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For UN related news, please click each organization’s name on the right column.

Selected news articles concerning blockchain technology, other than UN related ones, are also posted here.

 

Could bitcoin technology revolutionize aid distribution?

Most people probably don’t associate bitcoin technology with global aid distribution. But perhaps they should… here’s how the use of blockchain could be crucial in the fight against inefficient aid distribution:


During my time working in Afghanistan, there was a hospital in Kabul that was so desperate for a single generator that it applied to multiple UN agencies for help. They received five.

Although the hospital’s needs were met, the duplication simply resulted in wasted resources. This is a familiar story – it happens all over development and humanitarian sectors.

Duplication isn’t the only source of wasted resources – many inefficiencies are built into the multiple layers of the international aid funding system.

Starting with taxpayers in contributing countries, aid funds go through many hands, from one institution to another. Each layer adds on additional costs, entails additional reporting requirements and means increased time to deliver results. Read more.

Moldova eyes blockchain to end child trafficking

 

WED NOV 15, 2017 / 12:22 PM EST
Umberto Bacchi

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Moldova, Europe’s poorest country, is looking to use blockchain, the digital tool behind the cryptocurrency bitcoin, to stamp out child trafficking with help from United Nations experts, a government official said on Wednesday.

Digital identification experts from the U.N. Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and other agencies were in Chisinau this week to discuss possible ways of using the technology to protect children from exploitation.

Every year, hundreds of women and girls as young as 13 are trafficked from Moldova to Russia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and other nations, mainly to work as sex slaves, according to international watchdogs.

“This is a pressing issue and we are eager to find efficient solutions to help us address it,” Mihail Beregoi, state secretary for the Moldova’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation via email.

Moldova was put on the United States’ watch list of countries that are not doing enough to fight human trafficking earlier this year.

Children living in rural areas are particularly at risk of trafficking as they often hold no identification, something that makes them invisible to authorities and easier for traffickers to smuggle across borders on fake documents, experts say.

Blockchain could be used to give them paperless identification documents based on biometric data, such as fingerprints or facial scans, which would be impossible to fake, said Yoshiyuki Yamamoto, UNOPS special adviser for blockchain.

“If we want to set up a reliable identity management system it has to be based on something immutable,” he said by phone from New York ahead of traveling to Chisinau.

An estimated 40 million people were trapped as slaves last year – mostly women and girls – in forced labor and forced marriages, according to anti-slavery groups.

UNOPS this month announced it had teamed up with the World Identity Network (WIN), a campaign group, and other U.N. agencies to launch a pilot using blockchain to fight the crime.

Moldova was the first country to show a concrete interest in the project, said Mariana Dahan, chief executive of WIN, who hoped to start the pilot soon.

Moldova, Europe’s poorest country, borders EU member Romania, with which it has close linguistic and cultural ties, but remains heavily reliant on Russian energy supplies.

Blockchain, which first emerged as the system underpinning bitcoin, is a digital shared record of transactions maintained by a network of computers on the internet without a centralized authority that is hard to tamper with.

Dahan said securing children’s identities on a blockchain-based platform would allow for their identification at all times and also allow for trafficking attempts to be recorded.

“Of course technology is not a silver bullet that can solve all these problems but it can be the catalyst,” Dahan said.

(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org)

Blockchain for Humanity – Global Challenge

This is a Global challenge at United Nations Unite Ideas. You can find a link to submission form at the bottom of this page.
BACKGROUND

The World Identity Network (WIN), the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), and the United Nations Office of Information and Communications Technology (UN-OICT) are partnering to launch a pilot initiative that will use the blockchain technology to help combat child trafficking in Moldova. A first in the world, this project is part of a broader effort titled “Blockchain For Humanity”, announced during the Blockchain Humanitarian Summit in New York, on November 10, 2017.

Still the poorest country in Europe, Moldova has been trying to stop child trafficking for decades. The Government of Moldova is an official partner in this Global Challenge, believing that this breakthrough technology can be leveraged beyond commercial applications, for the social good.

