The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
Symposium sur la technologie de la chaîne de blocs
Closing remarks by Grete Faremo, Under Secretary General and Executive Director of UNOPS at the Blockchain Symposium
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My name is Grete Faremo. I lead the UN Office for Project Services – or UNOPS. We are a
self-financed organization within the larger UN family.
We are unique in that we are focused on implementation. We do not hold an advocacy mandate.
Rather, we help our sister agencies implement their projects and programmes around the world.
While we are a UN entity and as such guided by UN fundamental norms and values, in practice we
run pretty much according to private sector commercial standards.
Few years ago, in our continued efforts to be in the lead when it comes applying new technologies,
we decided to devout resources to the phenomenon of Blockchain, what will it mean for us and other
parts of the UN.
Since we have become a leading agency on Blockchain here at the UN, running a network of
interested agencies and individuals in the UN. This spring we ran webinar on Blockchain with 500
participants from 30 different agencies.
We thought of Blockchain as method of safe and secure financial transactions. The UN moved funds,
pays bills and procures services for billions of dollars each year. A small percentage gain in efficiency
will free large funds for other purposes than paying for financial transactions.
Blockchain is as you know, not only applicable to finance, but for data security more generally. One
great example is how UNOPS partnered with World Identity Network and UN Office for Information
and Communications Technology (OICT) to seek blockchain-based identity system to provide a
solution for human trafficking in Moldova.
Global Challenge for Blockchain 4 Humanity was posted on the UN Unite Ideas platform in Nov. 2018,
and winners were announced in March 2018.
A major traditional donor has expressed profound interest in this concept. And we are proud to be
part of such important progress.
While the finance sector is predominantly preoccupied with this technology, such identity services
may also have positive implications. In particular it it will ease the acquisition and registration of
property rights and other rights for people who cannot otherwise document their identity.
A title to land has been a development challenge always. Now, the solution can be in sight and we
are part of it and proud of it.
It is imperative that we have a full understanding of the implications that the fourth industrial
revolution can have on an international community in humanitarian and development contexts.
We have heard today about strengths and weaknesses, challenges and opportunities.
We see that it is ever more important that both governments and international actors play a more
active role in technological development.
Public administration isn’t simply a passive consumer of blockchain technology, but a full participant
in creating a digital society that works for humanity as one, without deepening economic divides.
The book presented today is a testament to the linkages between our work. Both technologists and
humanitarians share a common vision of a world transformed.
One with increased equality, one that is sustainable, and one that works to protect people and