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ID2020 Summit Spotlights Technology and Digital Identity at the United Nations

ID2020, a public-private partnership dedicated to giving one-sixth of the world’s population access to an officially recognized identity, today convenes the 2017 “Platform for Change” Summit at the United Nations. Without identity, approximately 1.1 billion people – disproportionately women, children and the world’s most vulnerable – struggle to access critical services and social benefits.

ID2020, which supports the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 16.9 to enable an officially recognized identity for all, is focused on an open, human-centric approach to identity, one that draws on recent advances in biometrics and innovative technologies. As Dakota Gruener, Executive Director of ID2020, has said: “Imagine being unable to enroll in school, vote, or open a bank or cell-phone account. Paper-based credentials can be lost or destroyed, and are fundamentally controlled by the issuing institution. In contrast, digital identity places control in the hands of the individual. This approach enables both significant improvements in the quality of life for more than a billion individuals and efficiencies for the governments, NGOs and businesses serving them.

Today’s convening of the second ID2020 Summit hosts experts from government, private enterprise, and innovative technology companies, who are collaborating to provide digital identity solutions for the global population. The event launches the ID2020 Alliance, bringing together these stakeholders on an ongoing basis with commitments of funding and technical resources, implementation of pilot projects, and collaborative standards development. The ID2020 Alliance approach is supported by a grant from The Rockefeller Foundation and major financial support from Accenture (NYSE:ACN), which will be announced at the Summit.

The event encourages stakeholder participation and expert discussions on the possibilities of applying innovative funding models, advanced technologies, and public-private partnerships to help solve this global challenge. Featured panels with some of the most innovative thinkers in the technology and humanitarian space will include keynote addresses from senior staff at key UN agencies and organizations like PwC, Microsoft, Accenture, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and The Rockefeller Foundation.

“Only by working together can technologists and policy-makers create scalable, secure, and sustainable systems to be employed worldwide,” explains Gruener. “The promise of technologies like blockchain and other decentralized ledger systems create a pathway towards viable solutions in the quest for identity for all. By 2020, we’re aiming to have a proof of concept with real world pilot projects deployed in several locations. By 2030, our goal is to enable access to digital identity for every person on the planet.”

”An established identity needs to be a universally accepted human right and blockchain will play a key role in making that happen,” said David Treat, Managing Director of Accenture’s Blockchain Practice. “We are very proud to be a Founding Partner of the ID2020 Alliance and to support today’s summit. Working together, we can achieve the ID2020 mission to bring a safe, verifiable and persistent digital identification system to scale.”

Confirmed speakers at today’s Summit include Assistant Secretary General, Chief Information and Technology Officer of the United Nations, Ms. Atefeh Riazi; the Chief Architect of Aadhaar, Dr. Pramod Varma; David Treat, Managing Director of Accenture’s Blockchain Practice; and senior executives from PwC and Microsoft.

A smaller group of participants will convene at Microsoft’s Technology Center in Times Square this afternoon to begin working on a coordinated roadmap for action. Globally renowned members of the blockchain development, humanitarian efforts and technologists will lead as session chairs including:

  • Saadia Madsbjerg, Managing Director, The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Karl Steinacker, Deputy Director for Programme Support and Management at UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency
  • Anne Wallwork, Senior Counselor for Asia, Terrorist Financing & Financial Crime at the US Department of Treasury
  • Adrian Kunzle, Salesforce Senior Vice President of Product Development

Several notable thought-leaders will be participating in the afternoon’s collaborative sessions including:

  • Blythe Masters, CEO of Digital Asset Holdings
  • John Farmer, Director of Technology and Civic Innovation at Microsoft
  • Tara Nathan, Executive Vice President at Mastercard
  • Joseph Lubin, Founder of Consensys
  • Patrick Spens, Blockchain Specialist at PwC UK

“Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more aligns with the values of ID2020. We believe that through new approaches to identity in the humanitarian ecosystem, we can ensure real progress toward the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Working closely with ID2020 and public and private sector partners, we remain committed to the goal of ensuring every person on the planet has an officially recognized identity,” says Yorke Rhodes III, Global Business Strategist for Blockchain at Microsoft.

Other participating organizations include Intel, IBM, Thomson Reuters, SAP, NEC Corporation, Verizon, Samsung and the World Economic Forum.

In 2016, with the support of PwC, Microsoft, the International Telecommunications Union, and the UN Office of Partnerships, the first ID2020 Summit was a resounding success, drawing attention to the importance of identity from both the public and private-sectors.

The 2017 ID2020 Summit is made possible by PwC and is co-convened by the United Nations Office of Communications and Information Technology and Microsoft. With additional support from Accenture, the UN Development Programme, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

ID2020 “Platform for Change” 2017 Summit is being held at the official headquarters of the United Nations and at the Microsoft Technology Center in Times Square. The agenda can be found at http://id2020summit.org/. For event updates, follow on Twitter: @identity2020, #ID2020 and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/identity2020/.

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