The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
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Week ending 16 December 2017

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortia and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R. Curry
Editor
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice
david.r.curry@ge2p2center.net

pdf version:The Sentinel_ period ending 16 December 2017

Contents
:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research
:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates
:: Journal Watch – Key articles and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals

Tokyo Declaration on Universal Health Coverage: All Together to Accelerate Progress towards UHC – World Bank, WHO, UNICEF, JICA, UHC2030

Editor’s Note:
Universal Health Coverage [UHC] has become the nexus for much global health strategy and  governance focus in the larger context of Sustainable Development Goals/Agenda 2030 context. We present the full text of a joint statement underscoring UHC’s integrating role and a supporting press release below.

Tokyo Declaration on Universal Health Coverage: All Together to Accelerate Progress towards UHC
Statement December 14, 2017 – World Bank, WHO, UNICEF, JICA, UHC2030
Universal Health Coverage Forum 2017
[full text; editor’s text bolding]
 
We, the Co-Organizers of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Forum, reaffirm our commitment to accelerating progress towards UHC, and to achieving health for all people, whoever they are, wherever they live, by 2030.

We recognise the integrated and indivisible nature of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which balance the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

We reiterate the importance of target 3.8 of the SDGs, which seeks to provide all people with access to high-quality, integrated, “people-centred” health services. This must include promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services, as well as safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines. We want to ensure that people do not suffer financial hardship when accessing services. We emphasize the importance of protecting all people from health risks such as outbreaks, and responding rapidly to outbreaks and crises.

We acknowledge that health is a human right and that UHC is essential to health for all and to human security. We adhere to the principle of Leaving No One Behind, which requires special effort to design and deliver health services informed by the voices and needs of people. This prioritizes the most vulnerable members of the world’s population — children and women — those affected by emergencies, refugees and migrants, and marginalized, stigmatized and minority populations, so often living in extremely difficult circumstances.

We affirm that UHC is both technically and financially feasible. UHC produces high returns across the life course and drives employment and inclusive economic growth. UHC is one of the cornerstones of the Sustainable Development Agenda and contributes to progress towards all SDGs. Without UHC, billions of people are at risk of losing the opportunity to live full and productive lives, and hundreds of millions risk impoverishment in their pursuit of health care. Millions of people live in countries and states considered to be fragile. Attaining UHC in these settings requires strong intersectoral collaboration.

We reaffirm and build on the G7 Ise-Shima Vision for Global Health, the TICAD VI Nairobi Declaration, which acknowledges the “UHC in Africa: A Framework for Action.” We also build on the G20 Berlin Declaration, which acknowledges the UHC2030 “Healthy systems for universal health coverage – a joint vision for healthy lives,” as well as other regional and international declarations. All of these stress the need to build and strengthen resilient and sustainable health systems and prepare for public health emergencies in an integrated way. In this context, we note the progress that has been made to reinforce preparedness and responses to public health emergencies, including formalization of coordination mechanisms among the World Health Organization (WHO) and other relevant United Nations (UN) partners, and funding mechanisms for emergencies like the WHO’s Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE) and the World Bank’s Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF).

We welcome the release of the 2017 UHC Global Monitoring Report. According to this report, much remains to be done to achieve UHC:  
   :: At least half of the world’s population still does not have access to quality essential services to protect and promote health. 
   :: 800 million people are spending at least 10 percent of their household budget on out-of-pocket health care expenses, and nearly 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty each year due to health care costs.

Concerned that progress towards UHC is too slow, despite the efforts made in each country, we call for greater commitment to accelerate progress towards UHC.

Strengthening global momentum towards UHC
:: By 2023, the midpoint towards 2030, the world needs to extend essential health coverage to 1 billion additional people and halve to 50 million the number of people being pushed into extreme poverty by health expenses.

:: We commit to monitoring progress towards UHC as part of the UN SDG review process by issuing global monitoring reports regularly, and reviewing key findings at the subsequent UHC Forum. We welcome the use of a uniform measurement methodology for UHC indicators in the 2017 Global Monitoring Report. We also emphasize the importance of strengthening the breadth and depth of data at the national and subnational levels, including disaggregated data, to inform evidence-based policymaking and to assess progress, as well as strengthening the capacity of local stakeholders to analyse and use data.

