Exploring the use of technology for remote ceasefire monitoring and verification – Global

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Sarah Grand Clement

Summary

Ceasefires play an important role in preventing new conflicts and armed violence. They are a crucial part of the wider conflict prevention toolkit and a first step towards a peace agreement. Ceasefires with monitoring and verification aim to build trust and collaboration between parties to conflict and prevent prohibited behavior from occurring or recurring. They are sturdier and last longer than similar arrangements that are unattended.

Although ceasefire monitoring and verification is usually done by in-person monitors, this is not always possible due to non-permissive environments. In such cases, technology can help overcome these challenges, as well as extend the scope of monitoring and the pace of data synthesis.

This report identifies 18 technologies that can be categorized as facilitating either data acquisition, data analysis, or communications for remote ceasefire monitoring or verification. The term “technology” encompasses the tools (both hardware and software) as well as the approaches (i.e. the ways in which the technology can be used), to present a range of options drawn from different fields, including, but not limited to, ceasefire monitoring and verification, peacekeeping or humanitarian missions, environmental monitoring, and use by state security forces. The report maps these technologies against a set of ceasefire activities, which illustrate areas commonly subject to monitoring or verification (Figure A).

In addition, the report also identifies 12 guiding considerations (Figure B) regarding the use of technology for remote ceasefire monitoring and verification, which should be considered alongside the limitations and challenges of the technologies. individuals, as well as the specific mandate of any ceasefire monitoring. and verification mechanisms.

Based on this research, the report presents five conclusions:

  1. Combining the strengths of technology and humans can help balance their respective limitations. While the human element cannot be completely removed from ceasefire monitoring and verification, technology can be used to assist where needed and appropriate and acceptable to the parties involved. conflict.

  2. The technology is flexible as to intended function, meaning it can be used to monitor or verify that incidents have not occurred, but can also be used to enable dialogue or map the progress made by parties to the process. conflict.

  3. Technologies used to date in ceasefires currently focus primarily on surveillance through data acquisition, and the use of analytical technologies has been limited. Overall, verification seems less suited to being achieved through the use of technology.

  4. Layering data acquisition technologies can take advantage of their respective advantages while compensating for their respective limitations. Overlay can also help improve confidence in the data collected and means there is redundancy in the data collection system.

  5. Trust in technology plays a very important role in whether one or more technologies are accepted and used in a ceasefire context.

The report also suggests several examples of good practices to consider for the future that could be undertaken by the United Nations and other relevant entities working in the area of ​​ceasefire:

  • Promote the use of, and continuously refine and update, guiding considerations on the use of technology in remote ceasefire monitoring and verification.

  • Improve knowledge sharing between relevant stakeholders regarding lessons learned and data sharing that can enable the use of certain technologies.

  • Encourage multi-stakeholder approaches to bridge the knowledge gap between technology, ceasefire and local experts.

  • Ensure a minimum level of technological knowledge and increased familiarity of stakeholders with technologies more generally, including what they can offer in terms of supporting ceasefire monitoring and verification mechanisms.

  • Monitor developments in conflicts and related ceasefire agreements to identify new areas where monitoring and verification may be needed (e.g. cyberspace) in order to understand and prepare for the future of monitoring and verifying the ceasefire.