The ICT4Peace Foundation “aims to facilitate improved, effective and sustained communication between peoples, communities and stakeholders involved in conflict prevention, mediation and peace building through better understanding of and enhanced application of Information Communications Technology (ICT) including Media” (www.ict4peace.org). In addition, ICT4Peace also looks at the roles of ICT’s within crisis management and how such crisis’s can be prevented in the future by creating viable solutions. By creating a bridge between individuals and organizations that are active during different crisis phases, ICT4Peace looks to instate cohesive and collaborative mechanisms parallel with Paragragh 36 of the WSIS Tunis Declaration: “We value the potential of ICTs to promote peace and to prevent conflict which, inter alia, negatively affects achieving development goals. ICTs can be used for identifying conflict situations through early-warning systems preventing conflicts, promoting their peaceful resolution, supporting humanitarian action, including protection of civilians in armed conflicts, facilitating peacekeeping missions, and assisting post conflict peace-building and reconstruction” (www.ict4peace.org).
Paragraph 36 was introduced during the diplomatic negotiations of 2004 as a part of the WSIS Tunis Commitment in 2005. As an offshoot of another initiative, the ICT4Peace Foundation was established during the Spring of 2006 in order to raise awareness about the Tunis Commitment and promote it’s ideas for good crisis management. ICT4Peace is run by an unpaid advisory board under the Chairmanship of President Marti Ahtisaari. In addition, there are also a number of organisations that are partnered with ICT4Peace: Crisis Management Initiative, UN DESA, GAID, Interpeace, ISCRAM, InfoShare, UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Department of Political Affairs (DPA), Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), UNICEF, UNHCR, UNFPA, and UNDP. Together, ICT4Peace is able to focus on improving crisis information management by instructing the international community on how to better use ICTs.
Four ways in which the ICT4Peace Foundation is able to carry out its initiative to improve crisis information management is though enhancing the performance of the international community in crisis information management through ICT, developing training templates for ICT, media, and communications in conflict management, improving existing ICT4Peace initiatives and tools (ICT4Peace Wiki), and through policy outreach and awareness creation in the field of ICT4Peace. Some of the most recent projects that the ICT4Peace Foundation has worked on include: developing research on the role of ICT and information management in preventing, responding to and recovering from conflict, launching a partnership with the DESA Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID) and the United Nations office of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), creating the ICT4Peace inventory wiki, and organizing a series of meetings at the United Nations in order to introduce the foundation to potential stakeholders.
What I found to be most interesting of all their recent work is the ICT4Peace inventory wiki. The ICT4Peace wiki is a global database of ICT in crisis management, humanitarian aid, and peace building. As the ICT4Peace foundation is an outlet for communication and information, the ICT4Peace wiki is an example of how individuals can go onto the internet and quickly find up to date information on crisis management. The ICT4Peace wiki specifically contains information on ICT tools and mechanisms centered towards conflict early warning, mitigation, transformation and post conflict recovery. In my opinion, ICT4Peace is a innovative foundation that is directly working to meet the needs of the people in a simple and cohesive manner that will create sustainability in times of crisis.