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The international community faces many constraints in conflict-prone settings: limited finances and personnel, inherently complex and difficult environments, and the urgent need to demonstrate positive results. To increase the likelihood of success, the numerous organizations working alongside one another must make use of their comparative advantages and...
The international community faces many constraints in conflict-prone settings: limited finances and personnel, inherently complex and difficult environments, and the urgent need to demonstrate positive results. To increase the likelihood of success, the numerous organizations working alongside one another must make use of their comparative advantages and work toward common goals, maximize the use of scarce resources, and ensure that investments have a multiplier effect. To succeed, individuals and organizations must be able to connect, share information, and coordinate. A number of fields have capitalized on networks and new information technologies--medicine, communications, and the media--yet the humanitarian, development, and diplomatic communities lag far behind. This recommends ways to improve connectivity for the various actors working in these environments. It is intended for civilians as well as the military, the public as well as private sector, and U.S. as well as international and national actors. The goal of connectivity is to enable local populations to prevent and mitigate conflict and build peace. This report proposes new ways to capitalize on all available resources to ensure effective information exchange among and between international and local actors, drawing on the strengths of practitioners, soldiers, and local populations as well as traditional post-conflict experts. Due to the diverse group of players and the dispersed nature of information and local knowledge in conflict-prone settings, these processes should be participatory, community-driven, and largely decentralized, and they should have buy-in from a diverse group of players. The recommendations run counter to, or even threaten, traditional models of engagement in conflict-prone settings. Many players have a stake in maintaining the status quo--whether it is a rigid hierarchy, an overly proprietary information policy, or a marginalized local population. But the importance of the task and the poor track record thus far mean that "business as usual" is no longer acceptable.
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