Global Event 2021 Digitalisation: The Digital Divide and Forced Displacement
Every year, DRC sets out to explore problems and their solutions around a pressing topic of transnational dimensions, which affects displaced populations, and which challenges the humanitarian sector. As we strongly believe in the value of collaborative action and knowledge, DRC seeks to enable an event brimming with actors that we do not normally engage with. Actors who will make us smarter, more responsive and accountable towards displacement affected people.
Last year, DRC launched a strategic ideation process – the DRC Global Event – acknowledging that the humanitarian sector needs a wider approach, new brain powers and stronger cross-disciplinary partnerships to lever the mandate to protect marginalised people and to develop real solutions for people affected by conflict and displacement. This exciting process was lifted by invaluable thinkers, speakers and collaborators contributing across geographies to offer intel, ideas and perspectives about how the nexus of climate change, environmental degradation and forced displacement will unravel and what we can do to start tackling this serious problem.
Building on a strong foundation and recognition of the wealth of know-how that exists beyond the humanitarian sector, we are eager to re-engage with others to co-explore and co-create in a wider ecosystem. We are both curious and determined to become better at what we do, and to improve protection for affected people by innovating and taking into account the complexity of forced displacement dynamics. This year, we turn our focus to digitalisation and examine the interconnectedness between this mega trend and forced displacement.
As tech and digitalisation becomes more powerful and ubiquitous, we will invite experts to join us and delve into the ‘what is’ and ‘what will be’ of digitalisation, the digital divide and forced displacement. Part of this journey is to understand the new interactions, drivers and values that are enabled by the digital era, framing the dynamics of forced displacement to understand how humanitarian actors can better protect and enable people live dignified lives. DRC is strategically committed to digitalisation, acknowledging that humanitarian response work must also be oriented towards the trends of tomorrow.
Digitalisation and forced displacement
Digitalisation transforms societies, organisations, economies and governments, with a potential for real and positive change. Yet, as convenient and enabling as it may seem, digitalisation may also lead to increased repression, instability and (digital) divides that leave marginalised groups behind. Due to a lack of affordable or relevant products and services, or because of political, social or economic factors, these groups often find themselves in situations where equitable access to the benefits of digitalisation is limited.
In our exploration of digitalisation and forced displacement, we need to consider the risks of exclusion, gaps and imbalances, governance and ethics, infrastructure, finance and power dynamics. Digital skill-building, access to technology and digital inclusivity can bridge and support transformation for people who are otherwise left behind and/or left out of developmental advances.
As we see jobs, information, services, finance and identity transcend into the digital, and as we strive to improve our support to and protection of the displacement-affected, it is time to ask: How do we tap these opportunities? And how do we tackle the risks? Most importantly, perhaps, what will the future of refugee response be?
We would love for you to embark on this journey with us and explore topics such as digitalisation and rights; digital financial inclusion; digital employment; digital accountability towards affected people; and digital access, connectivity, safety and participation in post-pandemic times.