From the 25th to 28th of April, Friends of Europe organised the Security Jam, a massive online brainstorm on global security and defence challenges. Held every two years since 2010, it brings together several thousand participants to discuss security in real time on a state-of the-art online platform, from anywhere in the world, for 77 straight hours.
In 2014, we published the top ten recommendations from the Security Jam 2014. None of the recommendations have been fully adopted, but progress has been in some of them, including on the top recommendation of an EU / NATO strategy update, as well as stronger international coordination on cybersecurity.
However, one of the Security Jam 2014 recommendations seems more timely than ever. The Jammers suggested the creation of an EU public database on migration, asylum and human trafficking flows. They argued the EU should set up and maintain an up-to-date and public common picture of migration, asylum and human trafficking flows and operations to ensure an integrated, comprehensive, and coherent approach, just as ReliefWeb does for disaster response.
ReliefWeb is a digital service run by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Set up in 1996, it publishes round-the-clock disaster and crisis updates and analysis for humanitarian organisations, so they can make timely decisions and better plan and coordinate assistance. A clear, visible platform could keep public opinion informed of the facts and help coordinate the response of public authorities and NGOs from across the EU.
In fact, one of the Jam participants argued that the main attraction of a public website tracking migration flows is to provide a big picture of what various organisations are doing, and to help them to coordinate more effectively:
One of the major problems that’s been made very clear in all the forums during this year’s Security Jam is that we just don’t know who is doing what… Partnering is a great innovative way to leverage all the resources committed to a common cause, but to find partners one has to know who is doing what. A Common Operating Picture is needed. ReliefWeb is a great example of the power of knowing what’s going on.
However, another Jammer cautioned that there were limits to how effective a public website could be:
I agree that ReliefWeb is excellent, but let’s be clear: it’s a platform for public information, and operational agencies absolutely do not share their sensitive information or even their internal planning and objectives… Perhaps a good platform for aggregating public information and thinking would be useful, but this won’t translate to real coordination, let alone strategic alignment, any more than it does for the humanitarian sector.
Should there be an EU public migration database? Or would a public website tracking migration flows fail to translate into real coordination? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!
IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – UNHCR