About UN News

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.


UN/CEFACT White Paper on Blockchain


United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) wishes to share the first White Paper on Blockchain authored by UN/CEFACT, which is currently out for Public Review.


This document was already referenced a few months back as one of the documents presented to UN/CEFACT 24th Plenary Session. This same document is out for Public Review in order to capture comments and suggestions from the general public.


The Public Review will end on 21 July 2018. UN/CEFACT will welcome all comments entered through this template.


UN Division Looks to IOTA Ledger Tech for Higher Efficiency

UN Division Looks to IOTA Ledger Tech for Higher Efficiency

Nikhilesh De, CoinDesk

May 24, 2018 at 02:30 UTC  |  Updated  May 24, 2018 at 02:36 UTC

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is teaming up with the IOTA Foundation to see how the project’s distributed ledger technology can help the UN streamline its workflows.

The UNOPS announced the partnership on Tuesday, saying the two organizations are looking into increasing the operation efficiency of the UN office using IOTA’s tangle technology. Read more.

Restart Week West, A Decentralized Community Event of Innovation and Support for the Redevelopment of Puerto Rico, Returns This May

Restart Week West, A Decentralized Community Event of Innovation and Support for the Redevelopment of Puerto Rico, Returns This May


Following the successful debut edition of Restart Week in San Juan, Puerto Rico this past March, the community-driven event has announced its second gathering which will take place from May 11-19 in Mayagüez on the western coast of Puerto Rico.

With their second event, Restart Week will officially collaborate with the Municipality of Mayagüez and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez to ensure direct impact on the local and surrounding community. Similar to local impact events in San Juan, independent groups and event organizers are planning events with the local community for Restart Week West.

Impact From Restart Week San Juan:

  • Deploying caravans of volunteers around the island to help with relief efforts
  • 400 pounds of art supplies delivered to the Boys and Girls Club
  • Solar project completed for five houses
  • Pallets of food delivered to Island Corps
  • A monumental day of relief efforts that helped turn the lights on in the old San Juan Children’s Museum for the first time in four years
  • “Power to the People” benefit concert from Lottery.com that was attended by thousands of people with performance from Akon, Yandel, Lupe Fiasco, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah and more.


With this move, a more intimate Restart Week West will integrate students and innovators with focused events, mentorships, thought-leaders, and collaborations. While there will be additional activities in Rincón and Aguadilla, most of the events will take place in Mayagüez, the largest city on the Western side of the island with more than 13,000 college students and over 10 universities in the municipality.

Mayagüez is the center for technology innovation on the island with more computer science graduatesthan anywhere else in Puerto Rico, and the city ranks first for engineering, lawyers, accountants and professionals. Restart Week is working with several local startups, entrepreneurs, and companies, along with students and professors from the Entrepreneurship Network at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, to bring resources and connections to advance the innovation and growth on the Island.

The first Restart Week was a week-long series of community-driven events anchored by three major blockchain conferences and a benefit concert. The week brought together a community of locals, new residents, and passionate visitors participating in the mission to support the restart, redesign, rebuild Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

The March edition brought in an estimated 2,500 attendees and over 3,000 participants that took part in D10e, Blockchain Unbound, and CoinAgenda, community organized events like Women in Blockchain, and local charity projects. To the delight of many local businesses, the first restart event led to all hotels from San Juan to Isla Verde selling out for the first time since Hurricane Maria.

Restart Week West will kick off with the EduBlock: Restart Week Hackathon from May 11-12, bringing data enthusiasts, innovators and students together to work on initiatives driving community empowerment and social impact. By doing this, Restart Week seeks to create real solutions to help the people of Puerto Rico. A key focus for Restart Week West will be specific inter-industry collaboration in areas such as energy, agriculture, healthcare, housing and education. There will also be complementary art and design activities and snacks for the children of Mayagüez, which will take place after school from May 11-18. More events can be found on the Restart Week website with more to be added soon.

Restart Week West is partnering with the Startup Societies Summit on May 8th-10th in Washington D.C, which will bring together a consortium of actors to rebuild Puerto Rico with sustainable startup cities. The consortium, headed by policymakers, blockchain entrepreneurs, resilient infrastructure experts and other leaders in innovation, will take steps to create communities for entrepreneurial collaboration.

The Official Media Partner for Restart Week West is The Confluence: A full-service, global media agency that delivers best-in-class publicity, branding and content strategy to many of the world’s most influential brands, launches and causes.

More information on Restart Week and several related initiatives will be announced in the upcoming weeks on the Restart Week website. Those interested in volunteering or submitting an event for Restart Week West as well as anyone that wants to join the Restart effort can do so on their official website.

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UNICEF’s “Hope Page” Mines Cryptocurrency Through Visitors’ Computers

UNICEF Australia is using Coinhive — a crypto-mining service — to extract cryptocurrency through visitors’ computers and fund its ongoing mission in Bangladesh. The UN branch has long worked to provide humanitarian relief for both children and their mothers in developing nations. The organization has now created what representatives call the “Hope Page,” which allows users to donate through cryptocurrency. Read more.

