Saturday, September 20, 2008

Management Change at UNOSAT

According to Alain Retiere, Director of UNOSAT, the programme has reached the required maturity to become independent from the administrative management of UNOPS and become fully part of the new United Nations Institute for Training and Research that the Secretary-General has entrusted ASG Dr. Carlos Lopes to lead together with the United Nations Staff College, in full coordination with the United Nations University. This process will bring to UNOSAT further training activities, which will increasingly be carried out by the United Nations under a unified management. UNOSAT will enjoy the additional opportunity of developing applied research on satellite solutions, and consolidate the UN training offer on satellite applications for key issues ranging from emergency response to sustainable recovery.

In parallel, UNDP has decided to mainstream satellite applications throughout its network of 166 country offices supported by its 40 regional technical centers to help face the main development challenges. A new trend is emerging within the “territorial approach to development”, where a more local and decentralized way of supporting development efforts in most vulnerable countries is being applied. Although all dimensions of the UNDP development agenda will benefit from mainstreamed satellite applications, environment and energy is the area that has been selected as key entry point, considering the urgent need to help local communities to face climate change challenges with the most appropriate tools including satellite and GIS applications.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Information and Communication Technology and Peacebuilding: Summary of a Workshop

Those who would use information and communication technology (ICT) in the cause of peace need to be cognizant of the risks as well as the benefits. ICT can facilitate positive dialogue but also hate speech. It can be used to fight corruption but also facilitate it. Simply giving people more information does not necessarily lead to predictable or positive results. As people become more informed, they may become more motivated to change their circumstances and to do so violently.

On December 14, 2007, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) convened a group of experts in diverse fields to consider the role of ICT in promoting peace and conflict resolution. The one-day workshop was designed to consider current and emerging technologies and strategies for employing them in conflict management and diplomacy. Giacomo Rambaldi presented a case study on "GIS and Participatory 3-D Modeling in Land-Use Negotiation" . The workshop also aimed to explore how organizations with a role in promoting peace, like the U.S. Institute of Peace, can most effectively leverage technology in carrying out their missions.

"Information and Communication Technology and Peacebuilding: Summary of a Workshop" reviews the group's discussions on number of key issues, illuminates certain practitioner needs, and suggests possible next steps.

The proceedings can be downloaded for free via this link.