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Peace Coronavirus CSS Blog

Mediation Perspectives: Why COVID-19 Ceasefires Remain an Exception

Image courtesy of Jeffery Harris/DVIDS

Mediation Perspectives is a periodic blog entry that’s provided by the CSS’ Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors.

Humanitarian ceasefires are intended to open up windows of relief for affected civilians during armed conflict. With COVID-19 spreading across the world and the UN Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire, hopes were high that ceasefires could help contain the pandemic and ease civilian suffering. The small number of COVID-19 ceasefires, however, is sobering. This might be explained by how a ceasefire declared in response to the coronavirus pandemic can appear to entail far-reaching commitments with uncertain benefits and high costs. In contrast to usual humanitarian ceasefires, pandemic ceasefires hence seem as too big of a risk to take. Tying ceasefire calls to concrete objectives with clear temporal and geographic limitations could help to counter this obstacle.

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Education Peace Coronavirus CSS Blog

Mediation Perspectives: Moving Training from Room to Zoom

Image courtesy of Team Tumult

Mediation Perspectives is a periodic blog entry that’s provided by the CSS’ Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors.

In the context of COVID-19-related discussions about moving mediation training online, this blog reflects on key strategic and operational questions one should ask to make this decision. Takeaways include: 1) online training is not better or worse than in-person training, but they each have their own strengths and weaknesses; 2) developing quality online training requires intentional design rather than just the “shoveling” of existing resources onto the web; and 3) any decision to develop online training courses should be part of a long-term strategic decision rather than a short-term improvisation.

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Technology Coronavirus CSS Blog

Keeping Up with the Digital COVID Jungle

Image courtesy of Free-Photos/Pixabay

This blog belongs to the CSS’ coronavirus blog series, which forms a part of the center’s analysis of the security policy implications of the coronavirus crisis. See the CSS special theme page on the coronavirus for more.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an explosion of digital tools for fighting communicable diseases. To cut through this complexity, this blog provides an overview of such tools for information exchange, contact tracing and monitoring compliance with physical distancing and quarantine measures. The large variety of applications can be explained by the (sub‑) national organization of crisis management, different socio-technological contexts, and the initial absence of sunk costs. To avoid an accelerated increase of surveillance that is incompatible with democratic standards, more transparency is needed regarding government contracts and consequential, algorithmic decision-making.

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Security Coronavirus CSS Blog

Covid-19: Ursprung des neuen Coronavirus und Gegenmassnahmen

Am Donnerstag, 14. Mai 2020, fand am Center for Security Studies (CSS) der ETH Zürich das dritte Brown Bag Webinar zum Thema «Covid-19: Ursprung des neuen Coronavirus und Gegenmassnahmen» statt. Michèle Gemünden, Molekularbiologin und Senior Researcher im Team schweizerische und euroatlantische Sicherheit am CSS, widmete sich folgenden Fragen: Ist das Virus tatsächlich vom Tier auf den Menschen übergesprungen oder ist es doch versehentlich aus einem Hochsicherheitslabor entwichen? Wann wird ein wirksamer Impfstoff zur Verfügung stehen? Und wie effizient sind Gesichtsmasken gegen eine Ansteckung?

Categories
Defense Coronavirus CSS Blog

The Pandemic Could Enhance NATO’s Resilience

Image courtesy of Kristof Rixmann/DVIDS.

This blog belongs to the CSS’ coronavirus blog series, which forms a part of the center’s analysis of the security policy implications of the coronavirus crisis. See the CSS special theme page on the coronavirus for more.

Although the coronavirus pandemic did not trigger a transatlantic response, NATO found relevance in support of the civilian response: airlifting medical equipment and countering disinformation. The pandemic gives Allies renewed impetus to strengthen resilience and NATO to complement the national efforts in doing so.