Navigating the Intersection between Mediation and Digital Technology: Opportunities to Strengthen EU Peace Capacities
The EU acts as a steadfast promoter of peace-making in a neighbourhood disfigured by internationalised conflicts and growing political unrest. However, the integration of digital technologies in the EU’s peace mediation practices is still underdeveloped. Policy developments for incorporating digital technologies as tools for EU mediators are not entirely tailored to the EU’s particular approach, and professional guidelines derived from these reflect the United Nations’ practice. How are digital technologies incorporated into ongoing EU mediation interventions so far? How can the EU better integrate digital technologies to enhance its peace mediation approach? By examining the role of digital technologies in the successive Brussels Conferences on Supporting the future of Syria and the region (2017-2021), co-chaired by the EU and UN as a lead mediator for the Syrian conflict, this policy brief highlights how digital technologies can be used for enhancing EU peace mediation practices and goals.
The author reviews the current state of the incorporation of digital technologies in the EU peace mediation policy framework by examining EU documents and previous cases in which such technologies played a prominent role in strengthening EU efforts. Findings in this part are also based on an interview conducted by the author with an EU policy officer in the EU Conflict Prevention and Mediation Support Division of the European External Action Service, who is currently working on the integration of digital technologies. Then, the brief analyses the use of digital technologies in an ongoing EU peace mediation intervention and finally provides a set of policy recommendations on how they can be used for boosting EU peace mediation capacities.