Civil Society and Data Politics in International Diplomacy

Vienna was the centre of nuclear disarment in December 2014. The  Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons brought the new process of humanitarian consequences an important step forward.

Not just on the political stage, it made new ground. It allowed a new level of civil society particpation and openess which is strongly missing in international politics. Whereas the use of social media and other internet services is an already established in new approaches of Diplomacy, the live reporting of ICAN and ICAN Austria set a new benchmark.

The core is a webtool consisting of two parts:

Reporting about the conference online and at the venue itself on large touch screens is indeed something new. The diplomates itself were standing around the screens, attensively checking on their own county assessment and quotes from their statements. And also complaining if their intension is not reflected as desired. The response to this installation shows that there is a need. Having it online that the whole world can follow creates much more credibilty and transparency than a simple video streaming.

Visualising such data is only a first step. In each policy field there is a lot of data from historic archieves, geo data and other open data. Arranging this around political decisions, processes and events will create complete new possibilities. It is hard to predict what impact this can have on the political outcome itself. The only thing we know is that this will change the process itself.

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