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Data is at the core of modern society, from our digital footprint via e-mail and social media, through to big data analytics.

This page describes how DiploFoundation approaches the topic of data diplomacy, includes background reading, and features the latest events, research, and blog posts related to the topic. Get in touch with the Data Diplomacy team, in case you have questions or suggestions, or would like to get involved, or subscribe to our Data Diplomacy mailing list.

Featured: The impact of data on geopolitics, negotiations, and the diplomatic modus operandi

Throughout history, humanity has relied on different critical resources. Today, data is the new oil, as The Economist has recently argued. But how is data impacting diplomacy? Dr Kurbalija reflects on the three main ways in which diplomacy is being impacted, including the environment in which diplomats operate, new topics that are appearing on negotiation tables, and new tools for diplomats.

 

What is data?



Data is at the core of modern society, from our digital footprint via e-mail and social media, through to big data analytics.

Artificial intelligence further increases the power and relevance of data. Cross-border data flows is challenged by policy decisions, in a similar way as the movement of goods, services, and people across borders. Data localisation laws, for instance, require companies to keep data on servers located within national territory.

DiploFoundation addresses the impact of (big) data as a tool for diplomatic activities, as a topic for diplomatic discussions, and as a changing environment in which diplomacy is conducted.

Data is at the core of modern society, from our digital footprint via e-mail and social media, through to big data analytics.

Artificial intelligence further increases the power and relevance of data. Cross-border data flows is challenged by policy decisions, in a similar way as the movement of goods, services, and people across borders. Data localisation laws, for instance, require companies to keep data on servers located within national territory.

DiploFoundation addresses the impact of (big) data as a tool for diplomatic activities, as a topic for diplomatic discussions, and as a changing environment in which diplomacy is conducted.

Data as a tool for diplomatic activities



New forms of data, most notably big data, present many opportunities for diplomacy and international affairs in various areas, including:

  • Consular affairs
  • Strategic planning and policy research
  • Diplomatic reporting
  • Public diplomacy
  • Development and humanitarian aid
  • International law

Yet, while data can generate extensive opportunities to be explored, actors in international affairs also need to mitigate challenges related to access to data, data quality, data privacy, and data security. In addition, proper and effective data management within a ministry of foreign affairs or an international organisation is highly dependent on its organisational culture and the knowledge and skills of its people.

New forms of data, most notably big data, present many opportunities for diplomacy and international affairs in various areas, including:

  • Consular affairs
  • Strategic planning and policy research
  • Diplomatic reporting
  • Public diplomacy
  • Development and humanitarian aid
  • International law

Yet, while data can generate extensive opportunities to be explored, actors in international affairs also need to mitigate challenges related to access to data, data quality, data privacy, and data security. In addition, proper and effective data management within a ministry of foreign affairs or an international organisation is highly dependent on its organisational culture and the knowledge and skills of its people.

Commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, DiploFoundation is currently conducting a research project on the impact of big data on diplomacy.

In the context of this research, Diplo has organised a roundtable on Data Diplomacy: Mapping the Field, a brainstorming event aimed at exploring the opportunities, limitations, challenges and management of big data. Based on the roundtable discussions, the recommendations point towards:

  1. The need for capacity development and awareness raising in organisations about the potential, management, and challenges of data.
  2. The need for enhanced management of existing data to ensure user-friendly access
  3. The need to find a balance between data analysis and expert knowledge to verify information and embed insights into their proper contexts.
  4. The importance of better securing data with innovative tools, including encryption and blockchain technologies.
  5. The adoption of open data policies while taking privacy and security concerns into account.
  6. Data consistency through the standardisation of data collection and formats, and through compatible legal frameworks across countries.
  7. Ensuring the credibility of data collection and ownership when relying on third parties or publicly available data.

A second roundtable, to be organised in Helsinki in autumn 2017, will dive deeper into the specificities of big data in the context of diplomacy and foreign affairs. The final report of the research will be published and presented in December 2017.

