On June 17th, IPI together with the Permanent Missions of the Republic of Korea and Germany to the UN cohosted a virtual policy forum entitled “The United Nations Strategy for the Digital Transformation of Peacekeeping: Implications for the 2021 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial.”
Today, the majority of UN peacekeeping missions are deployed in complex, high-risk environments that have compelled the UN to better integrate technology into its field operations. This integration of technology can improve situational awareness and early warning/action; enhance camp and convoy security; provide stable Internet and integrated communication networks; strengthen conflict monitoring and analysis; promote energy efficiency and reduce environmental pollution; and provide training and capacity building in these and other areas. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of the challenges faced by UN peacekeeping missions and has spurred the rapid adoption of available technology for day-to-day communication, remote work, and other routine tasks.
Technological solutions can support UN peacekeeping operations in implementing their mandates in complex environments, including by helping them to adapt to changing conflict dynamics and take advantage of increased efficiencies. The Strategy for the Digital Transformation of UN Peacekeeping seeks to advance the use of technology across the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) themes, including performance, safety and security, politics, protection, and peacebuilding. It sets out goals and actions and indicates areas for support from the Secretariat and external actors (member states, the technology sector, and others) over the next three years.
In this context, the Republic of Korea has identified technology and medical capacity building as cross-cutting themes for the 2021 UN Peacekeeping Ministerial, scheduled to take place in Seoul in December. The ministerial will have the aim of encouraging member states to consider pledges that will support and enhance ongoing efforts by the UN in these areas. Member states have already demonstrated the value of partnerships with the UN to provide technology solutions. These range from small-scale, high-impact projects based on member-state financial support to longer-term strategic cooperation whereby member states have worked with the UN to provide specific capacities and expertise in response to identified challenges.
This public virtual policy forum shared key elements of the UN peacekeeping technology strategy. It highlighted mission perspectives on how technological solutions can support mandate implementation, as well as potential risks. It also indicated areas where member states, in their role as military, police, and financial contributors, can support the UN in matching technological solutions through their pledges at the ministerial.
Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, IPI President
H.E. Mr. Cho Hyun, Permanent Presentative of the Republic of Korea to the UN
Ms. Rania Dagash, Chief, Policy and Best Practice Service, UN Department of Peace Operations
Mr. El Hadjie Diene, Chief, Joint Mission Analysis Centre, United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali
Ms. Safia Boly, Chief of Staff, United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Lt. Col. Stefan Lemm, German Bundeswehr
Mr. Sanjana Hattotuwa, Special Advisor at the ICT4Peace Foundation
Mr. Patrick Carey, Acting Assistant Secretary-General for Information and Communications Technology, Department of Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance and Department of Operational Support
Mr. Jake Sherman, IPI Senior Director of Programs