ID2020/Holmes

New User Organization: ID2020 – Digital Identity Alliance

UNICC is pleased to announce that ID2020 has been accepted as a UNICC Privileged User Organization. UNICC’s Business Relationship Manager for ID2020 is Elena Sierra. 

ID2020 is coordinating funding for identity and channeling those funds toward high-impact projects, enabling diverse stakeholders – UN Agencies, NGOs, governments and enterprises – to pursue a coordinated approach that creates a pathway for efficient and responsible implementation at scale.

Since 2016, ID2020 has advocated for ethical, privacy-protecting approaches to digital ID. In 2018, ID2020 Alliance Partners, working in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), drafted a formal articulation of our perspective on ethical approaches to digital identity. The landmark ID2020 Alliance Manifesto lays out these shared principles and forms a starting point to guide the future of digital identity globally.

About ID2020

For the one in seven people globally who lacks a means to prove their identity, digital ID offers access to vital social services and enables them to exercise their rights as citizens and voters and participate in the modern economy. But doing digital ID right means protecting civil liberties and putting control over personal data back where it belongs in the hands of the individual.

Every day, we rely on a variety of forms of identification to go about our lives: our driver’s license, passport, work badge and building access cards, debit and credit cards, transit passes, and more.

But technology is evolving at a blinding pace and many of the transactions that require identification are today being conducted digitally. From e-passports to digital wallets, online banking to social media accounts, these new forms of digital ID allow us to travel, conduct business, access financial and health records, stay connected and much more.

While the move to digital ID has had many positive effects, it has been accompanied by countless challenges and setbacks, including large-scale data breaches affecting millions of people. Most of the current tools are archaic, insecure, lack appropriate privacy protections and commoditise our data. But that’s about to change and ID 2020 is leading the charge.

The ID2020 Alliance (UNICC has been a member since 2019) includes businesses, nonprofits, governments and individuals, working in collaboration to ensure that the future of digital identity is, indeed, #goodID. 

Photo: Commonwealth Secretariat

New User Organization: Commonwealth Secretariat

UNICC is pleased to announce that the Commonwealth Secretariat has been accepted as a UNICC User Organization. UNICC’s Business Relationship Manager for the Commonwealth Secretariat is Portia Machancoses.

The Commonwealth Secretariat is an intergovernmental organisation that supports member countries to achieve the Commonwealth’s aims of development, democracy and peace.

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 independent and equal countries. Its roots go back to the British Empire, but membership of the modern Commonwealth does not depend on formerly being part of the British Empire. Members work together to promote prosperity, democracy and peace, amplify the voice of small states and protect the environment.

The Commonwealth Secretariat:

  • Is a voice for small and vulnerable states
  • Champions young people
  • Promotes justice and human rights
  • Addresses threats like climate change, debt and inequality
  • Helps grow economies and boost trade
  • Supports decision-makers to make good laws and deliver policies
  • Helps strengthen governance and build inclusive public institutions
  • Provides technical help and training
  • Sends experts and observers to countries to give impartial advice and help solve national problems
  • Provides systems, software and research for managing resources.

The establishment of the Commonwealth Secretariat in 1965 emphasised the equality of all members, and gave final discouragement to the lingering sentiment that one member had a right to some predominance over others. It has enabled the Commonwealth to develop along independent lines in accordance with the interest of all its members.  

Julius Nyerere, President of Tanzania (1973)

The Commonwealth Secretariat supports member governments and partners with the broader Commonwealth family and others, to improve the well-being of all Commonwealth citizens and advance their shared interests globally.

Photo: UNICC/Venkateswaran

Innovation Award Celebrates UNICC and IPPC Partnership for the ePhyto Project

UNICC and FAO/International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) have been collaborating on an innovative project for plant protection with an international ePhyto web hub to digitalize trade facilitation. The system is rolling out to countries worldwide now, and UNICC is pleased to announce the project has received a trade facilitation innovation award at the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2019, 17-18 September 2019, in New Delhi, India. The award was for piloting and implementation of the Generic e-Phyto National System (GeNS) in Samoa and Sri Lanka.

The innovation award recognizes the work of IPPC and UNICC in delivering the ePhyto hub, providing tools and opportunities to realize UN Sustainable Development Goals. There is strong interest in the Asia-Pacific for further country participation and implementation.

IPPC’s Secretariat Craig Fedchock, who was also the e-Phyto project leader, enlisted the expertise of UNICC’s Venkat Venkatswaran, Chief of Application Delivery, as the e-Phyto project manager. Together, their work helped develop and operate a centralized hub to facilitate the exchange of plant certificates through a protected, web-based system. This e-Phyto application will help standardize plant trade certificates, as well as prevent the submission of fraudulent certificates for unfit and unsafe plants.

The partnership of UNICC and IPPC successfully delivered an innovative solution for developing countries to ensure plant safety and protection, as they move across borders. Electronic phyto-sanitary certificates, in place of paper certificates, ensure safe standards in the arrival and clearance of plants. Trade suffers when ePhyto certificates do not utilize a harmonized e-business standard. IPPC and UNICC, through their collaboration on a Generic e-Phyto National Systems (GeNS) for plant trade certificates, have delivered a progressive and tangible solution to an on-going issue for plant trade. See the presentation shared at the forum here.

For more information about the IPPC ePhyto project and how a national plant protection organization can participate, visit https://www.ephytoexchange.org/

The Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum is the leading regional platform for the exchange of information, experiences and practice on trade facilitation. The APTFF has been organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and a growing number of partners since 2009, including UNCTAD, WCO and WTO. It is held biennially and attracts more than 250 participants from 30 countries.

