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Keeping Watch

Monitoring Technology and Innovation in UN Peace Operations

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Knowledge is power. In the hands of United Nations peacekeepers, it can be a power for peace. Lacking knowledge, peacekeepers often find themselves powerless in the field, unable to protect themselves and others. This book explains how technologies can increase the range, effectiveness and accuracy of United Nations observation. It also identifies potential problems and pitfalls with modern technologies and the challenges to incorporate them into the United Nations system. It examines the few cases of technologies effectively harnessed in the field and offers creative recommendations to overcome the institutional inertia and widespread misunderstandings about how technology can complement human initiative in the quest for peace in war-torn lands.

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Unattended ground sensors: Summary of a survey

A pioneering opinion survey on the potential use of unattended ground sensors (UGS) in UN peacekeeping was conducted in 1995 by European researchers (Altmann et al. 1998) and published by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research. Such UGS can be left in the field to send signals to peacekeepers. A questionnaire was sent out to peacekeepers and to officials at defence headquarters in various countries, gaining 114 responses out of 185 questionnaires sent. A full 90 per cent considered ground sensors useful in principle, across the range of possible activities considered (cease-fire lines, buffer/demilitarized zones, enclosed areas, safe havens and using portable sensors). Only 27 per cent had actual experience with ground sensors, mostly from other military activities, as would be expected because of the very limited application in current UN operations.

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