Photo: UNRWA

UNRWA and UNICC Partnership Strengthens Common Objectives

UNRWA Consultants Grow in Number from 8 in 2020 to 50 Expert Resources Now

In June 2020, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the United Nations International Computing Centre (UNICC) signed an agreement that aims to enhance opportunities for Palestine refugees in Gaza. With this agreement, UNRWA provided ICT and other skilled support staff to UNICC, allowing UNICC to leverage UNRWA’s cost-efficient resource model and, just as importantly, support UNRWA’s mission to deliver services to over 5 million refugees in the Middle East. With this agreement, UNICC has been able to benefit from the UNRWA expert resources from web development, cloud computing and communications to data science, project management and cyber security, as follows:

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Credit: UNRWA

We are excited to partner with UNRWA since it has given us the opportunity to find very talented young individuals to join various teams across UNICC. These new colleagues are very ably supporting various teams across all of UNICC, and we in return have the privilege of seeing them thrive and grow into their roles. These Gazan colleagues get to work across the UN system through UNICC and we, as an organization, get to do our bit to directly contribute to the UN SDGs.

Sameer Chauhan, Director, UNICC

The Palestinian territories suffer from limited job creation with stubbornly high unemployment rates, hitting particularly youth and women. UNRWA’s partnership with UNICC is providing a chance for Palestine refugee youth as well as women of all ages, and it is contributing to UNRWA efforts to seed, grow and nurture talented resources among the refugee community.

UNRWA, as a UNICC Partner Organization, already subscribes to UNICC’s ICT services. This ICT services support partnership agreement brings closer collaboration between the two organizations, with ICT skills development and delivery being the new bridge for partnership. Now skilled and professional Palestinian ICT personnel at UNRWA can share their skills within the wider UN digital transformation efforts.

I believe that this is a great partnership providing livelihood opportunities in Gaza in the IT domain. This partnership allowed many young Gazans to pursue their career of choice while supporting their families. This is also a unique partnership where it shows how IT organisations evolve from being support organisations to those that directly contribute to Sustainable Development Goals.

Kaan Cetinturk, UNRWA CIO and Director of Information Management and Technology Department

From 1 June 2020 until 30 September 2021, almost a hundred skilled Palestinian professionals have had the opportunity to join UNICC in supporting the UN system. The journey started with eight people being on board and hard at work on interesting projects for UNICC Clients, with over 50 professionals working today with UNICC. 42% are female and 58% are male, also supporting the UN’s gender parity aims.

This allows UNICC to advance its own agenda on bringing more youth and women into the fold. Hani Cordiya, Head of the Information Technology Service Centre at UNRWA headquarters in Gaza, helped to forge this partnership, reporting to UNICC team leaders in Geneva, Switzerland, New York, USA and Brindisi, Italy.

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Credit: UNRWA

Collaborating with UNICC teams gives you the confidence to improve your skills and accomplish your goals. It also gives you a reason to challenge yourself and the obstacles that faced you, especially when you deliver work on time and see the Client satisfaction, with their confidence that their projects are in the right place. I am sure that becoming a member of the UNICC family was a most worthy decision.

Mai Ibaid, UI/UX Frontend Designer, UNICC
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Credit: UNRWA

Through this joint project, young, female and skilled Palestine refugees are able to contribute to the digital transformation of the UN in the digital business domain without the restrictions of geographic borders and strengthening UNICC’s capacity to deliver reliable ICT services driven by best practices.

This partnership has helped the Application Delivery team to make great strides in project start-up timelines, meeting implementation and completion deadlines, with cost-efficient and knowledgeable experts to round out our very busy App Dev team.

Venkat Venkateswaran, Head, Application Development Unit, UNICC

This partnership reflects UNICC’s substantive actions to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, especially in the areas of SDG 1 for no poverty, SDG 5 for gender equality, SDG 8 for decent work and economic growth and SDG 17 for partnerships to achieve the SDGs.

Photo: IIMM

New Partner Organization: Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar

UNICC is pleased to announce the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM), located in Geneva, has been accepted as a UNICC Partner Organization. UNICC’s Business Relationship Manager is Roberto Cruz.

About the Myanmar Mechanism

In September 2018, the UN Human Rights Council established the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar with the mandate to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law committed in Myanmar since 2011. It is further mandated to prepare files in order to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings, in national, regional or international courts or tribunals that have or may in the future have jurisdiction over these crimes.

The Human Rights Council was responding to reports, including those by the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (FFM), that reasonable grounds existed to conclude that gross human rights violations amounting to serious international crimes had been committed in Myanmar, including in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan states. The UN General Assembly subsequently welcomed the decision to create the Mechanism.

The Human Rights Council directed the Mechanism to collect information, documentation and evidence and to use those materials to prepare case files. These materials will then be shared with national, regional or international courts or tribunals to facilitate criminal proceedings. The Mechanism will share material only with authorities that credibly ensure that the information will be used in accordance with the right to fair trial before a tribunal with the capacity to protect victims and witnesses appropriately.

Furthermore, the Mechanism will comply with UN policy against sharing evidence for use in criminal proceedings in which the death penalty could be imposed or carried out.

Photo: Unsplash

UNICC’s CTO Shashank Rai Presents UN Digital ID at Hyperledger Social Impact Special Interest Group

Shashank Rai, UNICC’s Chief Technology Officer presented the UN Digital ID on 27 April at Hyperledger’s Social Impact Special Interest Group.

Hyperledger, hosted by the Linux Foundation, is an open-source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies by bringing together leaders and stakeholders in the financial, banking, IoT, supply chain, manufacturing and tech sectors. The Hyperledger effort includes working groups to direct operational aspects of the blockchain enthusiast community as well as special interest groups to support areas of activity the organization supports.

UNICC was invited to present at a Social Impact Special Interest Group session. Shashank delivered a talk on the UN Digital ID to showcase its use of cutting-edge blockchain technology to digitally transform outdated and tedious processes of handling sensitive documents across the UN system.

Digital ID is not your favorite social media or big technology company account. Digital ID brings together all attributes of your identity – social, physical and personal – that are verified by mutually trusted third parties, and which are digitally accessible only with your consent.

Shashank Rai, Chief Technology Officer, UNICC

Shashank introduced the rollout of the UN Digital ID in UNICC’s partnership with the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF), where the technology developed helps to shortens a UN beneficiary’s pension eligibility case from two months to two minutes.

The Digital Certificate of Entitlement solution, the first UN Digital ID solution in production deployment, uses Hyperledger INDY and Hyperledger ARIES technologies.

The impact of the UN Digital ID, demonstrated by the 6,000 registered beneficiaries for the UNJSPF Digital Certificate of Entitlement solution since its launch three months ago, was well received by the Hyperledger audience – many attendees and participants were impressed to see blockchain technology be implemented in an innovative and effective solution.

Shashank’s presentation illustrates UNICC’s strategic partnership with Hyperledger as well as UNICC’s position as an Associate Member of the not-for-profit for blockchain technology innovation group.

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See also the UN Digital Solutions Centre video on UN Digital ID at https://youtu.be/1sSBAWwKGiQ.