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A speech late last year by President Martti Ahtisaari , Chairman of the Board at Crisis Management Initiative, titled Our Common Humanity in the Information Age: Principles and Values for Development and delivered at the UN is worth recalling today as a prescient statement on the use of ICTs in peacebuilding, conflict mitigation, conflict prevention and development.

"Effective use of ICTs can help to provide access to critical, real-time information, which is crucial in timely and appropriate decision-making in crisis situations. ICTs have also proven to be valuable tools in creating institutional memory of crisis management operations which are often characterised by a rapid turnover of staff. ICTs help to facilitate sharing of information and communication amongst multiple organisations and agencies working in crisis management and thus increase the multi-stakeholder coordination. Proper use of ITC would also have great impact in improving situational awareness in crisis environment where dozens of actors work without knowing enough about each other’s activities. The lack of information sharing and associated tools have been noted as key contributing factors in some of the recent incidents resulting in death or injury of international personnel. The concerted use of ICT in crisis management can improve the safety and security of all crisis management personnel in crisis areas. Functioning information sharing between organisations improves situational awareness and creates opportunities for early-warning on threats and prevention of conflicts."

Read the full speech here.