crisis managers?
  • How do ICT contribute to enhance inter-agency interoperability and collaboration within the international community (UN system, EU/EC efforts etc) in order to improve peace-keeping, conflict prevention and crisis management?
  • How do we promote information-sharing in places of conflict and/or crises?

For more details of the United Nations launch event, please download the PDF here.