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.

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.

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

UNOPS

3/21/2018

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.”

ConsenSys Wins #Blockchain4Humanity Challenge for Designing Blockchain-Based Identification System to Help End Child Trafficking in Republic of Moldova

UN PRESS RELEASE

PI/2224
15 MARCH 2018

NEW YORK, 15 March 2018 (Office of Information and Communications Technology) — The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the United Nations Department of Management’s Office of Information and Communications Technology announced today that the Blockchain for Social Impact team of ConsenSys has won the Unite Ideas “Blockchain for Humanity” challenge, launched by the World Identity Network, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and the United Nations Office of Information and Communications Technology. Read more.

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

UNOPS NY Office Happy Hour

Date: May 24, 2017 (Wednesday)

Time: 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Address: 708 3rd Ave. 14th Floor, New York

(The entrance is on 44th Street between Lex and 3rd Ave.)

 

We accept cash(USD) or Bitcoin for the purchase of drink !

We need to register your name with the building management for the security purpose. Please fill the following form in advance: https://goo.gl/forms/ZG0FWimwGvUyvkeh1

 

UNOPS – New York Personnel Association

 

How Blockchain Could Finally Unite the United Nations

United Nations image via Shutterstock

(@DelRayMan)
9 May 2017 CoinDesk

 

The United Nations is a Swiss army knife of humanitarian aid.

When catastrophe strikes, dozens of agencies within the organization, founded in the aftermath of World War II, lay in wait in offices around the world, each with their own specialized role to alleviate suffering and establish peace.

But with billions of dollars at their disposal and organizational mandates that often overlap, keeping track of who needs what, and getting it to them quickly, is just part of the challenge.

Crucial to ensuring continued support, the agencies must also be able to prove that the taxpayer money donated by its 193 member nations actually accomplished its intended goals – a historically difficult balancing act.

One man, who has spent the last 25 years helping conduct this symphony of services, thinks that much of the difficulty can be alleviated by moving both the dispersal of aid and the internal operations of the UN itself to a blockchain. Read more.