Following on from Lessons 23 and 24 on the prospect of enhancing the EU’s integrated approach to security policy and conflict prevention and peacebuilding tasks, it is also clear that various EU actors, partners, local owners, and other stakeholders might be able to make greater use of new technologies in this realm. This point also links back to previous Lesson 6 on fostering internal coordination, as well as Lessons 9 and 10 on integrating new technology (particularly dual-use technologies) for conflict prevention and peacebuilding purposes, especially regarding the warning-response gap and the conflict prevention/crisis response phases of the conflict cycle. As much EU-CIVCAP research has already confirmed, the management of a decentralised policy domain like conflict prevention and peacebuilding is a major challenge under the best of circumstances, and the difficulties could be reduced significantly if the EU makes greater use of various technologies already available on the market.
This challenge was identified more explicitly as part of the research summarised in DL 2.4 on the role of dual-use technologies and DL 4.3 on the evolution of the EU’s integrated approach (formerly ‘comprehensive approach’) to conflict prevention and peacebuilding. As with Lessons 9 and 10, DL 2.4 notes a need for greater inter-institutional cooperation and the standardisation of various procedures to enhance the potential of dual-use technologies (such as imagery capabilities and drones), while DL 4.3 calls for a broader updating/modernisation of various information and communications technologies (ICT) and information-exchange platforms across the EU’s institutional infrastructure as a first step towards enhancing the role of technology in the integrated approach. As part of this process, the EU should also aim for greater harmonisation of the ICT tools it already deploys to support smooth communication, coordination, and interconnectivity among various actors and stakeholders, as well as to avoid duplication, isolation, and waste/inefficiency.
More specifically, in order to develop its integrated approach, the EU will need to keep on promoting, updating, and supporting financially a more efficient ICT platform to serve as the basis for integrated action. This could involve the use of various pilot programmes to investigate the value-added of new technologies, such as the use of geo-enabled platforms to collect, organise, and disseminate spatial data for multiple purposes, such as project execution, project monitoring, and evaluation in high-risk areas within host countries, including when conducted by third parties. The EU should also continue supporting research projects focusing on ways to incorporate ICT and Big Data in tools available to all those involved in EU external action, including on conflict prevention and early warning, in EU research funding programming and beyond.
The EU should consider inter-institutional funding opportunities to promote new technologies and standardising their role in conflict prevention and peacebuilding. New technological solutions to foster coordination and enhance the integrated approach should be explored, along with modernising the EU’s technology platforms and raising awareness of the possibilities provided by ICT/Big Data for conflict prevention and peacebuilding tasks. Timely and precise information is essential to agree on coordinated, comprehensive, integrated, and effective actions, and the EU could consider various pilot programmes to experiment with new technologies that facilitate this objective.
Published: 30 January 2018
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Published: 23 March 2018
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