Off-Chain Governance

UN To Use Blockchain To Transform Afghan Cities

The United Nations is actively trying to develop blockchain solutions that will help encourage sustainable urban development in Afghanistan, if latest reports are to be believed. Blockchain technology has a plethora of use cases as far as development and governance are concerned and this UN move would be the latest in a long list of blockchain-based development tools.

Stephane Dujarric, who is the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary General was quoted by tech news website The Sociable and as per the report, he said that the United Nations Office of Communication and Information Technologies (UN-OICT) is working on the creation of blockchain solutions that would facilitate the maintenance of land records and ensure a transparency in the disbursement of services. This would essentially be a part of the “City for All” initiative undertaken by the UN.

The “City for All” programme had been started in the year 2016 and as per its charter, it is set to continue through 2020. It has the overall objective of transforming Afghan cities, including the country’s capital city Kabul. The initiative has been kickstarted with the expectation that the Afghan population will become largely urban over the course of the coming 15 years. The three priorities that have been undertaken include effective management of land, strategic urban planning and better execution of municipal finance.

The decision to play around with blockchain tech to improve Afghanistan’s basic infrastructural foundations was a result of an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) signed between the UN-OICT and the UN Habitat, with the latter being in charge of providing technical support to the”City for All” initiative.

According to the MoU, the two UN offices that are a party to the understanding, will work to expand their collaborative efforts all over South Asia, aiming towards “the development of emerging technology tools and digital platforms for urban design and planning.”

This is not the first instance of the UN’s use of blockchain technology to ensure better standards of living. It has had major blockchain applications in areas like East Africa and Sierra Leone earlier and the World Food Programme has famously carried out the “Building Blocks” programme. This seems to be just another laudable step in the right direction.