ICMP participated on 14 October in a panel debate in Washington DC on tackling UN Sustainable Development Goal 16 (on Peace and Justice) in the digital age, focusing on innovations for Peace and Justice.
Speaking at a panel discussion on “Playing catch up with Silicon Valley – what needs to change in the coming five years”, ICMP’s Director of Science & Technology, Dr. Thomas Parsons, explored the challenges and the promise of integrating new technologies such as affordable real-time satellite imagery, access to social media and other forms of big data, and revolutionary DNA methods, to deliver concrete advances in missing persons registration and identification and mass grave discovery. Dr. Parsons also examined ways in which these can be applied to improve justice mechanisms, societal security, human rights and the rule of law.
The debate was hosted by the Hague Humanity Hub and the HumanityX team in collaboration with Peace Tech Lab and the Embassy of the Netherlands. The Hague Humanity Hub is an initiative of the City of The Hague and Leiden University’s Centre for Innovation. The HumanityX team is a standing support base for organizations that endeavor to spearhead digital innovations for peace and justice.
On the occasion of the launch of The Hague Humanity Hub and HumanityX, the Hague Municipality hosted a network meeting for professionals working on international peace and justice in the Washington D.C. and New York areas. The meeting was organized as part of a visit to the US by Hague Deputy Mayor Ingrid van Engelshoven.
The aim of the meeting was to raise awareness about opportunities that are emerging from the Data Revolution for the peace and justice sector; to showcase some of the work already being done in the United States, and to strengthen the emerging innovator communities of digital pioneers working on data-driven innovation for this sector.
Building peaceful societies requires a dedicated investment in innovation, new technologies, and responsible use of new data streams. The mission of HumanityX is to leverage the Data Revolution for the benefit of humanity and enable leading organizations working on peace, justice, and humanitarian response to spearhead digital innovations. HumanityX is a home for digital pioneers, a network, and a space supported by a team of technologists, data analysts, innovation and design specialists, and new media experts. HumanityX brings together international organizations, companies, designers, universities, entrepreneurs and government entities to solve global challenges in an interdisciplinary setting.
The PeaceTech Lab has been similarly focused on bringing innovation to the peacebuilding space. The Lab’s efforts include building capacity for peacebuilding organizations to apply low-cost, easy-to-use technologies, using peace media to spread messages of peace in conflict-affected communities, and developing data-driven solutions to support peacebuilding efforts. As part of its mission, PeaceTech Lab brings non-traditional actors into the peacebuilding space, including entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists, and builds bridges between networks of technology and peacebuilding communities in conflict zones.
The panel discussion and audience participants took note of the daunting challenge faced by educators, policymakers, operational planners and funding agencies in staying abreast of fast-evolving digital tools to ensure that these capabilities are best integrated in their strategies. Nonetheless, it was recognized that these capabilities provide unprecedented potential to abet the advancement of humanity in the areas of peace, stability and development.