The United Nations and the Government of Singapore today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on the development of an information management tool in support of UN peacekeeping operations that can aid in enhancing situational awareness, trend analysis and early warning capacities in field missions.
“In view also of the recommendations of the Working Group I mandated last winter to look into the uses of technology that we can indeed maximize the use of current high end technologies to improve our awareness of the situations that we handle,” UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous said of the argeement after signing the MOU.
At the event, organized by the UN Operations and Crisis Centre (UNOCC) and the Permanent Mission of Singapore to the United Nations, Mr. Ladsous also noted that the agreement is “terribly important” in light of the framework of all the recommendations set by the High-Level Panel on UN Peacekeeping Operations.
Under the MOU, Singapore will partner with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the Department of Field Support to co-develop an information management tool that will add GIS (Geographic Information System) capabilities to existing situational awareness tools.
Mr. Ladsous said that another piece of software called ‘SAGE’ is in the process of development, but has many limitations and does not allow users to make real-time changes and inject new data.
The new information management tool that is the focus of today’s MOU can provide the ability to visualize and analyze multiple layers of data on a map interface and is also expected to enhance the situational awareness, trend analysis and early warning capacities in peacekeeping missions, according to the UN.
“I thank the Republic of Singapore for helping us to create a new tool that will be very important, both on the ground for our Special Representatives, Force Commanders and others, and also for us in Headquarters, especially in UNOCC, which is playing a major role in consolidating all the information,” Mr. Ladsous emphasized.
He also noted that while “some cannot contribute many boots…there is such a thing as intellectual contribution and there, you stand at the very top.”
Reiterating Singapore’s significant contribution, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Field Support Anthony Banbury said countries such as Singapore that are “very committed to the issue of peace and security have much to offer,” especially at a time when the demand for peacekeeping has driven the need for creative ways to respond to threats and challenges.
Ambassador Karen Tan of Singapore emphasized that the challenges faced in peacekeeping missions “require thinking outside the box to adjust to new challenges and conditions, as well as to stay ahead of the curve.”
“As pointed out in the report by the Expert Panel on Technology and Innovation in UN Peacekeeping and the High-Level Panel on Peacekeeping Operations, instantaneous access to information, particularly in crisis situations, is one of the assets that top technology has brought to our lives. We need to bring that to peacekeeping as well,” said Ms. Tan.
She added that the new information management module can “significantly enhance the way we plan, monitor and conduct peacekeeping operations, which in-turn will translate to safer an effective mission execution.”
Lastly, she stressed that Singapore is “extremely pleased” with its meaningful and practical contribution and expressed hope that this model of cooperation will encourage other Member States that are able to do likewise to step forward as “technology-contributing countries.”