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From Digital Promise to Frontline Practice: New and Emerging Technologies in Humanitarian Action

29 April, 2021 @ 5:00 pm 6:00 pm

In its report on new and emerging technologies in humanitarian action, OCHA reviews how technologies ranging from artificial intelligence to unmanned aerial vehicles, biometrics and the internet of things can enable earlier, faster and potentially more effective humanitarian action. It also examines the complex challenges and risks these technologies present in humanitarian settings, from adequate data, data protection and privacy to digital inequality, sustainable investments and conflicts of interest in public-private-partnerships.

The report identifies several enablers and guardrails, including local front-line leadership and equitable access to technology; bottom-up approaches that put people at the centre; a digitally literate cadre of humanitarians and adequate, representative data; ambitious and sustainable coalitions across sectors; governance that keeps pace with technology; and investments that mirror ambition.

During this event, co-hosted by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and OCHA, speakers will discuss the promises and pitfalls of new technologies, and how to realize the ‘digital promise’ for the humanitarian sector.

Featured speakers include:

  • Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
  • Birgitta Tazelaar, Deputy Director-General for International Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • Maria Francesca Spatolisano, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs and Officer in Charge of the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology
  • John Frank, Vice President for UN Affairs, Microsoft
  • Cindy Issac, Deputy Head of Office, Somalia, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs