What's so Big about Big Data? | Panel at 5th Annual International Conference of Crisis Mappers
ICT4Peace Foundation

What's so Big about Big Data?
Panel at 5th Annual International Conference of Crisis Mappers

2 November 2013, Geneva, Switzerland: After months of preparation, the ICT4Peace Foundation is pleased to announce and invite you to join a panel on Big Data at the 5th Annual International Conference of Crisis Mappers
Date: 21st November 2013
Venue: United Nations Office at Nairobi

Description: Big Data is the new black. Numerous reports, articles and even entire books are devoted to how Big Data, variously defined, offers news ways to better our lives. Humanitarian aid and relief organisations are themselves publicly thinking about how best to embrace a world awash in information. Whereas just a few years ago, the challenge was to capture and generate information around and on humanitarian disasters and protracted conflict, today it is more about how best to select, verify and then action relief and aid using information in the public domain. Though the potential of Big Data is often flagged, there is still a lack of evidence based discussion on how Big Data really helps aid and relief, conflict prevention, community resilience, public empathy, timely response and long-term engagement with complex crises. Is Big Data a passing fad? Does Big Data disempower local communities as much as it can democratise data analysis? How can we address challenges of data retention, the right to be forgotten and the ethics of using and archiving rapid assessment data over the longer term? What if any are new responsibilities of humanitarians, including volunteers, to ensure increasingly large and comprehensive datasets, often generated in good faith and freely available, aren't leveraged to discriminate and harm?  How can we ensure that Big Data empowers individuals over institutions and that it helps communities themselves to mitigate, respond to and recover from conflict and disasters? How should we capture best practices and innovative thinking around the generation and use of Big Data? How can we integrate a rights based perspective, including a gendered critique, in Big Data debates? This panel will explore these issues with a robust examination of Big Data's role and relevance in addressing some of the most pressing challenges facing communities, governments, civil society, the international system and the aid community today. 
Panelists: Jon Gosier [D8A Grp], Anahi Iayala Iaccuci [Internews] & Emmanuel Letouze [IPI]
Moderator: Sanjana Hattotuwa [ICT4Peace Foundation]

The full agenda for ICCM can be accessed here.

In the lead up to the panel, the ICT4Peace Foundation has also curated two resources around Big Data, as it applies to peacebuilding and humanitarian relief. Our FlipBoard magazine on Big Data already has hundreds of subscribers and features, at the time of writing, over 200 articles. Our Tiki-Toki timeline on Big Data is a more interactive look at this content, and flag other relevant resources. They are free to access, and please also suggest new resources. Both platforms will continue to be curated after ICCM.

The unfortunate violence in Nairobi recently cannot be an excuse to allow hate, hurt and harm win over concerted efforts to harness the power of technology for social good, humanitarian relief and aid. This is why the Foundation supports and is associated with ICCM, and why we will be present in Nairobi.

We encourage you to participate, and look forward to seeing you at our panel discussion.

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Download a report on the use of Information and Communications Technologies for peacebuilding (ICT4Peace), with a Preface by Kofi A. Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations here
An updated version of this report, with critical analysis on current policies and practices of ICTs in peacebuilding and crises was published in early 2011. Published in collaboration with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University and GeorgiaTech, Peacebuilding in the Information Age: Sifting Hype from Reality can be read here
ICT4Peace Foundation
ICT4Peace took root with pioneering research on the role of ICTs in preventing, responding to and recovering from conflict in 2003 and lead to the adoption of Paragraph 36 by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis in 2005 which recognises “...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".
The ICT4Peace Foundation works to promote the practical realisation of Paragraph 36 and looks at the role of ICT in crisis management, covering aspects of early warning and conflict prevention, peace mediation, peacekeeping, peace-building as well as natural disaster management and humanitarian operations. 
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