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About UNTIL

When technology succeeds in solving a problem in our lives, it becomes invisible. 
The ticking of a clock so constant as to fade into the background. 
Too often, we begin to take this transformative force for granted. 
But technology is not, by nature, an inclusive phenomenon. 
Its availability in every context can not be assumed. 
And as the clock ticks on unnoticed, lives are lost.
The right combination of capabilities and conditions must be created to give technology a more humane dimension, 
and allow the benefits it can confer to be enjoyed more widely.
The right connections must be made, at the correct moment. 
This is our role at UNTIL. Until technology includes all.

UNTIL's mission:

Leveraging emerging technology to transform societies, nations and the humanity as a whole.

The UN Technology Innovation Labs (UNTIL) are designed to move humanity forward, faster by focusing on the use of innovative technology to solve some of humanity's most pressing needs.

Recognizing that innovation plays a critical role in moving the United Nations forward and acknowledging that the United Nations’ ability to innovate and engage in partnerships will be a significant factor in the efforts to successfully implement the SDGs (and the broader mandates of the United Nations), the UNTIL Lab programme is designed to support the journey to review, build, adopt and implement technology solutions to address problems that Member States are facing.

UN Office of Information and Communication Technology (OICT) 

To engage the gears of innovation proactively, the United Nations Office of Information and Communication Technology (OICT) is establishing “United Nations Technology Innovation Labs” (UNTIL). Using cutting-edge frontier technology currently available, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, internet of things, fintech and the use of drones to answer Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) challenges, UNTIL aims at using technological innovation to resolve day to day issues. In line with the ICT Strategy (A/69/517) approved by the UN General Assembly at its 69th session, OICT is establishing new UNTIL Labs locations in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Labs in other regions are planned for a second implementation phase in response to specific Member State’s host requests.

OICT is responsible for defining strategic direction for ICT to the United Nations Secretariat. It provides oversight of ICT programmes, budgets and decision-making to ensure alignment with the Secretariat’s overall ICT strategy. The team consists of more than ­­300 people operating global data centers and coordinating services provided by more than 4,000 people in UN offices worldwide. The Office is headquartered in New York.

As the founding body of UNTIL, OICT and the labs share a strategic mission of leveraging emerging technologies to empower member states and foster tech-solutions that address the Sustainable Development Goals. 

The labs work with OICT across a variety of functions and activities, however primarily through the Unite Ideas platform and the office’s TechNovation Talks series.

More information about the UN Office of Information and Communication Technology.

Each UNTIL is based on different humanitarian themes that are central to the needs of each individual Labs specific geolocation. The Labs will use AI, Blockchain, IoT and other high-tech tools to develop technology solutions that will be open source and available globally to all Member States once operational.

UNTIL Chart

The goal of the UN Technology Innovation Labs is to function as a start-up environment and create a platform for collaborative problem solving between UN resources, Private sector, Academia and Civil Society.  Each Lab will facilitate linking this platform with innovators and mentors from across the globe as well as to facilitate the global exchange of ideas and resources. UNTIL will function as a Laboratory and tool, offering advisory support and guidance that will facilitate problem-solving through hands-on-workshops, immersion-learning, and incubated projects.

Each Lab will focus on specific thematic areas of concern to the host country.  Themes will not be duplicated to the extent possible in other global Labs, but technology will be shared and transferred creating an ecosystem of innovative technology tools and test beds for proof of concepts.

Why do we need UNTIL Labs? 

Technology has changed virtually every industry in the last decade and now it is time to apply that change to delivery on UN mandates. 

  • Strong demand from member states. 
  • Technology is critical to making an exponential impact in how we achieve the UN goals.
  • Partners (including UN entities, funds, and programmes) and Member States are seeking ways to utilize high technology,  connect with each other and develop open source tools to deliver meaningful impact.

How UNTIL Works? 

All ICT solutions will be open source to enable sharing and technology transfer among other member states.

The labs will work collaboratively with diverse expertise across disciplines and industries to develop innovative technology solutions.

The labs will leverage the UN and connect parties across national boundaries and offer global innovation avoiding “reinventing the wheel”.

UNTIL Programcycle

Who are the people behind UNTIL? 

The UN Technology Innovation Labs (UNTIL) are designed to move humanity forward, faster by focusing on the use of innovative technology to solve some of humanity's most pressing needs.

Host country
ICT ministries
National innovation agencies
Private partners
Leading tech universities in the country
Leading industry players in the country

United Nations
UNTIL team, Office of Information & Communications Technology (OICT)
UN Secretariat entities and UN Funds and Programmes

OICT has dedicated staff that help establish labs in member states and support operations.

Secretary General

"The advances of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, including those brought on by a combination of computing power, robotics, big data and artificial intelligence, are generating revolutions in health care, transport and manufacturing.  
I am convinced that these new capacities can help us to lift millions of people out of poverty, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and enable developing countries to leap‑frog into a better future."

23 March 2018, New York 
 

Meet the OICT techies behind UNTIL

Sustainable Development Goals

Meet the OICT techies behind UNTIL:

Ms. Atefeh Riazi

MS. Atefeh Riazi

Assistant Secretary-General & Chief Information Technology Officer at United Nations
Mr. Salem Avan

MR. Salem Avan

Director, Office of Information and Communication Technology (OICT), United Nations – Alternate Co-Chair
Mr. Maurizio Gazzola

MR. Maurizio Maria Gazzola

Chief, Strategic Solutions and Head of the Global UN Technology Innovation Labs Programme at the Office of Information and Communication Technology (OICT), United Nations
Ms. Dianne Dain

MS. Dianne Dain

TEDx | UN Technology Innovation Labs | Changemaker
Mr. Chand Kaushil

MR. Chand Kaushil

Head (ICT – Innovations and Solutions) at United Nations
Mr. Omar Mohsine

MR. Omar Mohsine

UNTIL programme manager at UN
Mr. Prem Nair

MR. Prem Nair

Information System Officer at United Nations
Mr. Jorge Martinez Navarrete

MR. Jorge Martinez Navarrete

Lead Innovation Unit, United Nations Office of Information and Communications Technology
Mr. Farayi Nyamadzawo

MR. Farayi Nyamadzawo

Programme Coordinator, Strategic Solutions at the Office of Information and Communication Technology (OICT), United Nations