Photo: UNICC

Leading Social Impact through Innovation and Partnership Event at Microsoft

A Microsoft United Nations General Assembly Side Event with UNDP, UNICEF, World Bank and others…

Microsoft hosted a UN General Assembly side event called Leading Social Impact through innovation and Partnership at the Microsoft Technology Centre, 11 Times Square on Wednesday 25 September from 6:00-9:00 pm.  Anish, Paolo, Lyle, Ender, Philippe, Tom, Barto, Lei Ming, Bill and Maria from UNICC attended the evening meeting with Microsoft and other colleagues from UNDP and UNICEF.

The key question of the evening was: How can we  harness the power of technology to empower a sustainable future and enable the achievement of the SDGs?

The event highlighted examples of digital innovation to advance lasting solutions to spark economic opportunity, social inclusion and drive progress. Alex Pinho, Justin Spelhaug of Microsoft’s Tech for Impact Group and Kate Behncken of Microsoft Philanthropies guided the evening that showed concrete examples of private-public partnerships to make a difference.

Microsoft wants to bring the power of technology to every United Nations organization to accelerate social impact around the world, from the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya to the 450,000 Syrian children refugees in Turkey today.

It’s great to have the technology, but you can’t use it if you don’t have the skills.

A new blueprint is needed for corporate responsibility today.

Justin Spelhaug

Technology is more relevant and accessible than never before. 20 years ago there were 10 people in the room having this discussion. Today there are more than 100.

Microsoft has moved from a focus on upgrades and patches to PCs to being full members in delivery of the SDGs.

Technology can change the world, but no organization can do this alone.

Kate Behncken

Speakers included:

Marcos Neto, Director of the Finance Sector Hub, UNDP

There are so many business opportunities to unlock in the SDGs… It is not easy for corporations to change, but at UNDP we want to help them redirect the flow of money towards the SDGs.

We are trying to use digital transformation to solve development problems, but half the world’s population have no internet.

There are two inter-related concepts that are important for UNDP’s Digital Strategy: Digitization and Digitalization. Digitization is the process of converting physical information into digital formats. It is commonly-driven by technologies that focus on enhancing efficiency by automation of existing processes.

Digitalization is the use of digital technologies to change an organization’s business model, including creating new or improved ways of delivering services, and improving the quality of what is delivered. See Digital Strategy website and document

UNICEF, UNHCR, Microsoft and more empowering displaced children with digital skills  Photo: UNICC/Thomsen

Mustafa Osman Turan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and next Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh

You need partnerships because the problems are so complex. Investors, private companies, philanthropists, governments, non-profits… we all have to work together.

The SDG Impact Accelerator (SDGia) is a global accelerator built by a multi stakeholder platform focusing on empowering “systems entrepreneurs” and innovators who are providing impact at scale. This Turkish funding mechanism is working with UNDP, WFP, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as other private and public organizations in Turkey and around the globe.

The key mission is to help with basic services access and clean water through equity free cash, mentoring, field visits, networking, impact capital and strategic partnerships. See SDG Impact Accelerator 2020

Turkish diplomat Mustafa Osman Turan emphasising the need of partnerships to solve the SDGs  Photo: UNICC/Thomsen

Zachary Carmichael, with the Famine Action Mechanism (or FAM) from the World Bank

Analysing data in  new and innovative ways has allowed us to quantify the structural drivers causing famine. With AI-driven technology we can forecast these events. We don’t need to wait for the worse, we can start mobilizing resources earlier.

We don’t need to wait. Using early warnings we can start mobilizing resources. Intervening earlier makes the difference between life and death.

For prevention and risk management to address fragility, conflict and violence around famine. See FAM website

Data analysis allows to forecast famine events and mobilize resources at an earlier stage to save lives Photo: UNICC/Thomsen

George Peradze, Chief, Administrative Division, UNDP

We can get rid of paper processes with automation. We can save lives by changing our own behavior on the road through a monitoring device.

Smart asset management and lean vehicles. Joint project with Microsoft on UNDP Vehicle Tracking.

The goal of the project is to digitize and digitalize assets and processes and control costs, replacing old manuals and log books with a tracking and monitoring tools to optimize all vehicle use, helping improve road safety.

UNDP is replacing old manuals and log books with automation tools to manage its fleet  Photo: UNICC/Thomsen

Daniel Couture, CIO, UNICEF (and Chair, UNICC Management Committee)

We need to respond to threats in a more integrated way. We are dealing with financial information from beneficiaries and supporters, with information regarding children. We need to act responsibly. We need to increase awareness, from threat management to threat prevention.

UNICEF is working with Microsoft (including Azure Sentinel) for improved enterprise platform security with increased awareness, intelligence, information and integration across UNICEF information and system platforms to share data and visualize it to improve the risk and mitigate threats to the organization’s security posture.

Couture underscored the point to scale up, utilising AI and other sophisticated technologies to protect the right to privacy for UNICEF staff and the women and children they serve.

Microsoft’s partnership allows for better planning around the software-as-a-service modalities, the complex business systems and the increasingly sensitive data (beneficiary data) in a world of shifting attack paradigms with better threat prediction. This includes revisiting the UNICEF approach to operational security.

UNICEF can achieve this though:

  • Awareness
  • Increased detection and response capabilities
  • Process optimization
  • Automated threat response
  • Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
  • ‘Connectors’ of applications including queries notebooks and run-books for threats
  • Integration of traffic of information into a single dashboard

Couture emphasized the need to scale up to best protect financial information from beneficiaries and supporters, with information regarding children – acting responsibly and increasing awareness.

UNICEF CIO Daniel Couture  Photo: UNICC/Allen