Humanitarian Blockchain Summit – Dec 7, 2018

December 7, 2018

The Humanitarian Blockchain Summit will bring together technology experts, scholars, and humanitarian practitioners 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 focused on overcoming challenges to using blockchain, as well as identifying the best ways to develop humanitarian-friendly blockchain platforms, among other topics. The sessions also include collaborative exercises and presentations about how some organizations use blockchain.


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


  • Sharing lessons learned and experiences emerging from the early days of implementation of blockchains initiatives for humanitarian action;
  • Increasing awareness about the variety of platforms and protocols currently being implemented, and their unique specificities;
  • Exploring the ethical adoption of humanitarian blockchains solutions in response to technical, legal, and governance challenges facing the humanitarian sector;
  • Bringing together experts from across sectors to foster new partnerships, encourage technical collaboration, and explore non-traditional funding sources;
  • Curating existing open-source tools used in humanitarian blockchains services; and
  • Building a digital community of developers interested in impacting humanitarian action.

Keynote speaker:

Rebecca Curzon, Senior Program Manager, Disaster Relief & Resilience, IBM Corporate Citizenship
Ambassador Dr. Toshiya Hoshino, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, Co-chair of the multi-stakeholder forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs.


Come to learn from experts from:
and more!
Core Partners




For media inquiries:  contact Kaitlyn Lyngaas, IIHA Communications Office

To partner with us: contact Giulio Coppi or Aiden Slavin, IIHA Innovation Fellows




Blockchain Symposium in NY on Sep 26, 2018

Date: Sep 26, 2018

Time: 12:00 – 18:30


The Reactor lounge, the 4th floor,

Company (formerly Grand Central Tech),

335 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017



A year-long process of co-production of the book ‘Legal Aspects of Blockchain’ by the Netherland Blockchain Pilots and UNOPS has been now completing. The Netherlands Consulate, and UNOPS would like to invite you to the Blockchain Symposium for the book launch on September 26, 2018 as below.

Many of authors of the book and experts in the thematic areas such as financial services, identity, and land registration from startups, academics and international organizations will be present to discuss the latest practices. Among others, speakers include; Ms. Yoka Brandt (Vice-minister of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands), Ms. Grete Faremo (Executive Director / Under-Secretary General, UNOPS), Ms. Jelena Madir (Director, Chief Counsel, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), Dr. Mariana Dahan (CEO, World Identity Network), Mr. Michael J. Casey (Senior Advisor, Digital Currency Initiative, MIT Media Lab). Please see attached for more details of the program.

ConsenSys and UNOPS’s first iteration of the interactive web-based mapping of blockchain on SDGs will be also presented.

You can also pick up your copy of the book at the venue of the symposium.

Since the capacity of the venue is limited, it would be grateful if you could fill the registration form for Sep 26 if you plan to attend it.

Agenda is available here.

High-Level Political Forum 2018 – Side Event: Blockchain for Transformation towards Sustainable and Resilient Societies

High-Level Political Forum 2018 – Side Event: Blockchain for Transformation towards Sustainable and Resilient Societies

11 July 2018

UNOPS, New York

The United Nations 2030 Agenda emphasizes the role that innovation plays in support of sustainable development. An important emerging innovation that has been in the news recently is blockchain / distributed ledger technology.

Originally, the blockchain’s primary use of blockchain technology was to store and track cryptocurrency transactions (e.g. Bitcoin). However, other uses and implementations have emerged in recent years. Some of these can be used to advance the implementation and monitoring of the SDGs for example by reducing food waste (SDG 12.3), supporting sustainable production by ensuring that products or production inputs are sustainably sourced, encouraging companies to adopt sustainable practices and integrate sustainability information into their products, and ensuring consumers have relevant information for sustainable lifestyles (SDGs 12.6 and 12.7); and providing legal identities and financial services to refugees and the very poor (SDG 2).

Blockchain can be a powerful lever to bring together all the stakeholders involved in value chains and those regulating them: producers, intermediaries, the final consumer – and governments. But value chains are international, and the loops can only be closed in an efficient manner if stakeholders, including governments, cooperate and coordinate across borders.

Target Audience
This roundtable aims at creating a discussion between policy makers, as well as with the private sector, international organizations, major groups and other relevant stakeholders involved in developing innovative solutions based upon blockchain/distributed ledger technology and partnership approach.

This Side Event will take place during the High Level Political Forum 2018. All participants must register on-line to attend the event.

The objective of this session is to:

  • Provide a mutual learning space where policymakers can interact with their peers and other relevant stakeholders on the potential applications of blockchain technology and lessons learned from existing applications.
  • Advance the implementation and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals, with a particular focus on the transformations enabled by Blockchain towards sustainable and resilient Societies.
  • Promote global multi-stakeholder partnerships to contribute to advancing the application of blockchain / distributed ledger technology for the implementation and monitoring of the SDGs.
  • Showcase how innovative startups and young entrepreneurs are developing solutions based on blockchain / distributed ledger technology to solve issues related to the SDGs targets under review by the HLPF.


13:00 – 13:30 – Speakers

  • Ms. Maria Ceccarelli, Chief, Trade Facilitation Section, UNECE
  • Mr. Yoshiyuki Yamamoto, Special Advisor, UN Engagement and Blockchain, UNOPS
  • HE Tadej Slapnik, State Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister, Slovenia
  • Mr. Ad Kroft, Chair, National Blockchain Coalition, The Netherlands
  • Ms. Vanessa Grellet, Executive Director ConsenSys
  • Mr. Gregor Novak, CEO SunContract

13:30 – 14:00 – Panel Discussion – Moderated by UNECE

14:00 – 14:30 – Open Discussion


United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
708 3rd Avenue, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10017 USA


Downloadable Brochure is here.

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



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


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

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.

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.


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.


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.


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:


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 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.


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.


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:


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:

Software and hardware is licensed under a GNU General Public License Version 3 as published by the Free Software Foundation here: or another license approved by the Open Source Initiative, see:

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.


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


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 :