Governments are often criticised for reacting to rather than preparing for predictable crises. Only a few specialised analysts foresaw the Arab Spring, the rise of Daesh and the EU’s massive influx of refugees. Not only in Europe but worldwide, their reactions were contradictory and even counter-productive. Natural disasters, too, can have a catastrophic global impact. Last year’s COP21 Paris Summit recognised the risks of climate change will exacerbate droughts and increase tensions, while water, food and energy security problems across Asia are paralleled by the demographic explosion in Sub-Saharan Africa.
How can improved early-warning mechanisms be built on information-sharing between intelligence services and crowdsourcing from citizens and social media? “Big data” analytics and the use of artificial intelligence will be important, but the means to access this information are often held privately actors and require much more effective public-private cooperation. The sensitive nature of intelligence makes regional, let alone global, cooperation a distant prospect, so how in practical terms can information sharing be improved? Is the multinational intelligence agency suggested by participants in the 2010 Security Jam feasible?
Can the risk analyses and contingency plans of academics and business analysts be fed into decision-making? What role should business and civil society actors play, and what incentives could encourage better information exchange? Is the 2010 Security Jam’s suggestion for an “International Crisis Preparedness Fund” to finance disaster response and a “scarce resources inventory” to predict future tensions still valid, and if so how could it be made operational? Would overarching security goals, similar to the UN’s MDGs and SDGs, do anything to prepare for future crises?
Moderated by Eurasia Group & Friends of Europe
Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs
James A. Lewis
Director, Strategic Technologies Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Director, Strategy and Statecraft Program, Center for a New American Security
2015 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and President of the Tunisian UTICA