Data governance



Data is at the core of modern society – from digital footprints left via e-mail and social media, to big data analytics used to understand societal trends. Artificial intelligence further increases the power and relevance of data. Cross-border data flows are challenged by policy decisions, in a similar way as the movement of goods, services, and people across borders.

As part of the Data governance project at the Geneva Internet Platform (operated by DiploFoundation), we are addressing the following questions: How is data shaping our future? How does data intersect with digital policy? How are Geneva-based organisations using data? We look at data governance in the areas of technology, security, economy, law, and human rights. This work complements the data diplomacy project by taking a broader perspective on political, economic, and social dynamics related to data and big data.
 

 

Find out more about the Geneva Internet Platform’s Data Governance project.

Data is at the core of modern society – from digital footprints left via e-mail and social media, to big data analytics used to understand societal trends. Artificial intelligence further increases the power and relevance of data. Cross-border data flows are challenged by policy decisions, in a similar way as the movement of goods, services, and people across borders.

As part of the Data governance project at the Geneva Internet Platform (operated by DiploFoundation), we are addressing the following questions: How is data shaping our future? How does data intersect with digital policy? How are Geneva-based organisations using data? We look at data governance in the areas of technology, security, economy, law, and human rights. This work complements the data diplomacy project by taking a broader perspective on political, economic, and social dynamics related to data and big data.
 

 

Find out more about the Geneva Internet Platform’s Data Governance project.

Data in the era of SDGs



As the global agenda shifted from the millennium development goals (MDGs) to theSDGs, we also witnessed a renewed and strong commitment to underpin development efforts with relevant data. The SDGs call for large-scale quantitative assessments, including building the relevant data collection and statistical capacities at a national level. This strong emphasis on data in development is one of the lessons that emerged very clearly from the MDG agenda.  

For example, the 2015 MDG Report argues for a stronger emphasis on quantitative data and gives four main reasons for the importance of this: to ‘galvanize development efforts’, to ‘track performance and improve accountability, to allow ‘governments at national and subnational levels to effectively focus their development policies, programmes and interventions’, and to foster ‘evidence-based decision-making’.

This trend in data for development calls for awareness raising and capacity building, but also for a critical reflection on the potentials and pitfalls of data-driven decision-making. It is one of the larger trends within which we need to consider data diplomacy.

As the global agenda shifted from the millennium development goals (MDGs) to theSDGs, we also witnessed a renewed and strong commitment to underpin development efforts with relevant data. The SDGs call for large-scale quantitative assessments, including building the relevant data collection and statistical capacities at a national level. This strong emphasis on data in development is one of the lessons that emerged very clearly from the MDG agenda.  

For example, the 2015 MDG Report argues for a stronger emphasis on quantitative data and gives four main reasons for the importance of this: to ‘galvanize development efforts’, to ‘track performance and improve accountability, to allow ‘governments at national and subnational levels to effectively focus their development policies, programmes and interventions’, and to foster ‘evidence-based decision-making’.

This trend in data for development calls for awareness raising and capacity building, but also for a critical reflection on the potentials and pitfalls of data-driven decision-making. It is one of the larger trends within which we need to consider data diplomacy.

(Big) data and capacity development



In order to maximise the potential of (big) data in diplomacy and international affairs, it is important for policy makers, diplomats, aid workers, and other relevant actors to understand the basic principles of the possibilities, limitations, challenges, and management of (big) data in their respective policy areas.

DiploFoundation integrates insights of its data diplomacy research in various capacity-building activities, including:

View details about the upcoming and past events further down.

In order to maximise the potential of (big) data in diplomacy and international affairs, it is important for policy makers, diplomats, aid workers, and other relevant actors to understand the basic principles of the possibilities, limitations, challenges, and management of (big) data in their respective policy areas.

DiploFoundation integrates insights of its data diplomacy research in various capacity-building activities, including:

View details about the upcoming and past events further down.

Training



Master in Contemporary Diplomacy

Start Date: 5 February 2018

Technology and Policy

Start Date: 24 July 2017

E-Diplomacy

Start Date: 7 May 2018

What's next?



Join us for the various events related to data diplomacy, and get in touch with us:

Join us for the various events related to data diplomacy, and get in touch with us:

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