Stockholm, Sweden – A discussion on technology hosted by UNTIL at the annual Stockholm Forum Peace and Peace signalled a shift among development leaders on how access to technology can be a driver for and impediment to peace.
“Increasing complexity of conflict situations requires new understandings and mechanisms,” Maria Mekri, a consultant for UNTIL, said in opening remarks. “Technological solution may aid not just our understanding of conflict but also create tailored solutions for local conflict drivers.”
The field of Peace-Tech remains fairly new but the UNTIL roundtable was able to focus conference attention on the role of technologies in conflict prevention.
-- Technology can be used for war as well as for peace. In an increasing and fast changing world, technologies cannot be seen merely as a tool. Tech changes the world, the individual, and how do humans relate to each other and the ongoing development of technology and humanity is very intertwined.
-- Most technology is currently being developed by private companies seeking to monetize and sell their products, creating challenges for its wide use and in global governance.
-- At the grassroots level, Peace-Tech initiatives are already being used for peacebuilding in user-based initiatives. It is also being used for open participatory peace processes. Nonetheless, the issue of security and data protection remains a challenge.
-- Push past the initial stage of understanding how technology and innovation has a role in peace and begin charting practices.
-- Empower peacebuilders, activists, and academics to fill gaps of information making it possible to identify patterns and trends in conflict.
-- Cyber and technological attacks to basic infrastructure, such as broadband and communication, should be taken in consideration in the humanitarian sphere.
"The advances of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, including those brought on by a combination of computing power, robotics, big data and artificial intelligence, are generating revolutions in health care, transport and manufacturing.
I am convinced that these new capacities can help us to lift millions of people out of poverty, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and enable developing countries to leap‑frog into a better future."
23 March 2018, New York