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High-Level Political Forum 2018 - Side Event: Blockchain for Transformation towards Sustainable and Resilient Societies

High-Level Political Forum 2018 - Side Event: Blockchain for Transformation towards Sustainable and Resilient Societies

11 July 2018
UNOPS New York United States

Backgound and Objectives


The United Nations 2030 Agenda emphasizes the role that innovation plays in support of sustainable development. An important emerging innovation that has been in the news recently is blockchain / distributed ledger technology.

Originally, the blockchain’s primary use of blockchain technology was to store and track cryptocurrency transactions (e.g. Bitcoin). However, other uses and implementations have emerged in recent years. Some of these can be used to advance the implementation and monitoring of the SDGs for example by reducing food waste (SDG 12.3), supporting sustainable production by ensuring that products or production inputs are sustainably sourced, encouraging companies to adopt sustainable practices and integrate sustainability information into their products, and ensuring consumers have relevant information for sustainable lifestyles (SDGs 12.6 and 12.7); and providing legal identities and financial services to refugees and the very poor (SDG 2).

Blockchain can be a powerful lever to bring together all the stakeholders involved in value chains and those regulating them: producers, intermediaries, the final consumer – and governments. But value chains are international, and the loops can only be closed in an efficient manner if stakeholders, including governments, cooperate and coordinate across borders.

  • Provide a mutual learning space where policymakers can interact with their peers and other relevant stakeholders on the potential applications of blockchain technology and lessons learned from existing applications.
  • Advance the implementation and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals, with a particular focus on the transformations enabled by Blockchain towards sustainable and resilient Societies.
  • Promote global multi-stakeholder partnerships to contribute to advancing the application of blockchain / distributed ledger technology for the implementation and monitoring of the SDGs.
  • Showcase how innovative startups and young entrepreneurs are developing solutions based on blockchain / distributed ledger technology to solve issues related to the SDGs targets under review by the HLPF.

Speaker's Bio

Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of the UNECE
On 13 April 2017, the Secretary-General appointed Ms. Olga Algayerova of Slovakia as the next Executive Secretary of the UNECE. She took office on 1 June 2017.
Ms. Algayerova brings to the position a combination of leadership and diplomatic skills with deep knowledge of the region with its challenges and opportunities and a strong focus on building and nurturing partnerships among key stakeholders with the United Nations.  Prior to her appointment, she served as Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the International Organizations in Vienna, Austria (since 2012). She was previously President, Slovak Millennium Development Goals (2010-2012); State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2006-2010) and Corporate Export Manager, Zentiva International, a.s. (2004-2006).
Born in 1959, Ms. Algayerova holds a Master in Contemporary Diplomacy from Malta University, a Master in Business Administration from The Open University Business School, United Kingdom and a Dipl. in Engineer of Economy from the University of Economics Business Faculty, Bratislava
On 12 July 2017, Ms. Olga Algayerova was sworn-in by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. António Guterres.
Mr. Tadej Slapnik, State Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia 
Tadej Slapnik, born 17 October 1973, graduated in mechanical engineering at University of Maribor. State Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia responsible for social, circular and distributed economy. A member of European Commission Expert group on social entrepreneurship (GECES), head of Partnership for green economy of the Republic of Slovenia and a member of European Blockchain Hub Advisory Board.
Tadej Slapnik is initiator and signatory of Feel the future declaration: Initiative Blockchain Europe, actively involved in promotion, development and smart regulation of blockchain and distributed ledger technology at national, european and global level.
Mr. Yoshiyuki Yamamoto , Special Advisor for UN Engagement and Blockchain Technology at UNOPS
He explores the application possibilities of blockchain technology for the United Nations and international aid work. Yoshiyuki is the former Director of UNOPS Peace and Security Centre. He has more than 25 years of experience in the United Nations system, mainly in humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping operations, and has spent 15 years working in various fields in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Jordan and Iraq.
Mr. Ad Kroft, Program Director for Standardization, Dutch Blockchain Coalition
Ad Kroft (1954) was trained as a clinical psychologist. However, his career moved into consulting on change management and corporate governance of innovation. And more recently into effectuating digital business strategies. In 2015 he was convenor of the Dutch Blockchain Coalition, an initiative taken by the Dutch government. Currently he works there as program director for standardization. He also is member of the EU Blockchain workgroup on Policies and Framework conditions and TC 307 Standards for Blockchain.


Mr. Ben Siegel is the Global Project and Partnership Lead at ConsenSys Social Impact
Focusing on areas such as human rights and financial inclusion, he is leading ConsenSys' efforts in equipping social impact organizations with blockchain solutions. After spending time working in the political sphere, including an internship with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and a stint at the European Parliament, Ben spent his senior year of college taking an in-depth look at the way we currently handle humanitarian aid. As a result, he became extremely interested in experimental technologies, specifically, the growing role they have to play for the impact sector. Post-graduation, Ben became increasingly enthralled with blockchain’s potential as a tool for social change. This led him straight into ConsenSys, where he co-founded the Social Impact team as well as the broader Blockchain for Social Impact Coalition (BSIC). He is dedicated to bringing blockchain technology more directly into social impact work, and bridging the gap between technologists and humanitarians. 
Mr. Gregor Novak, CEO & Co-founder of SunContract
With nearly 2 decades of experience in the Power Industry, Mr. Novak is an accomplished leader in the energy sector. Having worked in two of the most important and complex national electricity companies in the Republic of Slovenia, he has amassed wealth of skill and experience in the areas of electricity utility management, process management, regulatory framework of electricity sector, technical operations, information and communication specifics in power engineering sector as well as the more recent and disruptive blockchain technologies.
Ms. Maria Rosaria Ceccarelli, Chief, Trade Facilitation Section, ECTD/UNECE
Oversees the work of the UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT). She has 19 years of experience in Trade and Transport Facilitation within UNECE. She currently manages a group of some 500 experts working on Trade Facilitation projects to produce Trade Facilitation Recommendations and electronic business standards, covering both commercial and government business processes that can foster growth in international trade and related services. In her former position in the UNECE’s Transport Division, she provided training and advisory services to promote the development of border-crossing facilitation and multimodal transport and supported member states in formulating strategies, policies and actions to facilitate transport developments in countries with economies in transition.


12:30 - 13:00 - Networking, sandwiches and coffee

13:00 - 13:05 - Welcome Address
Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)

13:10 – 13:40 – Keynote session

13:40 - 14:00 – Panel Discussion
Moderated by Ms. Maria Ceccarelli, Chief, Trade Facilitation Section, UNECE

14:00 - 14:30 – Open Discussion