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Equipping peacemakers with digital tools

Published on Monday, 6 June 2022

In 2021, CMI’s Digital Peacemaking project continued to identify new tools and methods to benefit peacemakers in addition to equipping them with digital skills. Combining Finnish expertise in technology and peace mediation offers great potential for developing these tools and methods in the future.

At CMI, digital peacemaking refers to both leveraging digital technologies to support its peace efforts and mitigating new challenges from the increasing use of digital technologies globally. In 2021, CMI’s work continued to focus on building networks in Finland and internationally, collaborating with technology companies and promoting digital peacemaking as a theme both internally and externally.
Peace processes and the digital realm are nowadays interconnected. The digital space is not removed from conflicts since it can serve as a platform for warfare. As it is no longer possible to exclude the digital space from peacemaking, peacemakers need to understand their role in cyberspace and strengthen their skills both in leveraging digital technologies and managing digital risk.

Boosting cyber security know-how

In 2021, CMI’s Digital Peacemaking project identified new methods and tools to benefit peacemakers. To support related efforts, the project engaged with the private sector to build its own networks. CMI continued to collaborate with Finnish software company Inclus and payment platform Zippie and partnered with a top Finnish security company, WithSecure. Together with WithSecure, CMI is developing cyber security awareness in CMI’s work and the peacebuilding community.

The project also went through a high-level consultation process, engaging individuals from academia, private and public sectors, which led to the recruitment of five members for an advisory group. The group will be regularly consulted to support CMI’s digital peacemaking efforts.

Improving inclusion

Digital technologies can make peace processes more inclusive and thus bring about more sustainable peace settlements. Peacemakers and technologists met to discuss the practical uses of digital technologies in peacemaking in CMI’s side event ‘Starting up with peace’ at startup conference Slush. Leveraging digital technologies, such as Inclus or Zippie, has enabled wider inclusion and low-emission development. Digital technologies were also often described as making it easier for previously excluded actors, in particular women, youth and minorities, to be involved.

Increasing understanding on digital risks

Within CMI, knowledge on digital peacemaking was shared by hosting Peacetech cafés, introductory sessions on various digital peacemaking subjects open to all staff. CMI also collaborated with UNDPPA and the CyberPeace Institute to develop a Digital Risk Management E-Learning Platform for Mediators. The course aims to assist peacemakers globally in navigating the digital space safely. CMI also assessed its own potential to address tensions in cyber space. The assessment will be used for further work in this area in 2022. Overall, in 2021, the Digital Peacemaking project took many steps forward especially in building networks, establishing the project internally and externally, and gathering knowledge on topics relevant to digital peacemaking. Some of Finland’s greatest exports include technology and peace mediation expertise. The question for Digital Peacemaking’s future activities is how to combine these two even better.

This article was published in our Annual Report 2021

Kreeta Koskijoki / CMI