:: In response to the recommendations of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth, and as articulated in the Dublin Declaration on Human Resources for Health, we call upon all relevant stakeholders to expand and transform investments in the health and social workforce for UHC, emphasizing the empowerment of women and youth employment.

:: To maintain a high level of political momentum on UHC, we welcome the 40th anniversary conference in 2018 of the Alma Ata Declaration, from the International Conference on Primary Health Care. We also welcome the decision to designate December 12 of each year as International UHC Day and support the UN high-level meeting on UHC in 2019. Furthermore, we will support stronger global leadership at high level of the UN system to promote UHC.

Accelerating country-led process towards UHC
:: We commit to jointly mobilizing political leadership around the world so that countries develop their own roadmaps towards UHC, with clearly indicated targets, indicators and specific plans. We support the increased alignment of efforts among all development partners through country-led, multi-stakeholder coordination platforms in line with the UHC2030 Global Compact principles. We also promote country-level engagement with diverse stakeholders from non-governmental and private sector partners to enhance shared ownership and accountability. We welcome the contribution of international initiatives such as the Tokyo Joint UHC Initiative, the UHC Partnership, Providing for Health Partnership, and the Global Financing Facility (GFF), which aim to strengthen country systems and platforms for UHC and preparedness in a collaborative manner.

   :: In pursuing UHC, we commit to targeted investments to prevent, detect and respond to disease outbreaks and other emergencies including surveillance systems in order to safeguard health security and international collaboration under the International Health Regulations (2005). In doing so, we will promote a focus on fragile and conflict-affected settings to ensure UHC financing in such settings. We also commit to investing in building a sound foundation for healthy societies with equitable access to social services such as water, sanitation, nutrition, housing, and education, and mainstreaming gender throughout policies and programmes.

: On financing for UHC, we support a strong dialogue between the Ministries of Health and Finance to mobilize and manage domestic resources to increase public funding and reduce out-of-pocket payments. It is also critical for countries to mobilise citizen and community platforms, strengthening their budgetary processes, tracking expenditures to achieve value and equity of health spending, and enhancing the efficiency of health expenditures.

: Effective and innovative financing tools offered by development partners, such as the GFF and World Bank’s IDA, also complement domestic resources. In this regard, we welcome IDA18’s strong policy commitment to the global health agenda, which was supported by Japan and other donors, and look forward to further mobilization of IDA funds to promote UHC. We also call for expanded financing and increased alignment to support UHC by all development partners, particularly multilateral development banks and Global Health Initiatives such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and foundations such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In order to further promote financing for UHC, we will explore holding a high-level dialogue with Health and Finance Ministries by 2019.

Innovation for UHC
:: We recognise that realising our ambition requires going beyond “business as usual,” and commit to developing and supporting strategies, policies and systems at the global and country level to harness and sustain the transformative potential of innovation. This commitment recognises the need for countries to articulate their local priorities for UHC and share best practices.

:: We also commit to improving access to medicines and vaccines through collaborative work and research and development, including during health emergencies building on platforms such as the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI) and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). 

:: Accelerating progress towards UHC requires systematic learning from country experience through platforms such as UHC2030, increased focus on policy coherence, addressing implementation bottlenecks, and harnessing the potential of system innovations and effective and affordable technology in the health sector. We commit to stimulate learning on innovation for UHC by accelerating the generation and sharing of critical knowledge by building on and enhancing coordination of existing and future networks.

We look forward to future convenings and sharing the progress made towards UHC with the Global Community, in the context of the World Health Assembly, the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and the UN General Assembly, upcoming high-level UHC meetings such as the 2018 40th Anniversary of Alma Ata, and at the next UHC Forum. We extend our deep appreciation to the Government of Japan for its commitment to supporting the continuation of the UHC Fora in the future.

The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World – UNICEF

Children: Rights, Development, Digital Access
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The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World
UNICEF
December 2017 :: 211 pages
ISBN:978-92-806-4930-7
PDF: https://www.unicef.org/publications/index_101992.html#
Abstract
As the debate about whether the internet is safe for children rages, The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World discusses how digital access can be a game changer for children or yet another dividing line. The report represents the first comprehensive look from UNICEF at the different ways digital technology is affecting children, identifying dangers as well as opportunities. It makes a clear call to governments, the digital technology sector and telecom industries to level the digital playing field for children by creating policies, practices and products that can help children harness digital opportunities and protect them from harm.

