August 16, 2022, 1:54 am

Diplomatic correspondent

2021-12-01 08:16:57 BdST

Call for strong public, private partnership for digital peace

Speakers at a discussion titled “Building Bridges: Connecting Development and Private Sectors for Digital Peace” urged for better synergies between the public and private sectors for a safe and inclusive digital space.

The discussion was organized by Partnerships for a Tolerant and Inclusive Bangladesh (PTIB), an initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to understand and prevent violent extremism (PVE) in Bangladesh.

PTIB has been organizing Peace Talk Café since last year to give the youth a voice. The 10th edition of Peace Talk Café was organised on Tuesday (Nov 30) in Dhaka to explore the opportunities of curbing cyberbullying and other online crimes.

Attending the discussion, Paula Roos-Schindeler, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bangladesh, said, “The digital space has evolved over time and made its presence felt. This calls for the need for the concerted effort of different stakeholders to regulate it.” She added, “It is in the interest of the private sector as well that we have a peaceful digital space”.

“CSR is now steering away from the more traditional approach towards an integrated approach, which has opened more opportunities for them to contribute towards social development”, she further mentioned.

“All the information on funding opportunities is out there, but what we lack is awareness. Development and private sector both need to promote what they can offer for each other”, said Samina Yasmin, Communications and Gender Specialist.

“Development organizations, especially youth-led organizations, should also seek capacity building support, and not just financial support,” she mentioned when discussing the importance of knowledge exchange for both sectors.

“Velocity of information is a challenge”, said Firoze Muhammad Zahidur Rahman, CEO & Chief Solution Architect of Loosely Coupled Technologies. In emphasizing the importance of stopping the spread of negative narratives, he said, “We need to promote a delay in our response to divisive inputs”.

“The corporate sector and the development sector are pivoting towards a more blended approach rather being than purely profit-driven or purely development-driven.”, said Bijon Islam, Co-founder and CEO of LightCastle Partners. He further mentioned that today’s youth need to hone core skills such as critical and analytical thinking and communication skills to leave a mark.

Among others, Robert Stoelman, Project Manager, PTIB project, UNDP Bangladesh, also spoke.

The Peace Talk Café is arranged periodically to expand the space for dialogue on contemporary social issues between youth and speakers coming from diverse backgrounds, underlining the fact that each and every individual has a role to play in peacebuilding.

This is a part of UNDP’s ongoing Digital Khichuri Challenge, a youth engagement platform that aims to create a peaceful and inclusive society.

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