EXPECTED OUTCOME

The Global Challenge will result in a detailed concept and project design that could be further enhanced and used by the Government of Moldova for project implementation. However, the concept should be scalable and applicable to other contexts as well, including other countries around the world, where the prevalence of child trafficking is high.

RECOGNITION

The winner of the challenge will:

  • Be offered the opportunity to have an advisory role in the further development of the submitted solution.
  • Be featured at the United Nations Press, the Unite Ideas platform and more broadly in press and social media.
  • Be offered the opportunity to pitch the solution for potential investment from WIN and other interested organizations.

*Please note that the winner of the Global Challenge is not automatically guaranteed award of contract for project implementation, nor investment or grants from potential donors.

AUDIENCE

This challenge is open to the general public. Public, private, and academic organizations.

How can Blockchain Technology Be Used to Help Prevent Child Trafficking in Moldova?

The task is to propose a detailed project concept and functional design of the solution that would encompass the following sub-components:

ESTABLISHING A PERSONAL DIGITAL IDENTITY FOR CHILDREN

Undocumented children and minors can become an easy prey for human traffickers, who often use fake identification (ID) documents to transport them across borders. Once trafficked, these children and minors are sold to sex brothels, caught in modern slavery rings, and even used for the illegal human organ trade. Digital identity on the blockchain may offer a significantly higher chance of catching traffickers and securing data on an immutable ledger, further making any such trafficking attempts more traceable and preventable.
However, concerns over the privacy of the identity data stored should be identified and clarified, along with proposed ways of addressing them. The proposed solution should allow establishing a unique, secure, digital identity for children and minors aged 0-14 y/o (pilot size: approx. 350,000 children, with modalities of linking children’s personal identity to that of their family members.

SETTING UP A BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORM FOR THE INTEGRATED ID SYSTEM

Setting up a solution that would allow securing identity data on the blockchain, making an immutable record of the actual, or attempted exit with a minor without parents’ permission outside the borders of Moldova.

The integrated ID system may cover the total population (size: 3,500,000 people) or a subset of it, and the choice between these two options should be explained and justified. Issues such as “the right to be forgotten” and the self-sovereign control of data should also be addressed in the proposed solution.

AUTOMATING COMMUNICATION

Potential or actual victims of trafficking are often times isolated and lack support and help in critical circumstances. However, the traditional communication tools, such as direct contact with a social worker, for example, may not function in this context. Setting up a solution that would allow the use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools, for instance, could help recognize and detect patterns of behavior and automate communication with the victims.

EXPECTED DELIVERABLES

Your submission must include the following materials:

1. Detailed concept design and documentation describing the functionalities and explanation of the approach taken to solve the Challenge and the proposed solution.

2. Demonstration systems, prototypes, or videos illustrating the functionality described. (you must provide a link to the source code of any demonstration material you submit).

If you decide to submit a solution, you will do so by providing Internet links where your documentation, software, demos and any material will be stored, which shall be marked and accompanied by creative common and recognized open source software licenses, and shall be visible and accessible to the general public. You will be asked to accept the terms and conditions below:

SOLUTION TERMS AND CONDITIONS

When you submit a solution to this challenge you agree to license it as follows:
Documents, presentations, Infographics, databases and any other content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. Read the full text of the license here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode

Software and hardware is licensed under a GNU General Public License Version 3 as published by the Free Software Foundation here: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html or another license approved by the Open Source Initiative, see: https://opensource.org/licenses/alphabetical.

You represent and warrant that you have all necessary rights, licenses, and permissions to grant the above license and that the content submitted by you and the submission of such content, do not and will not violate any intellectual property rights (including but not limited to copyrights and trademark rights) of any third party.

CHALLENGE SPONSORING ORGANIZATIONS:

The Government of Moldova, UNOPS, UN-OICT, WIN.

CHALLENGE FOCAL POINTS:

Yoshiyuki Yamamoto, UNOPS
Jorge Martinez Navarrete, UN-OICT
Mariana Dahan, WIN
Mihail Beregoi, Government of Moldova

Post your preliminary idea today!

