United Nations Taps Algorand To Develop Web3 Education For UN Staff

The Algorand Blockchain Academy will be made available to 22,000 UN staff worldwide

By: Samuel Haig Loading...

United Nations Taps Algorand To Develop Web3 Education For UN Staff

The United Nations Development Programme has commissioned the Algorand Foundation to develop an educational curriculum on web3 for its staff.

Announced on Nov. 30, the UNDP will make the Algorand Blockchain Academy available to its more than 22,000 employees and staff from other United Nations agencies. The curriculum will focus on practical applications for blockchain technology in the context of sustainable development.

A beta version of the course will commence during Q1 2024 and roll out across UNDP’s glab staff throughout the year. The initiative was announced by Robert Pasicko, a UNDP research and data analyst focussed on alternative finance and low carbon development, at the Algorand Impact Summit in New Delhi.

“The Algorand Blockchain Academy will be instrumental in equipping our team with the tools needed to address complex global challenges using blockchain technology," said Pasicko. "We are thrilled to… upskill, empower, and inspire UN practitioners around the world."

Representatives from Algorand ecosystem projects HesabPay, Wholechain, Koibanx, and Quantum Temple will participate in the initiative.

"We see this education and tooling initiative as a critical first step toward identifying and delivering actionable, on-the-ground use-cases of blockchain to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in a number of areas,” said Doro Unger-Lee, head of education and inclusion at Algorand Foundation.

UN embraces web3

The course is the latest example of The United Nations (UN) making moves to embrace web3 and distributed ledger technologies.

In 2017, the UN World Food Program launched a pilot program using Ethereum to transfer financial aid to 100 individuals located in a remote and impoverished community in Pakistan, before following up with a pilot providing cash to 10,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan. Transactions were recorded on Ethereum, with recipients completing checkout at local stores using biometric scanning.

“There is greater security and privacy for the Syrian refugee families, as sensitive data does not have to be shared with third parties such as banks, or phone companies used for mobile money transfers,” the World Food Program said. “WFP now has a full, in-house record of every transaction that occurs at a retailer.”

In 2019, the UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, advocated for the organization to accelerate its adoption of blockchain technology, coinciding with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launching support for donations in the form of BTC and ETH.

That same year, the UN Innovation network launched supply chain pilots in Papua New Guinea and East Africa, the UN Capital Development Fund trialed blockchain-based remittances in Nepal, and the UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business began exploring technical applications for DLT.

In 2020, the UN Economic Commission for Europe launched a blockchain-based solution for certifying and sourcing sustainably and ethically produced cotton. The UNDP also deployed CedarCoin, a DLT project distributing tokens to investors supporting the reforestation and protection of ancient cedar forests in Lebanon.

In 2021, UNICEF provided $100,000 in fiat and crypto grants to eight blockchain startups promoting the use of “decentralized financial instruments, marketplaces, and decision-making mechanisms” to empower disadvantaged communities. The eight projects were selected from more than 400 applications. UNICEF also launched an NFT collection to raise funds and commemorate its 75th anniversary in December 2021.

In 2022, the UN WFP conceived Food for Crisis, an initiative tracking the use of donor funds using web3 technologies. The UN Human Rights Commission, UN International Computing Centre, and Stellar Development Foundation also teamed up to distribute financial aid to civilians displaced or impacted by the war in Ukraine from December 2022.

However, in August 2022, the UN Conference on Trade and Development also warned that the rapid uptake of unregulated cryptocurrencies could pose threats to monetary stability, central bank policy, or serve as a vehicle for tax evasion in underdeveloped economies.