One of the critical components of a capability analysis of the EU’s conflict prevention and peacebuilding efforts involves the role of new technologies. The fast pace of technological change and the increasingly wide range of technologies useful for civilian conflict prevention applications are very relevant to the EU-CIVCAP research agenda. In fact, most EU-CIVCAP deliverables either touch upon or directly address these issues, and technological factors can be found in other general lessons generated from the very beginning of this project. DL 2.1, for example, notes the importance of ICT/Big Data for early warning/conflict analysis, while DL 3.2 refers to a need to provide technical support across the EU external action machinery; these technology-related lessons identified appear elsewhere in this database (i.e., standing resources, mission support, training, coordination, concepts, and procedures).
However, some deliverables have also generated more specific lessons regarding technological capabilities. During the first phase of EU-CIVCAP (2016) many of these appeared within DL 3.1, in terms of raising awareness of new technologies through training, concepts, and procedures, as well as integrating various types of data/intelligence within the EU’s early warning system. DL 3.1 also focuses specifically on the changing capabilities of earth observation geospatial information, ICT/Big Data, analytical tools, and the specific role of the EU Satellite Centre, which should improve imagery-related intelligence to the EEAS, PSC, and other stakeholders. Even so, a critical lesson here is that the EU still needs to balance the opportunities and limits/risks of these technologies and attempt to address those limits/risks using other capabilities (technological or otherwise) at its disposal.
For example, the wide scope of the EU makes it difficult to manage and support technological resources in the service of common goals, while the results from capability development projects do not always lead to new tools and applications. The EU’s contract rules also may make it difficult to encourage the participation by outside stakeholders, such as Small & Medium Enterprises.
In the realm of ICTs, the EU must cope with an increasingly vast amount of data, from an increasingly wide range of sources. These types of data also tend to be unstructured and, as with imagery/social media analysis, this in turn requires greater investment in interpretative resources, whether automated and/or human, to make sense of it all. The EU may also need to take steps to bridge the ‘digital divide’ among various stakeholders in the EU and in host countries in order to maximise the benefits and limit the risks (including the risk of exclusion) regarding the adoption of new technologies for Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding.
In addition to raising general awareness of and exploiting opportunities regarding new technologies, various EU stakeholders need to consider how to enhance broad support for technological integration across the EU as well as the possible adoption of new software for ICT data analysis/organisation/fusion.
DL 2.1: Procedures, Personnel and Technologies for Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding: An Assessment of EU Member States’ Capabilities
Published: 30 November 2016
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Published: 25 September 2018
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Published: 30 January 2017
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Published: 30 January 2017
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