UN Global Pulse, Dataminr Partnership Equips UN Teams with AI Tech to Keep Abreast of Crises
Felicia Vacarelu, Communication Specialist, UN Global Pulse
Knowledge is power, and when it’s delivered in real time, it can save lives and help communities thrive. Dataminr’s product for first responders is now in use by hundreds of UN staff to assist with development, humanitarian and peace efforts.
This is the age of citizen journalism, where anyone armed with a smartphone and a social media account can report from the scene of an incident well before authorities have been notified. Receiving such real-time information in a humanitarian crisis, or in the middle of a conflict zone, can save lives and help keep our UN staff safer.
UN Global Pulse, recently partnered with Dataminr, the leading AI platform for first response, to equip UN teams with First Alert, Dataminr’s product for the public sector.
The product searches within thousands of publicly available information (PAI) sources, and, based on an individual user’s preferences, sends real-time alerts when early signals of risks are detected.
Teams using Dataminr in the field are seeing manifold advantages. For example, OCHA’s country teams working in high risk, or information-scarce environments such as the Sudan, report a positive firsthand experience.
“For me, the most useful thing is having access to social media content in Arabic—channels that would normally be inaccessible. To be able to see content from local residents who do not have large, international followings and to gain insight into situations as they unfold is truly invaluable,” says Mary Keller, Programme Officer, at OCHA Sudan.
Heightened awareness of breaking events also means UN staff are able to keep themselves, and their families, safer.
“The scope of Dataminr’s detection capability is truly global. Personally, I have already realized the advantage of having Dataminr when working in a number of challenging UN Mission areas around the world,” says Stefan Lemm of the Operations Support Division in the Office of Information and Communication Technology at UNHQ.
In upcoming months, the teams at Dataminr and Global Pulse will work with teams across the UN System to onboard new users and help them optimize their setups of the Dataminr platform to yield the most relevant and actionable alerts.
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