The panel was initiated by The United Nations’ (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres. The group which comprises of 20 figures from major sectors including industry and academia will examine digital technologies in general with a particular focus on blockchain technology.
Executive Director and co-chair of the UN secretariat Ambassador Amandeep Gill, commented the new body, called the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation:
“You cannot look at ‘web 3.0’ without looking at blockchain or without looking at AI (Artificial Intelligence) […] our hope is that through discussion of these various digital domains […] in terms of human rights, in terms of privacy, in terms of subversion of democracy, we are able to come out with some common principles…of strengthening cooperation across borders.”
It was also revealed that Melinda Gates, founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba Jack Ma were invited to co-chair the new panel. It is thought that Ma was selected due to his work with blockchain, including his raising of $14 billion for development projects.
Secretary Guterres has said that digital technologies are affecting society at an “unprecedented scale” with Ma conceding that “that the impact of blockchain on the future of humans may be far beyond our imagination.”
The UN itself has been implementing humanitarian programs using blockchain for a number of years but admits it can do far more. There are currently 25.4 million refugees in the world and some 3.1 million asylum seekers around the world, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.
Blockchain solutions are in place in many poorer countries working to improve the lives of individuals at community and national levels, but it is noticeable that the worldwide refugee crisis hasn’t as yet been significantly impacted by new technology.