On Thursday, May 12th, the Independent Commission on Multilateralism (ICM) hosted a Public Consultation on its Discussion Paper: “The Impact of New Technologies on Peace, Security, and Development.” This Public Consultation provided an opportunity for representatives from member states, civil society, the private sector, academia, and the United Nations to comment on the Discussion Paper’s recommendations, and to exchange perspectives on the larger trends and challenges.
A new wave of technology is driving rapid global change. This change has created new opportunities for multilateral cooperation in the areas of sustainable development, state-society relations, peace and conflict, international security, and global governance. Yet with these opportunities comes the challenge of keeping up; the UN and other multilateral institutions must determine where they can play a useful role in addressing and integrating new technologies into their work and where existing mechanisms and other actors may be better placed.
On sustainable development, for example, the UN has arguably come farthest in integrating new technologies into its work. The ten-year review of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS+10) drew a strong link between technologies and sustainable development, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Looking to peace and conflict, new technologies can help prevent conflict by reducing the gap between warning and response, facilitate peacekeeping through new tools relevant to increasingly complex environments, and help support peacebuilding by empowering local actors. New technologies and governance of the internet, on the other hand, is an arena where the future role of multilateral actors is subject to greater debate. Whether in sustainable development, peace and conflict, state-society relations, international security, or cyberspace, new technologies have transformed how the UN and multilateral institutions operate in a 21st century world. Based on these opportunities, challenges, and multilateral responses, this Discussion Paper provides recommendations for the UN System.
H.E. Mr. Vladimir Drobnjak, Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Croatia to the United Nations
Mr. Robert Kirkpatrick, Director, United Nations Global Pulse, Executive Office of the Secretary-General
Ms. Véronique Pepin-Hallé, Senior Adviser, Independent Commission on Multilateralism
Dr. Patrick Vinck, Assistant Professor, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
H.E. Ms. Barbara Gibson, Deputy Secretary-General, Independent Commission on Multilateralism