At a glance
100 partner organizations
Participation to Geneva Peace Week in 2017 more than doubled compared to 2016 with a total attendance of 5’000 participants represented as follows:
Intl. Organizations: 20.5%
Private Sector: 6.5%
On Tuesday 7 November, #GVAPeaceWeek was the number 1 trending hashtag in Geneva and number 2 trending in the whole of Switzerland and remained in the top 5 until Thursday 9 November. There were over 650'000 social media impressions during the event.
Highlights from the week included:
Annual Meeting of the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform
The Annual Meeting of the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform on Monday 6 November set the scene for Geneva Peace Week. Various experts including Ana Maria Menéndez Pérez, Senior Advisor of the Secretary-General on Policy, United Nations, New York, came together to look at future trends in prevention. Menéndez stated that the UN cannot do everything by itself and is better when it works in partnership with others. The focus in future should be on a local level and bottom-up approach. This idea is reinforced by the fact that many non-state actors are increasingly involved in conflicts which means a switch from a government to society approach.
The only way forward is an inclusive approach which enables all actors to take part in the discussion. We need to work with people and shift the focus from short to long-term relationships and solutions.
The Future of Prevention Policy
Wednesday 8 November saw an event cluster of seven individual discussions on the future of prevention policy. The day started with the launch of the UN/World Bank Prevention Study “Pathways for Peace - Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict' consolidating for the first time the often different ideas and conceptions from people from these two organizations. Key messages from the Study included:
• Prevention saves lives and is cost effective
• States hold primary responsibility for prevention but efforts need to also include other actors such as civil society and the private sector
• Economic development does not automatically create peace
• Prevention needs a long-term perspective
Cyber, Big Data and New Technologies
This cluster of four events focused on the role of digital technology for conflict prevention. It was clear that technology certainly has important implications and some sessions highlighted the potential of e-commerce, big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and geographic information systems. On the other hand, there was also a focus on the ways in which digital technologies have given rise to increased threats; in particular the risk of cyber conflict and the implications when new technologies, such as big data and AI, are used for the wrong purposes. With increased international tension in cyberspace, Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft, stressed the importance of the creation of a Geneva Digital Convention which would enable nations, industries and companies to share information in order to maintain cyber security.
Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping is a technology which can be used to our benefit. Some actors have used GIS for a long time in their work on mine action and it could hold a great potential for a broader peace agenda. However, caution is needed with such satellite imagery since maps are political.