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UN Women Explores Blockchain Solutions




A cutting-edge simulation laboratory held by the United Nations in order to explore how blockchain technology can help empower women who participate in a spectrum of humanitarian activities is underway.

Running from January 29-February 1, 2018, UN Women – the United Nations organization that fights gender inequality and is dedicated to empowering women and girls the world over – is hosting a four-day simulation lab at the UN headquarters in New York City to help accomplish just that.

UN Women partnered with Innovation Norway nearly a year ago to further women's empowerment, and is using their joint findings to create an environment that "stylistically simulates the reality experienced by women and girls in humanitarian contexts," as well as solve problems using blockchain technology, like Ethereum. 

The stated goal of the event, which is being called "Blockchain Live Test and Simulation: Solutions for Women and Girls in Humanitarian Settings," is to enable "UN Women to explore, in collaboration with the private sector, cutting-edge solutions that hold potential for closing gender gaps in humanitarian action." 

In addition to encouraging increased collaboration between UN Women and the private sector, the lab will feature a variety of vendors vying to impress UN officials with simulations of their blockchain-specific solutions.

Dr. Caroline Rusten, chief of humanitarian action and crisis response for UN Women, told ETHNews, "The whole idea is that we are doing a dry test here in this simulation lab … We are trying to create a lab environment using material that we use to build safe spaces out in the field. We are trying to recreate some of that atmosphere."

Rusten explained that the proposed solutions, which are all blockchain-centric, focus mainly on "identity or on cash-based transfers," both of which have previously been explored by the United Nations.

Once the simulation lab has concluded, a handful of teams will be invited to submit a formal UN request for proposal. UN Women intends to support between two and four pilot solutions with assistance from partners within the private sector, including Innovation Norway.

The first day of the simulation lab event featured introductory sessions about both UN Women and blockchain technology, followed by an evening gathering for "Ambassadors from Permanent Missions to the United Nations, Assistant-Secretary-Generals of UN agencies and Heads of private sector companies."

"Deep dive sessions" are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, during which vendors will showcase their proposals before the evaluation committee.

Successful programs will thereafter be scaled up to become part of larger UN initiatives including the UN Women's Global Flagship Programmes for Disaster Risk Reduction.

"What we are hoping is that we will be able to test in the field within half a year of this event," Rusten intimated. More details about the event can be read below.

Jordan Daniell

Jordan Daniell has a passion for techno-social developments and cultural evolution. In his spare time, he enjoys astronomy, playing the bagpipes, and exploring southern California on foot. Jordan holds value in Ether.

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