17-19 March 2020 - Peacebuilding and Digital Technologies Consultation
New technologies have become increasingly ingrained in people’s day-to-day lives, connecting people worlds apart and dramatically changing the way information is accessed and communicated. Indeed, they have the power to fundamentally shape social and political narratives worldwide, empowering marginalised voices to shift social norms for the better.
While they can be a power for good, new technologies are also becoming more and more a factor in violent conflict. Whether this is by providing a mechanism for recruitment into armed and/or extremist groups, being a channel for the spread of rumours and false news, or encouraging division and polarisation. At the same time, these technologies can provide opportunities for new, innovative, and different approaches to prevent violent conflict and build peace.
Furthermore, while the use of new technologies for peacebuilding has shown much promise, but there are still many ethical and operational issues to consider in the sector when it comes to doing no harm in our peacebuilding work.
To tackle these questions, Peace Direct is convening an online consultation to broaden the conversation on this topic.
Peacebuilding and digital technologies, scheduled for 17 – 19 March, will be a global conversation between practitioners and peacebuilders to explore both the impact technology is having on conflict dynamics and the effective and ethical use of digital technologies for peacebuilding.
Ahead of the consultation we will work with partners and participants to define the areas of discussion, examples of questions participants may be asked to explore could include:
- How is the prevalence of rumour and misinformation on social media influencing conflict dynamics?
- How are activists impacted by state efforts to shut down civic space online?
- How are new technology platforms bypassing traditional methods of conflict prevention or early warning?
- What work is taking place to counter polarisation?
- In what ways are peacebuilders taking advantage of decentralised communications platforms to organise more effectively?
- Can the data being generated online be used for conflict early warning?
- In the rush to work with the latest and most exciting technologies, do we risk ignoring more tried and trusted technologies (such as radio) that may be more effective and inclusive?
Together, we will consider both the impact technology is having on conflict dynamics and the approaches civil society actors are using to use technology to build peace.
Overall aim of the consultation
The aim of the consultation is to provide participants an opportunity for:
- Shared learning amongst experts from a range of backgrounds, including peacebuilders, local experts, practitioners, researchers, academics and civil society organisations.
- Drawing out the experiences, analysis, and recommendations of local peacebuilders on the use of technology in peacebuilding and the impact of technology on conflict dynamics.
- Furthering the understanding of the relationship between technology and peacebuilding.
- Contributing to the discussions, policies, and practice on the use of technology for peacebuilding of international stakeholders, including at the UN-level.
In collaboration with a group of participants, Peace Direct will produce a report for publication, intended to share knowledge from the consultation.
How will it work?
The consultations will take place online on Peace Direct’s Platform4Dialogue online discussion platform and last 3 days. The main language will be English, but participants that are more comfortable writing in other languages are welcome to do so.
The online system allows participants to contribute at times most suitable to them and within their own time zone. Therefore, it is possible to fit participation around your usual commitments. It may take just a few minutes a day to make some very important contributions to the exchanges.
A public report will be produced from this consultation, but no participant will be quoted publicly without separate consent.
What is required to participate?
The online consultation will take place from 17-19 March 2020.
During this period, participants will be expected to log in and join the discussion at least once on each day, or more often if you choose to do so. You will be expected to read the introductory reflection pieces, questions, as well as the comments of other participants, and then contribute by posting comments, responses, ideas, and examples.
How can participation benefit your work?
This is a unique opportunity for you to participate in a collaborative piece of research and project development. You will:
- Be given the opportunity to contribute to discussions on locally-led Peacebuilding and digital technologies.
- Share experiences and locally-led peacebuilding strategies in regard to technology and learn about successful strategies from other experts and practitioners in the peacebuilding sector.
- Receive a report at the end of the consultation which you can use in your own research and development work. The report will include a list of participants and affiliated organisations of those who have provided consent.
Contact Joel Gabri, Peace Direct: firstname.lastname@example.org