ICTs for Risk and Crisis Management: Technical and ethical challenges

Realised that though I had blogged about my interview at the Global Risk Forum held in July 2010 in Davos, Switzerland, I hadn’t uploaded the presentation I delivered at the panel discussion. I do recall that I was the only one in a panel of 5 that kept to time.

Rather than go into a description of ICT platforms such as they exist today, I took a long view and anchored by presentation to two key challenges to aid work in general often exacerbated by the plethora of ICTs in use – the lack of attention, and diminishing empathy.

Based on my work, I looked at how things had changed from 2008 to 2010, looking at the responses to Cyclone Nargis versus the Haitian Earthquake. While the technical challenges I flagged are well-known, there is little emphasis, among many of the new crisis information management actors, of the ethics of engaging with disasters using ICTs, especially over the long-term and when dealing with victims. This is something I’ve written about for years – see Complex Political Emergencies and humanitarian aid systems design for example.

Outlining some recommendations, I note that in fact, the knowledge and experience needed to address the challenges faced today are already in the public domain.

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