On July 12th, the United Nations (UN) news revealed a ‘High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation’ with blockchain technology at its centre, according to the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.
The panel is a first of its kind, including 20 eminent individuals in the industry, the civil society and academia tackling the impact of digital technologies on the world economy and societies. In Guterres’ words – the impact is on an “unprecedented scale” and “warp speed”.
The new body is represented by Ambassador Amandeep Gill on behalf of the UN Secretariat, Executive Director and co-chair. Gill said –
“You cannot look as ‘web 3.0 without looking at blockchain or without looking at AI (Artificial Intelligence)…our hope is that through discussion of these various digital domains […] in terms of human rights, in terms of privacy, in terms of subversion of democracy, we are able to come out with some common principles…of strengthening cooperation across borders.”
The opportunities, risks and unintended consequence of the current digital transformation are emphasized. There is mounting concern about cyber-attacks and the recent suspected election-tampering. The panel’s ‘cross-cutting’ approach to new technologies like blockchain technology and AI is expected to maximize the impact of the technologies over the course of a nine-month mandate.
Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is also revealed as a co-chair of the panel. Ma recently said – “the impact of blockchain on the future of humans may be far beyond our imagination.” MA’s co-chairmanship on the UN panel will have a positive effect on the global dissemination of the technology.
The UN has also been exploring the humanitarian aspect of blockchain technology. One of the cases where blockchain technology will make huge advancements is in the use of the technology to transfer coupons based on digital currency to refugees in Syria.
A new, UN piloted blockchain technology-based system is the digital identity system developed to fight child trafficking worldwide.
In April, the Belgian government made a contribution of €2 mln to help design the blockchain project, the ‘World Food Programme (WFP)’, which will be used by the UN to eradicate hunger in impoverished areas of the world.
The impact of blockchain technology on different sectors, including charity and donations, is phenomenal. The technology is being used to track the supply of vital items to impoverished areas. Blockchain technology provides a level of transparency that hasn’t been possible before.