Blockchain For Impact Hosts Inaugural Summit at the UN on Frontier Technologies to Power the SDGs
Over 400 innovators, social entrepreneurs and investors came together to co-create innovative solutions to accelerate progress on the Global Goals!
Blockchain for Impact (https://blockchainforimpact.org/), hosted its inaugural event in NYC on June 4th, 2018 at the United Nations, and brought together over 400 innovators, entrepreneurs and investors to support concrete initiatives to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
On Monday June 4, 2018, Blockchain Commission for Sustainable Development, its commissioners in attendance and its founding members were proud to launch Blockchain for Impact (BFI), a collaborative convening, advocacy and action platform designed to serve the growing community of conscious leadership reflecting the full breadth of the global blockchain ecosystem as it seeks to engage with leaders from the UN system.
Throughout the day, leaders came together to launch the first Blockchain for Impact Subcommittees addressing the following topics:
1. Supply Chain Transparency & Traceability; 2. Global Health & Emergency Relief; 3. Digital Identity; 4. Earth Systems; 5. Refugee Rescue, Shelter & Resettlement, and; 6. Financial Inclusion.
Additionally, delegates at the event had an opportunity to engage with BFI Working Groups representing the following key emphases across all subcommittee activities:
1. Capacity Building & Growth to Scale; 2. Smart City Operating Systems; 3. AI & Data Sovereignty; 4. Youth-Led Innovation; 5. Social & Environmental Impact Metrics, Monitoring & Evaluation; 6. Diversity in Blockchain; 7. Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Countries & Small Island Developing States.
The Opening of the Summit featured a number of senior officials from the United Nations who highlighted the importance of blockchain and other frontier technologies to advance the Sustainable Development Goals.
The President of ECOSOC, Her Excellency Madam Marie Chatardová, underscored the commitment of the Economic and Social Council to harness the immense potential of frontier technologies for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. She welcomed this important and exciting dialogue and pointed out that “Blockchain technology stands out with its transformative potential in a very wide array of applications, including digital finance, cryptocurrency and climate coin, to name a few.”
Mr. Navid Hanif, Director of Financing for Sustainable Development Office, welcomed the work of Blockchain Commission for Sustainable Development, highlighting that new technologies are already having an enormous impact on sustainable development financing, including access to financial services, mobile money, and efficient fiscal policy. He encouraged participants to find the right balance between supporting the digitalization of the financial system and maintaining its stability and integrity, stating, ‘We invite you to bring your expertise and knowledge to bear on financing the SDGs in an inclusive, secure and innovative manner.’
Ms. Michelle Gyles-McDonnough, Director, Sustainable Development Unit in the Executive Office of the Secretary General, stated that “the UN must be nimble and effective, flexible and efficient, and use all available means, including new technologies, to achieve sustainable development outcomes contemplated in this transformative agenda. A key element of the Secretary-General‘s vision is that the UN and partners leverage the power of frontier technologies, including blockchain, for a quantum leap to grow economies, reduce inequalities, and increase the opportunities for marginalized populations around the world.”
H.E. Mr. Juan Sandoval, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations and Co-Chair of the UN STI Forum 2018, in welcoming this important event, stated that it comes at a perfect time when the UN is hosting its 3rd Annual Forum on Science, Technology, and Innovation. He explained the direct linkages between STI and the work of Blockchain for Impact in advancing the SDGs, and also highlighted the leadership role of Mexico in this rapidly emerging sector.
Mr. Henri Dommel, Director of Inclusive Finance at UNCDF, shared his thoughts on how financial inclusion lends itself to using the power of digital finance, including blockchain, to provide access to the unbanked, including SMEs.
“We were truly honored to have so many amazing people in the room, deeply committed to supporting the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” commented Amir Dossal, President, Global Partnerships Forum & Vice-Chair, Blockchain Commission, during opening remarks. “Thank you for your passion and for your commitment to implement Secretary-General António Guterres’ vision to help the underprivileged around the globe!”
