The Impact of Emergent Information and Communication Technology on Peacebuilding Open Access
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Information and communication technology (ICT) facilitates both the perpetuation of conflict and the coherence of peacebuilding efforts. ICT enhances the reach of belligerents motivated to promote conflict. ICT also accelerates the diffusion of narratives about the history, groups and motivations within conflict. These narratives promote rapid self-selection into identity groups within or on the periphery of a conflict, and reinforce motivations to continue or increase one’s commitment to conflict. ICT also allows peacebuilders to coordinate, cooperate and assess their impact on a faster, more comprehensive and more accurate basis. Tools that promote situational awareness of peacebuilding efforts can enable peacebuilders to achieve efficiency and impact through specialization. ICT that facilitates awareness of shared problems and opportunities for collaboration can prompt cooperation among both international and local peacebuilders. ICT further enhances the scope, accuracy and speed of peacebuilding monitoring and evaluation efforts. Conflict and peacebuilding are activities defined by the motivations of groups. ICT does not change these motivations, but it affords their operationalization. The peacebuilding community must adapt to the challenges and opportunities posed by the introduction of tools which allow ideas to rapidly inspire larger groups to act and be accountable for activities in peace and violence.