The last day for submissions is January 10, 2018

For any questions please contact us at : uniteideas@un.org

Humanitarian Blockchain Summit

November 10, 2017

Fordham University at Lincoln Center

The Humanitarian Blockchain Summit will bring technology experts, scholars, and humanitarian practitioners together for dynamic discussions about the future of blockchain technology in humanitarian operations and in pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Blockchain technology holds great potential for improving these operations—whether it’s used to transfer cash to disaster victims, coordinate the delivery of supplies, streamline humanitarian financing, or make humanitarian projects more gender-inclusive.

The summit is designed for those interested in using blockchain for tangible humanitarian impact. Breakout sessions will focus on overcoming challenges to using blockchain, as well as identifying the best ways to develop humanitarian-friendly blockchain platforms, among other topics. The sessions will also include collaborative exercises and presentations about how some organizations are using blockchain.

Register for the Summit

Objectives

The goal of the event is for participants to recommend policies for using blockchain in specific humanitarian interventions through:

  • Highlighting a range of piloted and pioneered blockchain initiatives for humanitarian action;
  • Facilitating the ethical adoption of humanitarian blockchain solutions in response to technical, legal, and governance challenges facing the humanitarian sector;
  • Bringing together people from across sectors to foster new partnerships, encourage technical collaboration, and explore nontraditional funding sources;
  • Curating existing open-source tools used in humanitarian blockchain services; and
  • Building a digital community of developers interested in impacting humanitarian assistance.

World Bank Request for Information (RFI) for distributed ledger technology or blockchain services

The World Bank

DISTRIBUTED LEDGER TECHNOLOGY OR BLOCKCHAIN SERVICES

  • SOLICITATION NUMBER: RFI 18-0075
  • ISSUE DATE: Sep 01,2017
  • CLOSING DATE: Oct 31,2017

CLOSING DATE AND TIME: OCTOBER 31, 2017 @ 5.00 PM EST

The World Bank Group (WBG) invites interested parties to respond to a Request for Information (RFI) for distributed ledger technology or blockchain services. Through this RFI, WBG intends to identify parties that want to work on hands-on activities to discover and explore the possibilities of distributed ledger technology and / or blockchain services in the context of the world’s most pressing development challenges. Through this collaboration, WBG is providing an opportunity for interested parties to shape their own roadmaps with respect to these technologies and services by working with a large, mature, international organization.

WBG recognizes the transformative potential of distributed ledger technology and blockchain, and is interested in better understanding what is currently available in the commercial market place. Through this RFI and the resulting collaboration with interested parties, WBG expects to develop use cases, prototype solutions, develop proofs of concept for new approaches and ideas. WBG hopes to incubate and scale the results of this experimentation to the greater benefit of the organization.

WBG does not intend to award a contract based on this RFI or to otherwise pay for the information solicited. WBG reserves the right to defer or cancel the RFI without penalty. WBG expects the engagement to occur at no cost to the World Bank Group.

The solicitation may be obtained by sending an email to the designated Category Manager, referencing the following information:

1.   Solicitation Number

2.   Company Name

3.   Contact Person Name and Title

4.   Address

5.   Telephone Number

6.   Fax Number

7.   Contact’s Email Address

A copy of the solicitation will be sent to organizations that have replied to and are eligible to receive this advertisement. All requests and questions regarding this solicitation shall be directed to the following designated Corporate Procurement Category Manager:

Lily Cheung @ lcheung@worldbank.org

The WBG reserves the right to publicly disclose contract award information, including but not limited to, name of company receiving the award, brief description of services, and contract award amount, for any contract award valued over US$250,000.  Offeror’s proposal and contractual documents will remain confidential and therefore not subject to disclosure.

The World Bank reserves the right to reject any or all responses without recourse.

