Partnering with the Tech Industry for Peace and Security

We are proud to be co-hosting a critical round table discussion in March with LSE IDEAS and BuildUp on how to partner with the tech industry to build peace and human security. Our discussion with tech company representatives, academics, and civil society will bring together a diverse set of views on what works, and what doesn’t work, when building multi-stakeholder partnerships on responsible technology.

Effective civil society engagement is a key factor in bringing about positive change and encouraging business practices that protect individuals and their human security. Stakeholder engagement is essential for shaping policy so that it addresses public concerns while also commanding respect and compliance by industry practitioners. However, many civil society organizations and communities—especially those based in fragile and conflict settings (FCS)—are left out of conversations about changes they want to see in applying and managing technology that so deeply influences daily life. And those who do engage with companies are asking them to take on myriad issues, such as business and human rights, conflict sensitivity, responsible data, privacy, ethics, and sustainability. While each message is independently valuable and important, the lack of coordination and an integrated approach means that multiple initiatives risk drowning each other out.

LSE IDEAS, JustPeace Labs, and BuildUp are coordinating a multi-stakeholder dialogue to examine the implications of the tech industry’s presence in fragile and conflict settings for the security and development outcomes of local populations. Our objectives are 1) to explore the current terrain of industry practice, policy measures, and civil society initiatives to reach shared understandings of the real-life challenges facing both providers and users of technology in FCS, and 2) to generate proposals for policy and practice change that take account of the growing significance of the sector for achieving peace and sustainable development goals.

The first step in this dialogue is a roundtable for relevant stakeholders from the tech industry, the policy community, and civil society. Many lessons for the tech industry can be learned from community engagement experience in other industries, such as the food, garment, and extractives industries, and experts from those processes will be invited to share their views and experiences. The goal of the roundtable is to define objectives for changes across the public and private sectors that will better ensure the responsible use and application of new technologies in high-risk settings, and propose how those changes can be collaboratively achieved. 

It  will lead to a white paper and a set of proposals to the UN Secretary-General as part of LSE IDEAS’ Business and Human Security Initiative. The roundtable will enable stakeholders and experts to share perspectives, discuss lessons learned, and through interactive workshop sessions, collaboratively shape proposals for transforming relationships and engagement with the tech industry.

This roundtable is generously supported by the LSE Knowledge Exchange and Impact Fund.

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