Throughout history, changes in technology have led to changes in the ways war is fought and peace is won. International organisations, including the UN and many others, have had to contend with emerging digital technologies that change the nature of conflict and shape the global geopolitical landscape, in which peace operations operate. As with most technological change, current developments offer opportunities for harnessing innovation to enhance effectiveness and foster sustainable peace but also harbour significant risks: digital technologies can destabilise the security environment and can pose a threat to the peace operation itself. Looking at the horizon and beyond, how peace operations can couple technological developments with human innovation and cooperation will determine their ability to successfully manage conflicts and maintain peace.

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Crisis informatics insights for peace operations

Crisis Informatics – a field combining computing and social science to make visible and support the creative ways in which humans use information and communication technology (ICT) to respond to crises –  has made many contributions in the areas of rapid crisis management. Interactive technologies such as social media platforms or emergency apps connect and empower individuals, first responders and volunteers. In a previously published review, we show that for almost 20 years, studies have analyzed ICT in natural and man-made disasters, revealing that ICT enable new modes of communication among authorities and citizens. In this contribution, we relate crisis informatics insights concerning the involvement of citizens to peace operations and community engagement.

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100 Voices on Technology & Peace Operations: Crisis informatics insights for peace operations