The ICRC at Davos: Tech partnerships, augmented reality and the cruelty of war
Geneva (ICRC) – Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), is attending the World Economic Forum in Davos to discuss pressing humanitarian issues in an increasingly digitalized and interconnected yet fractured world.
Mr. Maurer has just returned from Sudan, where ICRC is resuming operations in Darfur, and the Central African Republic, where violence and suffering remains largely invisible internationally. Mr. Maurer will speak about operational challenges in 2018 and ICRC's view on cyber warfare, innovative finance, and tech partnerships. Mr. Maurer will co-host an event with Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer of Microsoft, on protecting the humanitarian cyberspace.
"When the world is faced with protracted wars with such high humanitarian costs, it is far riskier to do nothing than to explore new ways to operate. If we don't shift our thinking now we will never know whether there are solutions that can vastly improve the lives of vulnerable people," Mr. Maurer said. "I am at Davos to remind the leaders of today that we need the efforts of all to solve today's humanitarian challenges. I am also here to explore new partnerships to alleviate the suffering of people bearing the scars of war whom we, the ICRC, are assisting on a daily basis."
ICRC is embracing augmented reality. While AR is known to users of Snapchat and Pokemon Go, we are using this technology for something completely different. Building off this year's theme of "Creating a Shared Vision in a Fragmented World," the ICRC is excited to debut "Enter the Room," a powerful, first-hand AR experience of the brutal reality of war.
This app explores the experience of the untold millions who cannot flee war. It gives a visceral, first-person view of war on a home's doorstep. We believe this app will create opportunities for dialogue about the effects of war and ICRC's core work and values, particularly in relation to urban warfare.
Issues on ICRC's radar in 2018:
1. Cyber-attacks: Interest is growing in a Digital Geneva Convention to address the human cost of cyber-attacks in conflict. Air traffic control systems, oil pipelines and nuclear plants are vulnerable.
2. Tech for good: The ICRC is partnering with Microsoft to use facial recognition technology to help reunite families separated by conflict. We welcome tech's expertise to make our work effective and efficient.
3. Rebuilding urban battlefields: 50 million people suffer through war in cities around the world. Reconstructing cities physically and psychologically must start as soon as possible, even amid fighting.
4. Neglected conflicts: Conflicts and suffering can smoulder for years. Congo, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, Libya, South Sudan and Ukraine. To end suffering, we need increased peace efforts.
5. Transforming humanitarian funding: Governments and social investors must see conflicts as socio-economic catastrophes and fund long-term. We see exciting opportunities in innovative partnerships.
6. International humanitarian law: IHL remains highly effective. The international community must safeguard the law against arguments it is not applicable or can be traded off in a transaction.
7. Forgotten people: As the world negotiates a new global compact on migration, how to protect people fleeing their homes is high on the agenda. We ask that policies are in line with international obligations.
For further information, please contact:
Christoph Hanger, firstname.lastname@example.org +41 79 574 06 36