Press Release
UNICEF: Make the digital world safer for children – while increasing online access to benefit the most disadvantaged
Flagship report highlights digital divides and explores current debates about the impact of the internet and social media on children’s safety and well-being
NEW YORK, 11 December 2017 – Despite children’s massive online presence – 1 in 3 internet users worldwide is a child – too little is done to protect them from the perils of the digital world and to increase their access to safe online content, UNICEF said in its annual flagship report released today.

The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World presents UNICEF’s first comprehensive look at the different ways digital technology is affecting children’s lives and life chances, identifying dangers as well as opportunities. It argues that governments and the private sector have not kept up with the pace of change, exposing children to new risks and harms and leaving millions of the most disadvantaged children behind.

“For better and for worse, digital technology is now an irreversible fact of our lives,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “In a digital world, our dual challenge is how to mitigate the harms while maximizing the benefits of the internet for every child.”

The report explores the benefits digital technology can offer the most disadvantaged children, including those growing up in poverty or affected by humanitarian emergencies. These include increasing their access to information, building skills for the digital workplace, and giving them a platform to connect and communicate their views.

But the report shows that millions of children are missing out. Around one third of the world’s youth – 346 million – are not online, exacerbating inequities and reducing children’s ability to participate in an increasingly digital economy.

The report also examines how the internet increases children’s vulnerability to risks and harms, including misuse of their private information, access to harmful content, and cyberbullying. The ubiquitous presence of mobile devices, the report notes, has made online access for many children less supervised – and potentially more dangerous.

And digital networks like the Dark Web and cryptocurrencies are enabling the worst forms of exploitation and abuse, including trafficking and ‘made to order’ online child sexual abuse.

The report presents current data and analysis about children’s online usage and the impact of digital technology on children’s wellbeing, exploring growing debates about digital “addiction” and the possible effect of screen time on brain development.

Additional facts from the report include:
:: Young people are the most connected age group. Worldwide, 71 per cent are online compared with 48 per cent of the total population.
:: African youth are the least connected, with around 3 out of 5 youth offline, compared to just 1 in 25 in Europe.
:: Approximately 56 per cent of all websites are in English and many children cannot find content they understand or that is culturally relevant.
:: More than 9 in 10 child sexual abuse URLs identified globally are hosted in five countries – Canada, France, the Netherlands, the Russian Federation and the United States.

Only collective action – by governments, the private sector, children’s organizations, academia, families and children themselves – can help level the digital playing field and make the internet safer and more accessible for children, the report says.

Practical recommendations to help guide more effective policymaking and more responsible business practices to benefit children include:
:: Provide all children with affordable access to high-quality online resources.
:: Protect children from harm online – including abuse, exploitation, trafficking, cyberbullying and exposure to unsuitable materials.
:: Safeguard children’s privacy and identities online.
:: Teach digital literacy to keep children informed, engaged and safe online.
:: Leverage the power of the private sector to advance ethical standards and practices that protect and benefit children online.
:: Put children at the centre of digital policy.

“The internet was designed for adults, but it is increasingly used by children and young people – and digital technology increasingly affects their lives and futures. So digital policies, practices, and products should better reflect children’s needs, children’s perspectives and children’s voices,” said Lake.

Human Rights Action – ICC Reparations to Conscripted Children: Lubanga

Human Rights Action – Reparations to Conscripted Children
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Editor’s Note:
We understand the action by the ICC below is the first example of war crimes reparations being awarded to children.
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Lubanga case: Trial Chamber II issues additional decision on reparations
International Criminal Court (ICC)
On 15 December 2017, Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a decision setting the amount of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo’s liability for collective reparations at USD 10,000,000. The decision completes the Order for Reparations of 3 March 2015 in the case of The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, which awarded collective reparations to the victims of the war crimes committed by Mr Lubanga, namely: conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 into an armed group (Union des patriotes congolais/Forces patriotiques pour la libération du Congo) and using them to participate actively in hostilities.

The Chamber examined a sample of 473 applications representative of all of the victims potentially eligible for reparations and concluded that 425 of them were most likely direct or indirect victims of the crimes of which Mr Lubanga was convicted. The Chamber stated, however, that further evidence established the existence of hundreds or even thousands of additional victims affected by Mr Lubanga’s crimes. The Chamber also stated in this respect that some potential victims were no longer willing or able to take part in the reparations process for safety reasons.

