Photos: SIPRI/Tomas Henriksson
The Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development is co-hosted by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The Forum normally runs over the course of three days, two of which are by invitation-only (around 350 participants) and one open to the public (normally around 800 participants). Looking at around 50 sessions (between plenaries, roundtables, consultations and so on) for the 2020 Forum.
In the light of the COVID-19 situation however, the decision was made to cancel the physical meeting and our mission at MKTG was to translate it – in a reduced format – virtually.
SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. Established in 1966, SIPRI’s vision is a world in which sources of insecurity are identified and understood, conflicts are prevented or resolved, and peace is sustained. SIPRI’s vision is a world in which sources of insecurity are identified and understood, conflicts are prevented or resolved, and peace is sustained.
The virtual Stockholm Forum, with this year’s theme ‘Sustaining Peace in the time of COVID-19’ moved from a single event, to a series of partner-led virtual discussions and exchanges that leveraged innovation and cutting-edge technology to bring together communities virtually to explore what works, in open exchange with the wider peace and development community. The event was conducted over a 2-week period with the central hub at a broadcasting studio in Stockholm, where meetings were conducted during the afternoons (CET), to have the possibility to include participants from APAC and AMER.
With many high-profile panelists; governments, Secretary-Generals, EU representatives, think tanks, civil society and multilateral organizations. The virtual Stockholm Forum hosted three kinds of sessions:
High-level Interactive Dialogues (5 sessions)
Open Day panels broadcasted from a physical studio, with moderator and panelists both in the studio and online. To get a more genuine feeling in the dialogue between the physical and virtual participants, screens were placed on the studio floor and the virtual participants connected to each screen. These sessions were accessible to all registered participants and streamed to the public on YouTube.
Partner-led Sessions (39 sessions)
The Stockholm Forum offered partners the possibility to organize sessions and interactive discussions on topics that lie at the center of international peace and development policy and practice. These sessions were partner-led in substance, technology and format with support from MKTG. Some of the sessions were broadcasted to the public but the majority were by invitation only. In order to make the sessions interactive there will be moderated chats, questions and polling.
- 14 of these sessions were conducted through a virtual control room where up to 14 panelists in the same session connected from all over the world and were then broadcasted from the studio.
- 25 of the sessions were conducted on the Zoom platform with the technical moderation and support by MKTG.
To bind all of these meetings MKTG set up a web-based, fully branded interactive platform where participants could register and receive special access to their password protected sessions. The open sessions were broadcasted directly on the main page accessible to anyone registered to the event. Whereas the closed partner-led sessions were on separate sites directly accessible through the main page, on sub-pages of the main site you could either watch the stream directly or if applicable, connect to the Zoom webinar.
The result was an incredible global impact with astonishing 3700 registered participants from 167 different countries and 3 months after the event roughly 25,000 views on YouTube of the different sessions. Also:
- A 350% increase in number of participants from the 2019
- Participants from 86% of all the countries in the world
- Counting over 200 panelists taking part in the different sessions, only 10 of them physically in the studio
- The live stream of the opening session resulted in 1 000 new subscriptions on YouTube.
- Forum related tweets were seen roughly 600 000 times between 11-22 May. This does not include tweets by partner organizations