United Nations: Digitally transforming to shape the future
(Norwich, UK, 13/12/2019)
“Shared prosperity and dignified lives.”
The United Nations (UN), founded in 1945 following the end of World War II,is an international organisation that takes action on issues such as peace and security, climate change, sustainable development, human rights, humanitarian concerns and gender equality.
Federico Cocchioni, current Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the UN Economic and Social Commissions for Western Asia, has seen the UN develop over the years into an efficient, innovative, effective, inclusive and transparent organisation that highlights the importance of leaving no one behind.
Within the UN Secretariat, Cocchioni’s Division is addressing the digital agenda for technology, which can be summarised into four key areas: “Deepening the UN’s internal capacities, exposure to new technologies, supporting dialogue and enhancing the UN’s system support to government capacity development.”
Reflecting on the organisation’s evolution, Cocchioni believes the UN has truly ridden the wave of digital revolution, with its transformation starting in the 1990s.
“Innovative technology is helping significantly in various peacekeeping, humanitarian and development operations carried out by the UN,” comments Cocchioni. In 2006 – following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 – Cocchioni took part in the Sudan peacekeeping mission. “We were responsible for setting up from scratch the entire ICT infrastructure including satellite communications, mobile redeployment vans, and the wide area network for voice and data.”
Internally, the UN has come to the end of its 2014-2019 ICT strategy which focused on five key pillars: modernise, transform, innovate, govern and optimise. To achieve this the UN has been working through a number of phases to restructure its ICT operations globally.
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