The Chamber recalled that the scope of a convicted person’s liability is proportionate to the harm caused and, among other things, his or her participation in the commission of the crimes for which he or she has been found guilty, in the specific circumstances of the case. The Chamber further recalled that only collective reparations were awarded in this case. The Chamber assessed the harm suffered by the aforementioned 425 persons recognized as victims of Mr Lubanga at USD 3,400,000, and equitably assessed Mr Lubanga’s liability exclusive of the harm suffered by those persons at USD 6,600,000 – bringing the total amount of Mr Lubanga’s liability for collective reparations to USD 10,000,000.

In view of Mr Lubanga’s indigence, the Chamber invited the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims to examine the possibility of earmarking an additional amount for the implementation of collective reparations in this case and/or continuing its efforts to raise additional funds. The Chamber also instructed the Trust Fund to make contact with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to explore how the Government might contribute to the reparations process…

Re|Shaping Cultural Policies: Advancing creativity for development – 2005 Convention Global Report – UNESCO

Development – Governance for Culture – Human Rights
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Re|Shaping Cultural Policies: Advancing creativity for development
2005 Convention Global Report
UNESCO 2017 :: 252 pages ISBN 978-92-3-100256-4
PDF: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0026/002605/260592e.pdf
Executive summary [excerpts]
The 2018 Global Report analyses further progress achieved in implementing the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005) since the first such report was published in 2015. It is the work of ten independent experts, who have worked together with the Secretary of the Convention and her colleagues, as well as BOP Consulting and the Principal Editor.

Goal 1 – SUPPORT SUSTAINABLE SYSTEMS OF GOVERNANCE FOR CULTURE
Goal 2 – ACHIEVE A BALANCED FLOW OF CULTURAL GOODS AND SERVICES AND INCREASE THE MOBILITY OF ARTISTS AND CULTURAL PROFESSIONALS
Goal 3 – INTEGRATE CULTURE IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORKS
Goal 4 – PROMOTE HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS

The first and leading goal is to support sustainable systems of governance for culture that contribute to the implementation of SDGs 8, 16 and 17. This challenge is addressed in the four chapters that make up the first section of the Global Report….

The second section of the report relates to the goal of achieving a balanced flow of cultural goods and services and the mobility of artists and cultural professionals worldwide that contributes to the implementation of SDGs 8 and 10…

The third implementation goal of the Convention set out in 2015 was to advance the long-standing cause of integrating a cultural dimension in sustainable development frameworks that contributes to the implementation of SDGs 4, 8 and 17….

The final section of the report is devoted to a key principle of the Convention that has come to the fore in recent years, namely the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms of expression, information and communication that contribute to the implementation of SDGs 5 and 16.

…The final chapter is devoted to artistic freedom, which is germane not only to the being and creative practice of artists themselves but also to the rights of all cultural producers and audiences. But today, this freedom is increasingly under attack by a range of factors and forces, both governmental and nongovernmental. The chapter reports that attacks on artistic freedom in 2016 perpetrated by both State and non-State actors, mostly against musicians, showed a significant rise compared with 2014 and 2015. Yet, progress has been made in understanding the importance of artistic freedom for the successful protection and promotion of artistic expression itself….

One Planet Summit…World Bank announcement on upstream oil and gas

Heritage Stewardship – Climate Action – One Planet Summit
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Global Covenant of Mayors and World Bank Announce Partnership, Securing Billions in Technical and Financial Assistance for Cities Executing Aggressive Climate Action Programs
World Bank partners with the Global Covenant of Mayors and will lend $4.5 billion USD to ensure 150 cities have the funds to implement initiatives to increase sustainability and resilience and fight climate change

Paris, France, 12 December 2017 – Today, at the One Planet Summit in Paris, the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and World Bank Group, the world’s largest multilateral development bank, announced a new partnership to provide technical and financial assistance to 150 cities across the world undertaking aggressive climate action programs.

The World Bank’s investment of $4.5 billion USD will ensure cities battling the increasing threats of climate change have the funding necessary to implement sustainable initiatives and climate resilience programs.

The partnership will help countries leverage the private sector by developing bankable business plans, structuring public-private partnerships to crowd in private sector investment, monetizing increases in land values, and designing and implementing credit enhancement mechanisms to allow commercial financing to cities.

