Author: Kristin B. Sandvik

New NATO Cyber Defense Policy: Unclear on Key Issues

Against the background of increasing dependence on technology and on the internet, NATO is advancing its efforts to confront the wide range of cyber threats. Presented at the organization’s 2014 summit in Wales, on 4 September 2014, a new defense policy states that there is no distinction between cyber attack and physical attack.    The… Read more »

Ebola: A Humanitarian Crisis or a Crisis of Humanitarian Governance?

With more than 8,000 confirmed, suspected and probable cases of Ebola and nearly 4,000 deaths, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the impact of this Ebola outbreak far surpasses all previous outbreaks registered since the disease was identified in 1976. But what type of crisis is this? Is this just another humanitarian crisis in a year unusually crowded with… Read more »

A Humanitarian Technology Policy Agenda for 2016

The World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 will feature transformation through innovation as a key theme. Leading up to the summit, OCHA has voiced the need to “identify and implement….positions that address operational challenges and opportunities” (OCHA 2013) relating to the use of information technology, big data and innovations in humanitarian action. In this blog post… Read more »

Lethal Autonomous Weapons: Issues for the International Community

On May 13-16 a United Nations (UN) expert meeting will discuss ‘questions relating to emerging technologies’ in lethal autonomous weapon systems. Such systems are distinguished by being mobile and selecting targets autonomously without direct human supervision. This type of expert meeting represents the lowest rung of the UN ladder. The Chair of the meeting will simply write… Read more »

The Promise and Perils of ‘Disaster Drones’

The dire humanitarian consequences of the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones) in conflict have become all too familiar. In contrast, there has been much less public discussion about the potential humanitarian uses of drones. So-called ‘disaster drones’ offer humanitarian agencies a range of possibilities in relation to crisis mapping, search and rescue… Read more »