Photo: UN Photo/Cia Pak

UNICC Partner Representatives Discuss the Organization’s Strategic Direction at 108th Management Committee Meeting

Partners Approve New Cyber Security Resilience Maturity Assessment Service

UNICC’s Management Committee (MC), the organization’s governance body comprised of representatives from 41 Partner Organizations, met fully virtually 13 and 14 October for the 108th MC meeting, the second of 2021. Fabrice Boudou, new MC Chair and Director of IT Solutions Division at WTO, chaired the meeting together with Vice Chair Anthony O’Mullane, Director, Information and Communications Technology Division (ICTD), Department of Field Support, United Nations.

On the first day, the sessions covered statutory business. UNICC Director Sameer Chauhan presented the Director’s Update with news on UNICC’s ongoing digital transformation as well as updates on a range of areas, including operations, network and cybersecurity, business, finance and more.

Three new Clients were presented: the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM), UNDP India and UNDP Nigeria; as well as two new user organizations: the Commonwealth Secretariat and ID2020.

Statutory business covered updates on audits and compliance. Since the 107th MC meeting, UNICC has received the ISO/IEC 22301:2019 certification for Security and Resilience – Business Continuity Management Systems – Requirements.

UNICC’s Director informed attendees about the progress on the following professional services areas:

  • Digital solutions such as Remote Simultaneous Interpretation (RSI) services for hybrid and virtual conferences
  • Data and Analytics with a focus on Data Hub as a Service and Data Governance Framework efforts
  • Hyperautomation
  • UNICC adopting Agile methodologies for project and programme management
  • Shared digital solutions including the UN Digital ID, the Joint Sanctions Screening Solution, the UN Partner Portal, etc.

The RSI team is doing a great job! We are using their services regularly and are very happy with the professional support.

Christopher O’Connor, Chief, Information Management and Technology, OHCHR

The Management Committee received an update on how the organization is dealing with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, including working from home regulations and office staff thresholds, the continued use of the UNICC Crisis Communications App to manage staff location and the resources made available to the organization’s workforce to improve their wellbeing.

Sameer Chauhan followed with updates on the topics of greening UNICC, where indicators are being identified; gender balance efforts with the implementation of a Gender Parity Strategy to reach gender balance by the end of 2028; outreach opportunities including the visit of the Secretary-General to Valencia in July and the publication of the 2020 Director’s Report.

UNICC is launching its collaboration with UN Environment Programme’s Greening the Blue. We make a commitment to measure and improve our carbon footprint. We expect to be carbon neutral as of 2020 and will continue our aim to becoming greener. Green IT does not have to be an oxymoron.

Sameer Chauhan, Director, UNICC

After the Director’s Update, UNICC’s Head of Business Control Unit Yannis Arfaras shared updates on the financial state of the organization. His presentation was followed by the first report of the UNICC MC Audit Sub-Group represented by three Partner Organization representatives.

Chief of Cyber Security Section Tima Soni concluded the first day by presenting a new service: Cyber Security Resilience Maturity Assessment, which was well received and which rate was approved by MC representatives. Partners noted that this new service will enable the development of a UN-only benchmark for Cyber Security Resilience Maturity, especially valuable to smaller Clients and Partner Organizations.

Photos: UNICC

On the second day, MC representatives participated in a discussion around three topics. First, a ‘mezzanine view’ from the UNICC Director: a review of current technology trends, shared concerns and collective digital business opportunities for the UN system with his engagement with UNICC’s 70+ Clients and Partner Organizations.

Secondly, Chauhan presented the prospective ‘UN Community Cloud,’ a container-based cloud solution that will run UNICC’s flagship products. The UN Community Cloud is a logical and natural progression of the current hosting services offered by UNICC. It will offer a mission-critical, sensitive and scalable solution that may benefit the entire UN system in their scale-up and efforts to go digital securely and effectively.

The meeting ended with a discussion on how there is now clear guidance available from the UN Secretariat that ­UNICC is a full partner and not a vendor. These details were much appreciated by other Partner Organizations, who had explicitly asked for this to be discussed.

The Agenda had included a presentation by Chief of Data and Analytics Anusha Dandapani and a follow-up discussion on data and analytics. Due to lack of time, this item was tabled to be addressed either at an ad-hoc Management Committee meeting or at the 109th MC in Spring 2022.

UNICC 107th Management Committee UN Geneva

UNICC 107th Management Committee Celebrates Earth Day and Girls in ICT Day with Briefings on Sustainability and Diversity Efforts

UNICC Updates Partners on Key Developments in Operations, Cyber Security, Finance, Business, Audits and Digital Transformation Areas

UNICC’s Management Committee (MC), the organization’s governance body, met virtually on Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 April for the 107th session and the first of 2021. The MC is comprised of representatives from over 40 Partner Organizations and meets twice every year. This body 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 service rates.

On Wednesday, the session covered statutory business, highlighting some of the key developments in the organization over the past six months, since the 106th Management Committee meeting. UNICC’s Director Sameer Chauhan informed attendees about the progress of several workstreams of the organization’s ongoing digital transformation and provided updates in the areas of operations, cyber security, finance, business and audits.

Growth was the watchword of the day, with a healthy financial outlook, new partners, an upcoming pipeline of projects and innovative technology services to support the needs of UNICC’s Clients and Partner Organizations. ‘We are listening’ and ‘we are responsive’ have been the organization’s refrain. To answer the question of how to maintain this organization’s growth, the answer was a resounding: Listen, anticipate needs of Clients and stay relevant.

