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Digital Diplomacy and the ICRC (Briefing Paper #7)

Date: 2017
In this briefing paper, Ms Alice Maillot discusses the potential of digital diplomacy for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). She looks at the changing nature of diplomacy, new developments in digital diplomacy, and how the ICRC can implement and adopt some of the current trends.

She finds that:

  1. The main competitive advantages of the ICRC lie in its multidisciplinary approach and in its capability to combine policy expertise, politics, operational expertise, and strong power to disseminate humanitarian values and to influence the way it is perceived by its stakeholders.
  2. A comprehensive and well-defined digital diplomacy strategy can efficiently support the ICRC’s humanitarian diplomacy in a changing environment in which many of the ICRC’s stakeholders are well versed in using digital diplomacy.
  3. Digital diplomacy at the ICRC is not yet clearly defined. Some current practices take the form of digital diplomacy, but are not labelled as such. These practices are mainly driven by the Communications Department, but there is scope for strengthening links with the Humanitarian Diplomacy division. These links need to be further exploited by concrete actions and through collaboration with relevant partners.
  4. A comprehensive digital diplomacy strategy is not limited to the use of social media, but includes knowledge management, information management, public diplomacy, external resources, and virtual representation components.
  5. Digital diplomacy can serve humanitarian diplomacy as a tool that encourages the inclusion of non-state actors in the humanitarian agenda, whether for prevention, policy shaping, or implementation purposes.

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