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Policy Papers - April 25, 2013

New Technology and the Prevention of Violence and Conflict

Francesco Mancini, editor

 

 

In an era of unprecedented interconnectivity, this report explores the ways in which new technologies can assist international actors, governments, and civil society organizations to more effectively prevent violence and conflict. It examines the contributions that cell phones, social media, crowdsourcing, crisis mapping, blogging, and big data analytics can make to short-term efforts to forestall crises and to long-term initiatives to address the root causes of violence.

Five case studies assess the use of such tools in a variety of regions (Africa, Asia, Latin America) experiencing different types of violence (criminal violence, election-related violence, armed conflict, short-term crisis) in different political contexts (restrictive and collaborative governments).

Drawing on lessons and insights from across the cases, the authors outline a how-to guide for leveraging new technology in conflict-prevention efforts:

1. Examine all tools.
2. Consider the context.
3. Do no harm.
4. Integrate local input.
5. Help information flow horizontally.
6. Establish consensus regarding data use.
7. Foster partnerships for better results.

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