A new community

and a vision for UN 2.0

· Stories,Front Page

A new community of digital practitioners

The United Nations recently launched the new UN Digital Community (UNDC) and showcased digital solutions making an impact on a global scale. This new community is envisioned as a place for UN colleagues to explore digital programming across the United Nations and its member states, providing opportunities for teams to connect with fellow digital practitioners. This is part of a strategic shift towards digital transformation (Dx) and a recognition that digital innovation is critical to accelerate of the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UNDC is intended to contribute to embedding a digital mindset into UN culture, as envisioned by the UN 2.0 Agenda 

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What is the UN 2.0?

We are past the halfway mark for the 2030 Agenda. The SDGs need all the help we can give them. Without digitally-enabled programmes and policies, the SDGs will not be met. It's time to take stock of what is working and what's needed to increase the rate of progress. We need to rethink, refocus and recharge. This is where UN 2.0 comes in. It's a vision for a modernized UN system with cutting-edge skills, a forward-thinking culture for stronger results, better Member State support, and greater SDG impact. To advance this vision, UN 2.0 proposes a quintet of change” that brings together data, innovation, digital, foresight and behavioural science expertise to bring new energy and dynamism to the United Nation's organizational culture.

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Where does Primero fit in to this new vision?

To kick off the new UN Digital Community, leaders and thinkers from across many organizations joined a launch on May 23, 2024. The event focused on various themes including digital capacity building, public-private partnerships, digital cooperation and risk mitigation. The event organizers selected several digital initiatives that might serve as inspiration and provide support for others on their digital transformation journeys. UNICEF was invited to join the event and deliver a presentation on Primero in the UN Digital Initiative Showcase.

The Primero journey provides us with some important lessons learned. If we want to have impact at scale, we must work with national governments and civil society. We must be able to adapt our products and initiatives to the context. We must have business models that understand and respond to the needs of government partners. These key messages and others were shared with the UN Digital Community during this launch event (see video below / Primero at the 47:00 minute mark).

Primero is not just a digital product. It is an approach to partnerships and a commitment to strengthening national systems. And most of all, it is proof that the United Nations can and should fulfill the role of being a digital services provider for societal impact. This is our role in the UN 2.0, and we must continue to lead as a trusted broker in the digital transformation of societies.

(Primero) is an example of how impactful we can be in the United Nations as digital services providers. This is a part of what we do. Years ago, that was a question: Are we going to become software services providers? The answer is "yes". We are expected to do that. We are trusted to do that.

Robert MacTavish, Primero Product Lead


What a wonderful way to launch a community!

With more than 558 total attendees from 108 countries, it's fair to say that this event was a success. We heard inspiring words from some very esteemed colleagues working across agencies, sectors and geographies to bring the full potential of digital to bear on some of the most challenging issues of our times.

It's a critical moment for the future of humanity. And it's a pivotal moment for the United Nations. We need to rise to the challenge and work together to bring every resource available to this effort. We need to wield the power of technology and the mandate of the United Nations to build a future that can provide for all.

Watch the video, join the community, support the cause.


NOTE: the Primero presentation is at the 47:00 minute mark