As the world makes immense technological progress, we must ascertain how to best leverage these innovations to address the conflicts and challenges of our time. The UAE believes that new and emerging technologies can revolutionize peacekeeping and fortify international peace and security. It is imperative that the UN’s operations in the field have access to the technological tools critical to the success of their mandates.
When they are easily accessible, these new and emerging technologies can improve peacekeepers’ situational awareness and provide early warning signs of looming challenges. They can provide valuable data for protecting women and children. Innovations such as new synthetic materials can protect peacekeepers from threats or the elements. At the same time, advances in new energy technologies and batteries can improve efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of peacekeeping.
The UAE is an early adopter of new technologies. We have seen their capabilities and understand the frameworks needed to meet their potential. Innovation will be one of the UAE’s priorities in the Council next year, particularly with respect to the role of technology in mediation and conflict resolution, humanitarian assistance, and peacekeeping.
With this in mind, we offer the following suggestions for the Council’s consideration:
First, technologies such as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles (UAVs) can be used by peacekeepers for intelligence-gathering and monitoring. They can provide early warning of conflicts, natural disasters, and more, without risking personnel and direct engagement that could endanger lives. To do so, the UN needs to address the legitimate concerns that stakeholders may have regarding the deployment of UAS and UAVs in order to improve the efficiency of peace operations, as underscored by the Secretary-General in his strategy on new technologies.
Second, renewable energy offers a chance to mitigate security risks for peacekeeping. Currently, peacekeeping missions often rely on diesel fuel convoys across front lines and insecure areas. Incorporating renewables into the operations’ energy matrix would reduce this vulnerability. Renewable energy could also provide critical benefits like reduced operating costs, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and enhanced energy access. The Council’s ongoing support to the process to meet the UN’s 80% renewable energy target by 2030 is critical. In January, the UAE, along with the Permanent Mission of Norway and Powering Peace, held a discussion on how renewable energy can be integrated into the future of UN peacekeeping. We look forward to continuing this important conversation, particularly in the Security Council next year.
Finally, technology must be used and developed in a gender responsive approach to better protect women and girls. As we all know, women and girls face particular vulnerabilities in conflict and post-conflict situations, including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Technology and data can be used to improve the capabilities of peacekeepers in this regard. For example, geospatial technology can pinpoint emerging threats towards vulnerable populations, particularly in instances of SGBV. Communications technologies can be used for information-sharing, reporting, documenting abuses, and coordinating responses to crises.
The UAE firmly believes that when correctly leveraged, technology will open many new doors for peace operations. We are committed to working with Member States and the UN system to develop new methods and tools that allow us to maximize the benefits of modern technologies for the maintenance of international peace and security.