Action for Peacekeeping: Digital transformation underway in UNFICYP
In December, UNFICYP became the first United Nations peacekeeping mission to receive enhanced situational awareness capabilities with the launch of the Unite Aware technical platform and redesign of the Joint Operations Centre. Designed to enhance the near real-time data capabilities of missions, Unite Aware consolidates existing systems into a single point of access for mission personnel. It incorporates patrol planning, incident reporting, real-time asset tracking and multilayer mapping tools in a user-friendly interface.
The platform was well-received by Mission personnel at training sessions, with John Culleton, an Assistant Sector Civil Affairs Police Liaison Officer, remarking: “It is very user-friendly, and the access to the information available is a lot easier to obtain than in the current system. Where before you would need a screen for every application in support of data entry and cross-comparison/integration, now the information is easier to obtain without having to go search for it.”
Captain Gaston Figueras, one of UNFICYP’s Military Observer and Liaison Officers, highlighted the platform’s capacity to “significantly improve and reduce the time it takes to make different reports,” with the new system meaning that “all the steps for the elaboration of the reports and info-reports are even simpler and faster since you can create a map in a short period because the map is already integrated.”
To ensure its smooth implementation, the Mission also counted on support from the Field Technology Service and the Engineering section. David Wilkins, Chief of FTS, stated that: “Unite Aware brings a unified, centralised UN standard common operating picture and integrated data platform that will truly benefit all mission components to meet their mandated activities. Mission Support is fully supporting this initiative through leveraging and unifying current and future technologies into this platform. The collaborative effort in delivering a state-of-the-art Joint Operations Centre is testament to our commitment to this initiative.”
Unite Aware’s roll-out is part of peacekeeping’s Enhancing Situational Awareness programme. This innovation initiative aims to improve the situational awareness capabilities of missions, as prioritised in the Strategy for the Digital Transformation of UN Peacekeeping.
Following the handover of responsibilities to mission staff, the Situational Awareness Team will turn its attention to future implementations of the programme – exploring potential deployments of the Unite Aware platform to other peacekeeping missions.
The vision for deeper internal capacities and exposure to new technologies comes as part of the Action for Peacekeeping Plus (A4P+) initiative. The overarching goal of this digital transformation is to enable UNFICYP to implement its mandate more effectively and to enhance the safety and security of peacekeepers by harnessing the potential of digital technologies as well as mitigate risks, while positioning peacekeeping to continue to evolve in its use of technology.