On the second day of the 107th Management Committee, UNICC shared near-term initiatives and discussed with its Partners forward-looking digital trends where UNICC can add value. 

I thank all UNICC’s Partners for the active, interesting and positive board meeting and the healthy discussion about the opportunities and challenges with technology the UN system is facing.

Sameer Chauhan, Director, UNICC

One of the conversations focused on supporting hybrid conferencing events involving governing bodies and a second was related to the monitoring of accounts receivable, both topics proposed by MC members. The two other topics on the second day’s agenda were brought forward by UNICC. 

Coinciding with ITU’s International Girls in ICT Day, one of the sessions revolved around how to ensure UNICC has a diverse workforce. Partners were briefed on current initiatives for gender, diversity and inclusiveness in the digital business field, including HR gender balance efforts targeted at achieving UNICC’s goal to reach complete gender parity by 2028. 

Greening UNICC Initiatives

Thursday was Earth Day and UNICC celebrated this international milestone by sharing ongoing efforts to make UNICC a more sustainable organization. Milena Grecuccio, Chief of Staff and Chief of Corporate Services (OIC), and Marco Liuzzi, Chief, Operations Officer, explained that UNICC is currently concentrating its attention on green data centres and workspaces, where significant progress has already been made. The organization is establishing new goals for mapping a way forward.

In addition, UNICC has recently joined the UNEP Greening the Blue initiative with a staff focal point who will work with experts to collect data and define and report on UNICC’s environmental metrics as part of the Greening the Blue system.

The discussion on sustainability was well-received; UNICC will continue to brief Partners on this topic in the coming meetings.

MC Appoints New Chair

During the 107th Management Committee meeting, the MC members appointed a new Chair to serve during the next year. The incoming Chair, Fabrice Boudou, Director of IT Solutions Division at WTO, will steer the committee with continuing Vice Chair Anthony O’Mullane, Director of Operations Support Division at UN OICT. UNICC thanks the entire Management Committee and especially the outgoing Chair Enrica Porcari for her excellence guidance and steer, and extends a warm welcome to the incoming Chair Fabrice Boudou. 

Thank you UNICC for the work you do to be a true technology partner to all UN Agencies. It has been an honour to serve as Chair of the Management Committee.

Enrica Porcari, CIO and Director of Technology, WFP and outgoing Chair of the UNICC Management Committee

I am extremely excited for the months ahead and the opportunity to be part of the UNICC adventure alongside Sameer and the team. There is a need for more digital transformation in the UN to succeed in a digital world, and our organizations need UNICC for this.

Fabrice Boudou, Director of IT Solutions Division, WTO and Chair of the UNICC Management Committee

The UNICC Management Committee will meet again in the Fall for the second session of 2021. 

Screenshot of UNICC's 107th Management Committee Meeting
Photo: UNICC
Common Secure Conference Follow-up Days
Photo: Unsplash

Common Secure Conference Follow-up Days

The successful Common Secure Conference of November 2020 resulted in a number of action points and areas of interest that led to follow-up sessions held virtually 2 and 3 February 2021, with wide participation from Common Secure Threat Intel Network service subscribers as well as some esteemed United Nations guests.

The first day began with a welcome by Tima Soni, Chief, Cyber Security Section, UNICC, a presentation session from UNDP and two roundtable discussions, including Jorge Flores Callejas, Inspector, UN Joint Inspection Unit  and UNODC as guests.

The second day began with UNICC presentations from Monica Price, UNICC Cyber Security Awareness Consultant and Tom Buelens, Information Security Specialist, ending in a round table discussion focused on “responsible vulnerability disclosure,” with very active participation of attendees from different Agencies (and Common Secure subscribers).

Common Secure subscribers attending included ADB, CTBTO, FAO, IDB, IAEA, ICJ-CIJ, IFAD, ILO, ITU, OECD, OHCHR, PAHO, UNCTAD, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICC, UNICEF, UNIDO, UN OIM, UNRWA, WFP, WHO, WIPO and WTO, plus the UN Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) and UNODC.

Agenda

Day One

  • Virtual Common Secure 2020 Conference Follow-up – Presenter Tima Soni, Chief, Cyber Security Section, UNICC
  • Practical Cyber Threat Intelligence: How to Apply the Diamond Model to Detect and Counteract Threat Actors in the Cloud – Presenter: Oleksiy Kuzmenko, Deputy CISO, UNDP
  • Possibilities of State Parties’ Support in the Process of Reaction to Cross-border Cyber Incidents Affecting UN and Related Partners Organizations – Roundtable Discussion with Guest of Honor: Jorge Flores Callejas, Inspector, UN Joint Inspection Unit (JIU)
  • Privacy as a Challenge in a Risk Assessments Process relying on OSINT, including SOCMINT, and CSINT – Roundtable Discussion.

Day Two

  • Security Awareness Services from UNICC – Presenter: Monica Price, Cyber Security Awareness Consultant, UNICC
  • Comparative Analysis of Password Managers – Presenter: Tom Buelens, Information Security Specialist, UNICC
  • Responsible Vulnerability Disclosure – Roundtable Discussion.

Further Common Secure Conference follow-up sessions. Thanks also to the over 100 participants from 30 Agency subscribers who attended more follow-up sessions on 26-27 April 2021, including guests from the European Investment Bank and European Bank for Research and Development.

Common Secure members found the follow-up conference valuable and a testament to a growing and solid network of collaborators to keep the entire UN family safe.