How Technology Can Help the United Nations Meet
the Challenges of the 21st Century


For several months we have been working on a set of recommendations to the new UN Secretary General, on how the UN can use new technology to deliver its vital mandate.

Our suggestions are here – over 60 pages of recommendations and analysis. We have looked at how technology – from artificial intelligence to drones – can ensure that the UN is ready for the Networked Century.

We are excited about the ideas, and hope that they provide a trigger for fresh thinking, and new coalitions of allies for the UN’s efforts.

But we also recognize that we don’t have all the answers, and we believe in the wisdom of crowds. So we want to seek your contributions. How humans manage the paradigm shift to a hyperconnected world is the greatest challenge of our time. How can the UN adapt its methods to the Networked Age without compromising its values? How can technology increase UN effectiveness and efficiency, build public trust, mobilise opinion and action, and weaponise compassion? How to make the sum of the parts more able to deliver on the goals set out so powerfully in the UN Charter seven decades ago?

On the 19th of September 2017 the report was handed over to the United Nations Secretary General Guterres. The Secretary General commented: “Technology will continue to be at the heart of shared progress.  But innovation, as essential as it is for humankind, can bring unintended consequences… The United Nations stands ready as a forum where Member States, civil society, businesses and the academic community can come together and discuss the way forward, for the benefit of all.”

From refugees and beneficiaries of UN help, to policy makers and curious global citizens, we need the UN. And the UN needs you. If the UN did not exist, we would need to invent it. But now you need to reinvent it. Please enjoy the report, and let us know what you think. Onwards!

Tom Fletcher
New York, September 2017