Members of Blockchain for Impact (BFI) were invited to participate in an exciting series of impact-oriented events and task forces — not just during the summit, but throughout the year. Through the Commission, Blockchain for Impact members will engage with leaders from UN Member States and UN agencies on industry governance, regulatory standards and social impact projects. Members will work closely with those leading the SDGs and supporting UN efforts — through its Funds, Programs and Specialized Agencies — to apply blockchain technology to sustainable development and humanitarian challenges.
“Today we are sitting at one of the most important times in human history; the imperative for action around the advent of new technology is not only an opportunity, but our responsibility,” stated Sergio Fernandez de Cordova, Chairman, PVBLIC Foundation & Vice-Chair of Blockchain Commission for Sustainable Development to the full room. “It is time to start building technology with purpose, heart and conscience that is scalable globally.”
“The differentiating level of success of BFI was a direct result of the passion and commitment of the diverse representation of participants across geographies, UN Officials, regulators, legislators innovators, disruptors and humanitarians,” announced, Vincent Molinari, Chairman, 5th Element Fund & Vice-Chair, Blockchain Commission for Sustainable Development. “Blockchain and smart contracts have the ability to exponentiate the delivery of global humanitarian good in just a few years.”
“We are truly grateful to the hundreds of delegates who participated in the Blockchain for Impact summit,” stated Amir Dossal, expressing his gratitude to the assemblage, while wrapping up the closing session. “Their leadership work in moving the needle from talk to action through innovative collaboration will no doubt inspire many others to do more for our common humanity. Thank You!”
Closing remarks and acknowledgements were then provided by Mr. WILLIAM KENNEDY, Officer in Charge, UN Office for Partnerships and MR. DENNIS KUCINICH, former U.S. Representative from Ohio. Delegates were then treated to attend a follow up celebration on a dinner cruise along the Manhattan waterfront circling the Statue of Liberty with special remarks from Ms. VIKTORIIA PIRUMOVA of Decenturion.
Mr. Kennedy, whose Office serves as the UN’s Gateway for Partnerships, thanked participants for their time and commitment to the mission of the United Nations, “We have a dream and this is it — this is the dream for a new UN, you all represent that and Blockchain for Impact. The entire marketplace is here, and I am profoundly grateful for this!
Special insights into the perspectives of the public sector and the UN ecosystem were provided by MR. ULISES GÓMEZ NOLASCO, Deputy Attorney, Fiscal Investigation of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit of Mexico; MINIVA CHIBUYE, Economic Affairs Officer, United Nations Office of the High Representative for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS (UN-OHRLLS); MARINA PETROVIC, UNDP AltFinLab; and, GREG SCOTT, Inter-Regional Advisor, Global Geospatial Information Management, United Nations Statistics Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNSD).
Rousing and informative keynotes were also provided by ROSTIN BEHNAM, Commissioner, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission; GENERAL WESLEY K. CLARK (RET.), former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, Europe; and MR. DENNIS KUCINICH, former U.S. Representative from Ohio.
