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Statement by Italy at Interactive Dialogue with the General Assembly Fourth Committee on Overall Policy Matters Pertaining to Special Political Missions

DPR

Madame Chair,

I thank USG DiCarlo for her informative briefing on how the rapid evolution of technology has significantly transformed the environment in which United Nations Special Political Missions (SPMs) operate. To this regard, I would like to offer some considerations about the operational challenges and opportunities for SPMs deriving from new technologies.

Digital platforms enable real-time communication and coordination among UN SPMs, Member States, and other stakeholders, facilitating more efficient decision-making and resource allocation.

Advances in data analytics and artificial intelligence allow SPMs to gather, process, and analyze vast amounts of data, providing insights that enhance situational awareness and strategic planning.

Technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality support remote monitoring and training, allowing SPMs to operate in conflict zones with reduced physical presence, thus enhancing safety.

As for the social media platforms, they offer a double-edged sword, providing opportunities for real-time information dissemination and public engagement, but also posing challenges in terms of misinformation and radicalization.

SPMs can also keep leveraging digital technologies in several ways to fulfill their mandates more effectively.

Utilizing satellite imagery, drones, and big data analytics, SPMs can monitor conflict zones, predict potential escalations, and provide timely warnings to prevent violence.

Digital communication tools enable virtual dialogues and negotiations, allowing conflicting parties to engage without the need for physical meetings, which can be crucial in volatile environments.

E-learning platforms and online workshops help build local capacities in conflict resolution and peacebuilding, making training more accessible and scalable.

Social media campaigns and digital outreach programs help SPMs engage with broader audiences, raise awareness about their missions, and garner support from the international community.

On the other hand, SPMs face several challenges to address the risks associated with emerging digital technologies in the context of maintaining peace and security.

As reliance on digital technologies increases, so do vulnerabilities to cyber-attacks, which can disrupt operations and undermine trust in digital tools.

Disparities in access to digital technologies between and within countries can hinder the effective implementation of tech-driven peace initiatives, exacerbating inequalities.

The rapid spread of false information through digital platforms can incite violence, complicate peacebuilding efforts, and erode trust in SPM activities.

The use of digital technologies raises issues around privacy, data protection, and the ethical implications of surveillance and AI in conflict settings.

As for the partnership with national and regional partners to harness the potential of digital technologies for conflict prevention, peacemaking, and peacebuilding, SPMs can enhance their collaboration by:

  • Establishing strategic partnerships with tech companies, academic institutions, and civil society organizations to leverage their expertise and resources;
  • Developing and implementing joint training initiatives to build digital literacy and technical skills among national and regional partners;
  • Creating shared digital platforms for data exchange, situational analysis, and coordinated response, ensuring all stakeholders have access to the same information and tools;
  • Working with regional organizations to harmonize policies and regulations related to digital technologies, ensuring a cohesive approach to cybersecurity, data protection, and ethical standards;
  • Mobilizing resources and funding for digital initiatives that support peace and security, ensuring that national and regional partners have the financial and technical means to participate fully.

Madame Chair,

By addressing the challenges and fostering deeper collaboration, SPMs can harness the full potential of technological advancements to enhance their missions and contribute to global stability.

Let me conclude also by recalling that the Italian G7 Presidency in 2024 devotes the utmost importance to the opportunity of leveraging digital technologies in the realm of international peace and security by establishing shared criteria for a global cooperation.

Thank you, Madame Chair.