international Workshop participants at the Basel Peace Forum 2017 discussing the potential of artificial intelligence and technology for peacebuilding. Gabriel Hill

Can we build a more peaceful world through online commerce connections?

Last January, Hanne Melin Olbe, Director Global Public Policy at eBay Inc, participated in the first edition of the Basel Peace Forum. Following her input at the workshop on artificial intelligence and virtual marketplaces in peacebuilding, she reflects, in an article published on, on the role which a new and more inclusive model of trade could play for long-term peacebuilding.

She describes how the online commerce platform enables trade patterns different from traditional trade. She argues that this model of trade could contribute to peacebuilding, highlighting three of its features that have been found to play a role in reducing conflict: First, platform-enabled trade enables trust creation between individuals across distance. Second, it empowers broader based economic growth by including micro and small enterprises as well as firms in remote areas. Lastly, it allows for export diversification, reducing the risk of conflict a fragile country faces when its export is centered on commodities and thus vulnerable to price changes.

Berghof Foundation

In January 2017, the OECD published a joint paper written by two research teams at Berghof Foundation and Clingendael. Commissioned by the International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF), and funded by the German Ministry for Cooperation (BMZ) and the German development agency (GIZ), it assesses how bilateral and multilateral development donors have implemented their commitment to supporting inclusive and legitimate political settlements, as formulated in the 2011 New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States. Based on empirical evidence in four New Deal pilot countries (Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan and Timor-Leste), the report critically reviews donors’ ability to scale up their understanding and practice of the politics of development. It puts forward a set of recommendations that should enable international statebuilding and peacebuilding assistance to better acknowledge, and work with, the realities of fragmented and contested governance in fragile and conflict-affected environments.

Eminent scientists and experts to draft the Global Sustainable Development Report

Before leaving office, former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed 15 eminent scientists and experts to draft the Global Sustainable Development Report. This report is a key component of the mechanism to follow up and review progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The document, which will be published in 2019, is intended to provide guidance from a scientific perspective that will support implementation for the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda in ways that integrate economic, environmental and social dimension, and will be available for a wide range of stakeholders, including business, civil society and the general public. Among the 15 members of the independent group of scientists is Peter Messerli, Director and Professor for Sustainable Development at the Centre for Development and Environment of the University of Bern. He will serve as co-chairs of the group.