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The ICT4Peace Foundation is honoured to have been invited to speak at the UN General Assembly on the importance of the emerging ICT tools, including traditional and new media for supporting actors working in peace operations, peace building, humanitarian response and the protection of fundamental rights.

ICT4Peace’s President, Daniel Stauffacher participated at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) - UN General Assembly interactive hearing on 2 July 2015 at the UN in New York, and delivered the following statement.

The Audio recording of Daniel’s presentation can be found here.

"Mr. President, Esteemed Co-facilitators, Madame Chair, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honour for the ICT4Peace Foundation to have been invited to this important meeting. I also would like to thank H.E. Mr. Mohamed Khaled Khiari, Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the United Nations for his kind words. I also remember with great fondness our close cooperation in both phases of the WSIS process in Geneva and Tunis. ICT4Peace has actively participated in the earlier meetings related to the WSIS review processes lead by UNESCO and ITU and CSTD Secretariat respectively.

ICT4Peace is a policy and action-oriented international Foundation, based in Geneva that promotes cyber security and the peaceful use of cyberspace. It explores explores and champions the use of ICTs and media for crisis management, humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping and peace building.

The ICT4Peace Foundation is a brainchild of Paragraph 36 of the WSIS Tunis Commitment, which addresses the role of ICTs in preventing, responding to and recovering from conflict.

Para 36, which is our “raison d’etre” and close to our heart, reads as follows:

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 conflict, promoting their peaceful resolution, supporting humanitarian action, including the protection of civilians in armed conflicts, facilitating peacekeeping missions, and assisting post conflict peace-building and reconstruction efforts.

Allow me also to remind all present here today, that the United Nations Millenium Declaration of 2000, in its first paragraphs, addresses the issues of peace, security and disarmament, along with economic and social development and poverty eradication as its overarching goals. Therefore, and similar to the important achievements in using ICTs for Development, the Heads of States in Tunis invited the international community to pay more attention to the great potential of emerging ICT tools for supporting actors working in peace operations, peace building, humanitarian response and the protection of fundamental rights.

Since WSIS, a vibrant community of state and non-state actors has emerged. This community has developed a broad range of new ICT tools for peaceful purposes and in support of humanitarian operations. These include tools such as crowdsourcing like Ushahidi, crisis mapping, two-way communications with victims of disasters and so forth. In particular informal communities of expertise such as the Crisis Mappers Conference, the Digital Humanitarian Network or the BuildPeace Conference have contributed significantly to developing and deploying ICTs in support of crisis information management systems and peace-building efforts. But more work is needed.

On the other hand, over the past decade we have also witnessed how ICTs are increasingly used for purposes detrimental to peace and security, including hacking and other attacks on digital networks and systems. Traditional and social media are also being used to promote disharmony and conflict between and within countries and increasingly, to incite violence. Therefore Governments, international organizations and civil society must urgently address the newly emerging threats through combating crime and terrorism, while respecting human rights, developing norms of responsible state behavior and confidence-building measures in the cyberspace.

Allow me to thank the Secretariat of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development for an excellent description of the challenges and achievements in the context of para. 36 of WSIS 2005 Tunis Commitment in their report: “Implementing WSIS Outcomes – A ten Year Review “ (see page 27).

I would also like to thank the authors of the report of “WSIS+10 Statement on the Implementation of WSIS Outcomes” for including a reference to paragraph 36 in its Preamble, which inter alia reads as follows:

“..In particular we reaffirm para 36 of the Tunis Commitment regarding the potential of ICTs to promote peace and to prevent conflict.”

In conclusion, I would li to reiterate ICT4Peace’s commitment to the development of ICTs for peace and security for an open, free and secure cyberspace.

I invite UN member states and all the stake-holders to reaffirm para. 36 of the Tunis Commitment regarding the potential of ICTs to promote peace and to prevent conflict and contribute to its implementation.

Thank you very much."

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More information about ICT4Peace’s work with the UN Secretariat, Agencies, Fund and Programmes in the field Crisis Information Management you find here.

Please find Daniel Stauffachers presentation on 4 and 5 May 2015 to the United Nations member states in Geneva, where he called again for the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for peaceful purposes as part of the WSIS Review processes.