The private sector was well represented though keynotes and panels featuring JASON KELLEY, General Manager, Blockchain Services, IBM; CHRIS KELLY, Founder, Kelly Investments & First General Counsel, Facebook; MARCO SANTORI, President, Blockchain; ; BOB WIGLEY, Advisory Board Member, Blockchain.com & Founding Commissioner, Blockchain Commission for Sustainable Development; and SERGEY SHOLOM, President, GNation
Additional speakers included: JOSEPH BARISONZI, Partner, SDG.Systems; SINEAD BOVELL, Founder & CEO, WAYE; NEELAM BRAR, Founder & CEO, Blockhous; CHARLES BRIGHAM, UN Lead for Open SDG Data Hub, Esri; SHAUN CONWAY, Founder & President, ixo Foundation; GERARD DACHE, Government Blockchain Association; TONY DIMATTEO, CEO, Lottery.com; CLINTON DOW, Geoprocessing Product Engineer & Blockchain Local Resident, Esri Global; SAM ENGLEBARDT, Co-Founder & Head of Strategic Partnerships, Galaxy Digital; JOY FRIEDMAN, Chief Strategy Officer, Organizer; JULIO FRIEDMAN, The Carbon Wrangler; JEREMY GARDNER, Ausum.VC; ANN GREENBERG, Entertainment AI; JAMIE HALL,
Founder, Pentatonic; SHAWNNA HOFFMAN, IBM Global Cognitive Legal Co-Leader, Watson AI & Quantum Computing; DENES HONUS, CEO & Co-Founder, Green City Solutions; BLAKE IAN, Founder & CEO, Tawkers; SUSAN JOSEPH, Executive Director, Diversity in Blockchain, Inc.; MELISSA JUN ROWLEY, Tech & Social Impact Journalist; DR. MELISSA JANE KRONFELD, Founder, Passion for a Purpose; MICHAEL LANDAU, Chairman & CEO, CTI Africa & MPWR Data; JANE LIPPENCOTT, Co-Founder, Zen Cash; KELLY LOVELL, Youth Mobilizer & CEO, Lovell Corporation; ALEX MARTINI, CEO, Blockfusion Technologies; MARIA MIKHAYLENKO, Head of Risk and Analytics, BANKEX; KATE MITSELMAKHER, CEO, Founder & General Partner, Bloccelerate VC; AMBER NYSTROM, Co-Founding Principal, 5th Element Group & Fifth Element Fund; SUSAN OH, Founder & CEO, MKR AI; FARIS OWEIS, VP of Corporate Development & Chief Instigator, DigitalTown; ; CHELSEA RUSTRUM, Co-Founder, Blox 7 & Founder, Blockchain for Good; TOUFI SALIBA, CEO, Toda.Network & ACM Global Chair PB CC; AARTI TANDON, Executive Director, Smart Cities New York; SLOANE JOIE TRUGMAN, Founder & Lead of Strategy, Innovation & Transformation, Amunet Insights; MAJA VUJINOVIC, CEO, O Group; SAMSON WILLIAMS, Partner, Axes and Eggs; LAWRENCE WINTERMEYER, Co-Founder & Principal, Elipses.
About Blockchain for Impact: Blockchain for Impact (BFI), is a collaborative convening, advocacy and action platform designed to serve the growing community of conscious leadership reflecting the full breadth of the global blockchain ecosystem as it seeks to engage with leaders from the UN system.
BFI is a collaborative advocacy and action platform representing the full breadth of the global blockchain ecosystem focused on bringing the Blockchain community together to help solve many of the most pressing issues of our day, building on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as a framework for the future of impact.
Members of Blockchain for Impact (BFI) are invited to participate in an exciting series of impact-oriented events and task forces throughout the year. Through the Commission, Blockchain for Impact members will engage with the United Nations system on industry governance, regulatory standards and social impact projects, working closely with the UN Departments, Funds, Programs and Specialized Agencies, to apply blockchain technology to sustainable development and humanitarian challenges.
About the Blockchain Commission: The Blockchain Commission for Sustainable Development was established in the margins of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in 2017 to develop a multi-sectoral framework to support the UN system — along with Member States, Intergovernmental Organizations, the private sector and civil society — in utilizing blockchain-based technologies to develop local, national and global solutions for the most pressing issues of our day.
The Blockchain Commission envisions the development of radically creative decentralized solutions to issues including; conservation of natural resources, protection of the commons, economic growth, empowerment of all communities, financial inclusion and security, public health and welfare, civic trust and protection of the integrity of democratic systems — among others — for the benefit of our common humanity.
The Blockchain Commission suggests that the transformative power of blockchain technology should not be seen as a threat to existing systems of governance; rather, it should be seen as an opportunity for national and international institutions to defend the rights of those they represent, and to accelerate our collective progress towards meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
More information about this initiative can be found at https://blockchainforimpact.org/.
Efraim Wyeth, Executive Director, Blockchain for Impact firstname.lastname@example.org
777 United Nations Plaza | Fifth Floor | New York, NY 10017