Digitalization and International Cooperation – Risks and Opportunities

Digitalization Risks and Opportunities

New technologies continue to provide the foundation for collaboration on development projects that accelerate change, improve results and stimulate innovation. While those digital technologies have brought many benefits to the humanitarian sector, there are also associated threats and their consequences that must be addressed.

On May 7, during a meeting at The Hague Humanity Hub, a panel of experts discussed two specific questions around this topic:

  1. How can we promote digital do-no-harm?
  2. How can we stimulate responsible innovation?

These questions and others were also addressed in December 2018, when the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) conducted a symposium focused on the range of potential threats posed by digital technologies ‒ specifically for populations in conflict zones, the implications for humanitarian protection, and how to identify steps towards a coordinated response.

To set the stage for the panel discussion, Delphine van Solinge, Adviser on Digital Risks for Populations at the ICRC, informed participants about the challenges posed to humanitarian actors and conflict management in the digital era, as well as ways forward to tackle them.

The panel discussion included speakers from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Partos, the Red Cross, and Leiden University Innovation Center. During the session, speakers from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that they are currently working on a Digitalization and Development Cooperation policy, while NGOs are actively exploring new territory.

Afterwards, the discussion was opened to the audience – which included First Line Software representatives, to continue the debate about digitalization and international cooperation.

This topic is not new to First Line Software. Our developers have been participants at many worldwide events, such as the Hackathon for Peace, Justice and Security, where the emphasis of these competitions has been on the security aspect and how to use technology to solve real world problems. And each time the First Line team proposes concepts about how to use technology as an enabler for innovative solutions to protect the world.

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