The partnership brings together the largest global alliance of cities committed to tackling climate change with the world’s leading development institution to design and structure climate resilient investments and to catalyze new sources of capital to finance them in cities across the globe.

The lending will occur over the next three years under the umbrella of the World Bank’s City Resilience Program (CRP), and will draw on resources from IFC and MIGA to provide financial and technical assistance to 150 cities, including current and future Global Covenant cities, to drive climate ambitions forward and upwards and build greater resilience to climate and disaster risks.
The partnership will be inclusive and open to the full spectrum of investors, from multilateral development banks and international financial institutions, to institutional investors, private investors, and local commercial banks.

Ultimately, this collaboration between the Global Covenant of Mayors and the World Bank will help ensure cities realize the investment potential of their climate action commitments, and will have the ability to contribute to their government’s NDC investment plans in order to meet their Paris Agreement targets…

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World Bank Group Announcements at One Planet Summit
Paris, 12 December, 2017 – At the One Planet Summit convened by President Emmanuel Macron of France, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank Group made a number of new announcements in line with its ongoing support to developing countries for the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement’s goals.
1. WBG and upstream oil and gas
As a global multilateral development institution, the World Bank Group is continuing to transform its own operations in recognition of a rapidly changing world. To align its support to countries to meet their Paris goals:
The World Bank Group will no longer finance upstream oil and gas, after 2019.
(In exceptional circumstances, consideration will be given to financing upstream gas in the poorest countries where there is a clear benefit in terms of energy access for the poor and the project fits within the countries’ Paris Agreement commitments…

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Q&A: The World Bank Group and Upstream Oil and Gas
Date: December 12, 2017 Type: Brief
Q. How will this decision impact the World Bank Group’s portfolio in upstream oil and gas?
Current projects in our portfolio would continue as planned. However, no new investments in upstream oil and gas would be undertaken after 2019, unless under exceptional circumstances as noted in the decision.
This decision underlines our stated commitments to help countries accelerate the transition to sustainable energy and our support for the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global temperature rise to below 2C.

Q. How is “upstream” oil and gas defined?
Upstream is an industry term that refers to exploration of oil and natural gas fields, as well as drilling and operating wells to produce oil and natural gas.

Q. What about countries that have energy needs? How does this decision impact them?
Technological shifts and evolving markets mean that for many countries there are now a wider set of low-cost options for countries to tap to strengthen energy supply and extend access to energy. In the past decade, solar photovoltaic costs have fallen by 80% and wind power costs have fallen 60%. For those countries with oil and gas resources, commercial financing is often readily available for exploration and production. In exceptional circumstances in the poorest countries where there is a benefit to energy access, the World Bank Group will consider upstream natural gas projects.
The World Bank Group will continue to provide technical assistance that helps our client countries strengthen the transparency, governance, institutional capacity and regulatory environment of their energy sectors – including in oil and gas.
The World Bank Group is committed to helping countries extend access to reliable, affordable and sustainable energy for all their citizens. We have a long track record of supporting the expansion and improvement of energy access, both on and off-grid – through power generation, transmission and distribution, support to the private sector, and technical assistance and policy work. Tens of millions of people have gained access to energy as a direct result of World Bank Group support, and we will continue this work.

Q. How does this affect World Bank Group projects in poor countries?
As stated, in exceptional circumstances in the poorest countries where there is a clear benefit to energy access, and this is consistent with countries’ NDC commitments, we will finance upstream natural gas projects.

Q. Will you continue your support of ongoing natural gas projects and why?
The World Bank Group will continue to support and finance midstream and downstream natural gas investments for transport and distribution to consumers and for power generation. In some countries, natural gas still plays an important role during the energy transition. Gas has the lowest CO2 emissions of any fossil fuel. We support natural gas as a flexible energy source that can help countries make the transition more quickly to renewables, expand access to energy for the poor, and displace carbon-intensive coal.