Blockchain for Sustainable and Inclusive Finance

This is conference information – Blockchain for Sustainable and Inclusive Finance

There will be one day dialogue on 25th April 2018 on Blockchain for Sustainable and Inclusive Finance along with discussions on prospects for integrating the principle of sustainable development in faith-consistent financing to achieve the SDGs.

The workshop is hosted by the Responsible Finance & Investment Foundation (RFI), the Swiss-Arab Network (SAN), UN Environment (UNEP), the Bank of the Argentine Nation and European Partners for the Environment.

Continue reading “Blockchain for Sustainable and Inclusive Finance”

UN/CEFACT Conference / Workshop on Blockchain

UN/CEFACT Conference / Workshop on Blockchain

26 April 2018, at Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

The UN/CEFACT Blockchain Whitepaper Project was launched in May 2017 and currently has 75 participating experts The scope of the project is to look at:

  • How Blockchain technology could be used to facilitate trade and related business processes
  • How existing UN/CEFACT deliverables could be used by Blockchain application developers
  • Possible changes to existing UN/CEFACT deliverables, or new deliverables, that could be considered in order to support Blockchain trade-facilitation related applications.

Follow the URL for more complete description of the project.

The objective of this workshop/conference is to discuss and obtain feedback and comments from experts on the:

  • Issue of interoperability between different blockchains
  • Draft chapters for the White Paper on Blockchain and Trade Facilitation
  • Draft White Paper on Blockchain Standards

The project team and participating experts will also discuss recommendations to be made to the UN/CEFACT Bureau for subsequent follow-up activities.

Target Audience
All interested in finding out more about how Blockchain could be used to support trade (including trade in services).

To attend the conference, participants need to be register for the UN/CEFACT Forum. You are kindly requested to register online.

Download: Agenda

UNOPS Partners With the Dutch Government’s “Blockchain Pilots” to Explore Legal Dimensions of Distributed Ledger Technology

New study brings 13 authors together on a range of legal aspects of blockchain topics, including identity, data ownerships, cryptocurrencies, and its use in the UN system.

“The aim of this publication is to act as a catalyst to discuss the legal implications that blockchain has – and may have – not only in humanitarian and development work, which is our prime concern, but also on existing regulatory frameworks, data and identity more broadly,” said Yoshiyuki Yamamoto, Special Advisor on UN Engagement and Blockchain Technology at UNOPS.

The new study is set to be released this summer, with a launch event to follow in New York mid-September.

“For blockchain to reach its full potential a clear understanding of the legal implications involved is required,” said Koen Hartog, Programme Manager for Blockchain Pilots, based in The Hague.

He added: “Legal experts should be involved in all blockchain projects at the early stages, however, this is not always the case. We hope this book is a helpful introduction to blockchain for legal experts working in public administration and international organizations.”

If you are interested in placing a pre-order of the digital version of the book or the limited number of printed copies available, please register using this form.

UN World Food Program taps blockchain startup for school lunch tracking in Tunisia

The Sociable

April 4, 2018

The United Nations World Food Program is leveraging a blockchain technology startup to track school lunches in Tunisia, so that each child is fed.

The blockchain startup, Devery, is working with the UN World Food Program, along with the Tunisian Ministry of Education to implement a blockchain-based tracking system for its school meals program.

Through this three-way partnership, the initial roll out will feed 1,500 primary school kids, with the goal of ultimately rolling out to the scheme to all 400,000 Tunisian school children currently receiving food assistance. Read more.

UNOPS and Mastercard to Work Together on Innovative Ways to Finance Humanitarian Operations



A Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations was signed in New York

The transfer of funds is a necessary transaction for successful project implementation.

For UNOPS, working in some of the world’s most challenging environments, this transaction can sometimes take the form of cash payments to our suppliers, contractors and personnel.

In an effort to help speed-up funds transfers in the field, particularly in high-risk environments, Mastercard will begin research on a payment platform that could allow UNOPS to send payments to its service providers in the field digitally.

Mastercard recently tested and validated its own blockchain technology in the business-to-business space to address challenges related to speed, transparency and costs, when it comes to cross-border payments.

“Given that payment infrastructure in any given country can differ significantly, the solution must be able to work across geographies and in areas where banks – and perhaps even mobile connectivity – are not readily available,”

Yoshiyuki Yamamoto – Special Advisor for UN Engagement and Blockchain Technology for UNOPS.


Mastercard will initially focus on the digital disbursement of payments to UNOPS services providers in the field, which would then allow them to cash-out payments in local currencies.

As a second phase, the developed solution, by virtue of its ability to digitally inject funds in-country, could help provide incentives for local merchants to begin accepting digital payments.

“This new MOU underlies UNOPS commitment to efficiency and transparency,” added Mr. Yamamoto. “The work of our suppliers and contractors helps UNOPS deliver on its mission in some of the harshest environments. It’s important that we look at more innovative ways to finance these operations.”