Making Blockchain Technology Work for Development: The Need for Data and Dialogue


24 JUL 2017


Cutting through the layers of hype surrounding blockchain technology is tough work. Underlying the buildup in excitement, however, is a remarkable tool that could, if designed and used appropriately, help improve processes related to several long-standing development challenges. In our new paper “Blockchain and Economic Development: Hype vs. Reality,” we examine the technology’s potential role in addressing four of those challenges:

  • making aid disbursement more secure and transparent;
  • facilitating faster and cheaper international payments;
  • providing a secure digital infrastructure for verifying identity; and
  • securing property rights.

We argue that, while blockchain-based solutions have the potential to increase efficiency and improve outcomes dramatically in some use cases and more marginally (if at all) in others, key constraints must be resolved before blockchain technology can meet its full potential in this space. Overcoming these constraints will require increased dialogue between the development and technology communities and a stronger commitment to collecting and sharing data about what’s working and what isn’t in pilot projects that use the technology. Read more.

The ULC’s model act for digital currency businesses has passed. Here’s why it’s good for Bitcoin.

The Uniform Law Commission has given states a clear path to approach this technology the right way.

The Uniform Law Commission, a private body of lawyers and legal academics from the several states, has just voted to finalize and approve a uniform model state law for the regulation of virtual currency businesses. This is great news for businesses, users, and developers of cryptocurrency and decentralized computing technologies. Read more.

Japan to Test Blockchain for Government Contract System

Japan is reportedly looking to integrate blockchain into its online systems for accepting government contract bids. 

According to Nikkei Asian Review, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, who oversees the Japanese administrative system and manages local governments, will test a blockchain-based system for processing government tenders in the fiscal year starting from this April through March 2018.

In the tendering process, governments solicit bids for contracts from vendors, collecting a swath of information from those companies as they assess whom they’ll award projects. Japanese officials want to see if blockchain can help improve the efficiency of existing processes by using the tech to connect the government offices that possess the required information. In this case, blockchain would form part of that back-end system for sharing data between agencies, if implemented.

Japans’s government procurement market amounts to more than $600bn annually – an amount worth 16.2% of the country’s GDP, and 38.3% of its total public-sector expenditures – according to research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The focus on procurement forms part of a broader strategy to incorporate the tech in e-governemnt systems, according to Nikkei. Future plans are said to include sharing some of the findings of the trial with private-sector partners.

Japan isn’t alone in testing this use case area. As CoinDesk reported earlier this month, the US General Services Administration is seeking prototype proposals in a bid to see how blockchain could improve its contract review process for IT vendors.

Original: http://www.coindesk.com/japan-test-blockchain-government-contract-system/

The future of female tech leadership is thriving—in the United Arab Emirates

Japan looks to blockchains for more secure e-government systems

29 June 2017 NIKKEI Asian Review

Testing to begin this fiscal year with tender applications

Japan aims to incorporate blockchain technology into its e-government systems.

TOKYO — Japan wants to use the data storage technology behind bitcoin and similar virtual currencies to update how individuals and companies interact electronically with government, aiming to bolster information security while cutting administrative costs.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications will test a blockchain-based system for processing government tenders in the fiscal year through March 2018. Next fiscal year, it plans to lay out a roadmap for incorporating distributed-ledger technology in e-government systems and begin moving in that direction.

Blockchains have drawn worldwide attention for their ability to create highly transparent and secure systems for such purposes as transferring money. Forging entries in a blockchain-based distributed ledger is extremely difficult, since data is shared by everyone in the system rather than stored in any single computer.

The centralized servers behind much of today’s IT systems require costly protection against cyberattacks, and the risk of data theft places limits on the types of information that can be shared with and within government, officials say.

The ministry envisions a blockchain-based system making tender applications easier for both the private sector and government. Instead of applicants collecting the tax payment certificates and other necessary documents from various government offices, for example, the agency issuing the tender would be able to gather the information electronically.

Further down the road, the Japanese government will consider sharing its blockchain-related know-how with the private sector. Some have suggested the use of blockchain technology in securing data involved with autonomous driving, power stations and other key infrastructure.

(Nikkei)

The original article is here.