Blockchain –Unpacking the disruptive potential of blockchain technology for human development :: International Development Research Centre

Sustainable Development – Technology
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Blockchain –Unpacking the disruptive potential of blockchain technology for human development
WHITE PAPER
International Development Research Centre
Researcher and author: Raúl Zambrano
August 2017 :: 85 pages
PDF: https://idl-bnc-idrc.dspacedirect.org/bitstream/handle/10625/56662/IDL-56662.pdf?sequence=2&isAllowed=y

Executive Summary
Technologies old and new are propelling the current wave of innovation around the world. Artificial intelligence, robotics and machine learning are all gaining new ground and being deployed in a wide variety of contexts globally. One of the more cryptic but oft-hyped technologies is blockchain, an emergent technology developed as part of Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency invented in 2008. Whereas Artificial Intelligence and robotics innovations
seem to have a dark side, many perceive blockchain technology as a platform for positive and even radical change.

Yet for developing countries, the high sophistication and complex infrastructure requirements (bandwidth, connectivity and high operating costs) of this technology might prove challenging if countries intend to be active players and not just end users or consumers. Exploring the relevance of new technologies to address existing socio-economic gaps and support internationally agreed development targets including the globally-recognized Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is critical for countries in the global South. The question for developing countries is not only how this could be workable but also who could be involved in harnessing blockchain technologies to close
development gaps, foster social inclusion and promote democratic governance.

This white paper explores the potential blockchain technology could have in fostering human development in developing countries. The first part (after the executive summary) provides a non-technical overview of blockchain. It then moves to illustrate the range of applications in development areas and sectors from a public/private goods perspective. The third section examines the actual relevance of blockchains in developing countries. The paper concludes with a series of recommendations for additional research and potential development programming using blockchain technologies. The annexes lay out the information and communications technology for development (ICTD) framework and a more technical presentation of blockchain technologies.

This paper centers on blockchain applications that go beyond cryptocurrencies. The core focus is thus on the use of blockchain technology as a generic application platform in developing countries….

Recommendations [p.55, text bolding from original]
RESEARCH
Undertake a series of selected case studies on ongoing blockchain technology initiatives that are taking place in developing countries. While some anecdotal information on such initiatives can be found, little in terms of academic or developmental research is currently available. Indeed, a large vacuum exists here that has helped spread blockchain hype even more.

Undertake further research and analysis on both blockchains for governance and the governance of blockchains vis-à-vis governments and the provision of public goods. In particular, the links between trust, consensus building and representation have not been explored in the existing literature.

Link current and future work on blockchain technology to Artificial Intelligence as the latter is being systematically introduced into the technology and related “decentralized applications” or Dapps. This points back to blockchain’s governance issue and the governance of algorithms in general which are not participatory, nor transparent. Is blockchain part of the solution?

Consider opening new and pioneering research on the governance of algorithms and the impact they can have in society, especially in developing countries. This theme is in turn linked to the notion that technologies are social products. In the end, society ends up shaping how technology is harnessed. However, the prevailing view today seems to be the opposite, blockchain technology included.

Explore innovative approaches and solutions to facilitate blockchain technology access to those sitting at the bottom of the pyramid, focusing on access and use of cryptographic tools. Here, distinguishing technology use and ownership from its benefits is crucial. Previous technology deployments have shown that poor communities can benefit from them without directly using or owning a particular technology. Community networks and shared mobile telephone use are well-known examples here.

PROGRAMMING
Explore the role of ongoing innovation initiatives and existing tech hubs in developing countries to support blockchain deployments. Africa and Asia, in particular, have a considerable number of technology hubs which can furnish adequate expertise to deploy blockchain technologies with local expertise and to target the provision of public goods.

Consider funding or supporting small blockchain pilots or prototypes focused on specific development themes, the SDGs or local priorities in developing countries. Funding need not be large but special attention should be placed on the human development impact. As mentioned above, identity and government services using blockchain technologies are the most relevant at this point and have already been implemented in other contexts.

Support or help create a network of blockchain technology innovators and entice them to support applications that foster public goods provision. Attracting local innovators in emerging and developing economies is of critical importance here.

NETWORKING AND PARTNERSHIPS
Support the creation of a blockchain for blockchain-related projects in developing countries, or consider the creation of a related sustainable knowledge base. Partnering with international experts and other innovators on a global scale should be part of such initiative.

There has been some action by multi-laterals and overseas development funding agencies on linking blockchain technologies to the implementation of the SDGs. Development agencies and development practitioners should join these efforts to track the latest developments and
eventually undertake further research on the topic.

Launch or help organize a ‘blockchain for development’ network, or a decentralized autonomous organization with key donor countries and organizations. The main goal of such a network could be to keep the development perspective atop, and above blockchain itself.