Authors: Devanjan Bhattacharya, Sanja Badanjak, Christine Bell, Fiona Knäussel, Laura Wise, John Allison, Benjamin Bach
In March 2020, the UN Secretary General issued a call for a global ceasefire to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. This call was expected to result in a variety of responses from governments, diplomats, armed groups, NGOs, humanitarian actors, and mediators. Since these organizations are typically focused on specific countries and contexts, it was important to provide them and researchers of conflict and peacemaking dynamics with clear, concise, and well-presented data on the full variety of conflict parties’ responses to the UNSG’s call, the COVID-19 pandemic and to track the impacts of the pandemic on attempts to end armed conflict. Our tracker, called ‘Ceasefires in a time of COVID-19’ supports these efforts and SDG 16, i.e., promotion of just, peaceful, and inclusive societies. It features a timeline, an interactive map, and a search tool that displays qualitative data about the ceasefires and related events. This tool is unique in its application, bringing together ceasefires declarations and the COVID-19 infection rates from the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 database, and in its design, with input from the academic and practitioner communities. In this paper, we further describe the methodology used in designing the tool and argue in favor of broad interdisciplinary and cross-industry participation in dataset and user interface design, in order to reflect the requirements of the interested publics.
This paper was presented at the 2021 IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference.