Photo: Esglobal

UNICC’s Director Brings UN Perspective to a Debate on Technology and the SDGs

Digital Solutions at the Service of Multilateralism: New Tools for the Agenda 2030, Human Rights and Peace

The United Nations is celebrating its 75th anniversary and around the world, UN organizations, Member States and civil society are commemorating this achievement. 

On 22 October, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation and the digital media platform Esglobal organised a debate on ‘Technology at the Service of Multilateralism: New Tools for the Agenda 2030, Human Rights and Peace.’

Across the system, whether it is health, women’s rights, children, peacekeeping or refugees, every single UN Agency needs to be much more innovative now, use technology effectively and make sure we are consistent in how we build solutions that have to scale to avoid duplication.

Sameer Chauhan, Director, UNICC

UNICC’s Director Sameer Chauhan was invited as a panellist, together with Daniel Couture, Chief Information Officer of UNICEF; Cristina Gallach, Spanish Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and for Ibero-America and the Caribbean; Nuria Simó, CIO and General Manager of the Department of Information Technology at the Inter-American Development Bank; Salem Avan,  UN’s Director of Strategy, Policy and Governance Division and Raquel Jorge, Fulbright fellow at the Elliot School of International Affairs . The debate was moderated by Cristina Manzano, Director of Esglobal.  

All participants shared thoughts, practices and experiences on how to promote the use of new technologies to achieve the SDGs. As Director of UNICC, the UN organization that develops and provides shared digital business solutions to the UN family, Sameer had a unique insight into current needs and acceleration trends in technology adoption across the system.

Applying technology to any of the SDGs leads to a multiplying effect. Technology and the success of the 2030 Agenda are absolutely linked. 

Cristina Gallach

Every UN Agency is exploring how to better deliver on their missions and mandates, working more digitally and more effectively to produce measurable results. Sameer stressed the importance of data. Good data collection and analysis can help to make the smart decisions and determine where to direct resources. 

Technology is instrumental to understand where we are, to measure our current state, to predict and understand what will happen going forward and how what we do today impact our effectiveness with respect to the SDGs. 

Salem Avan, UN’s Director of Strategy, Policy and Governance Division

The conversation moved into the topic of diversity, a key aspect to counteract the inequalities in access to technology and a crucial element to take into account when developing innovative technologies in a multilateral system. 

Panellists also talked about the role of the private sector in supporting the UN’s endeavours to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sameer explained UNICC’s capacity to collect digital business requirements across the UN system, consolidate and bring them to the private sector, as it has already done with some of the biggest tech companies, such as Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, ServiceNow and UiPath for Robotic Process Automation.

We have seen three years of growth in just three months. When COVID-19 hit, we realized immediately that everyone needed to adopt digital processes while keeping face-to-face levels of trust, and ensure staff acquired the necessary digital skills.

Sameer Chauhan, Director, UNICC

This debate is just one of many events organised by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation in collaboration with several partners to commemorate the UN’s 75th anniversary. The next roundtable will be on 25 November about the future of the UN in a globalised world.

Photo: UNICC

106th Management Committee Meeting Highlights UNICC’s Role in the UN’s Accelerating Digital Adoption

Partner Organizations Approve Four New UNICC Services 

UNICC’s Management Committee (MC), the organization’s governance body, met fully virtually on Monday 19 and Wednesday 21 October 2020 for the second session of 2020. 

The MC, comprised of representatives from forty Partner Organizations, shares responsibility with UNICC’s Director for key decisions, providing guidance for the organization’s strategic direction and approving the Centre’s budget, financial reports and services rates.

On the first day, the sessions covered statutory business, presented new service offerings and shared recent audit certifications. UNICC’s Director Sameer Chauhan followed with the Director’s Update, highlighting some of the successes of the organization over the past six months and discussing some upcoming near-term initiatives.

An interactive discussion on technology trends and UN needs, including services and solutions like secure chat, multi-cloud connect and a UN private cloud, was the focus of the second day. 

Participants also had the opportunity to hear from two new senior management staff. UNICC’s Chief of Digital Solutions, Ninna Roco, who is also part of the UNICC Transformation Team shared the organization’s digital business solutions offerings and how they are helping various partners in their digital transformation. 

UNICC’s Chief of Data and Analytics, Anusha Dandapani, presented the new Data and Analytics programme, with an emphasis on advanced analytics and machine learning, aligned to the Data Strategy of the Secretary General’s Strategy for Action by Everyone, Everywhere.

UNICC’s Unique Value Proposition for Digital Solutions. Credit: UNICC
Data and Analytics services snapshots. Credit: UNICC

Four New Services Added to UNICC’s Service Catalogue

On the first day of the meeting, the Management Committee also approved four new services that were added to UNICC’s service catalogue of more than forty service areas, available to all Clients and Partners. The new services include:

  • ServiceNow Enterprise Service Management Shared Platform – Includes design, development, deployment and operations. Configured to best match business context for UNICC Clients, through a proven partnership with ServiceNow. 
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) Affiliates Enterprise Support Services – Allows Clients with either a direct agreement or through UNICC to receive AWS Enterprise Support in a shared model, splitting costs for the highest level of support at the lowest cost.
  • Secure AuthN Service –  Supports inter-organizational authentication to applications and platforms. This service allows organizations to link their Active Directory to AuthN to then register as many apps as they wish to use for authentication, with no compromises on security. 
  • Electronic Signature Services – integrates DocuSign electronic signature services into corporate processes to increase efficiency by automating signature workflows, eliminating errors and risk by integrating the service into systems of record. 

Ad Hoc Session on Cyber Security 

The Management Committee met again on Tuesday 27 October for a two-hour, ad-hoc session on Cyber Security, as requested by the Partners during April’s 105th Management Committee. The session was widely attended by Chief Information Officers (CIOs) as well as invited Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) of Partner Organizations. 

UNICC presented two proposals, both of which were adopted by the Management Committee:

  • Partner Organizations agree to share all timely threat intelligence with UNICC. UNICC to leverage the Common Secure Threat Intel Network service to distribute this threat intelligence across the entire UN System.
  • Vulnerability Management timelines for security and application patching in a timely and standardized fashion.

The Management Committee meeting highlighted UNICC’s role in the UN’s accelerating digital adoption and its continued support for Clients and Partner Organizations during the new work paradigms of the COVID pandemic. 

It featured updates from UNICC’s Executive Committee and UNICC Transformation Team attesting to the state of good health and innovative plans for the future as UNICC celebrates its fiftieth birthday in January 2021.