Digital identity for refugees: IBM and UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe at re:publica

Digitale Identität

Photo credit: IBM

What offers German Internet users and citizens a pleasant advantage in service can be vital for refugees: digital identity. What is digital identity? When we transfer money online, shop online or use modern administrative services, we authenticate ourselves with passwords, a PIN or the new identity card. For refugees, digital identity means the right of residence, education, but also quite existential access to food and other vital aid in refugee camps in Africa, for example. In short: without official registration, human beings and their needs do not exist. More than 65 million people are currently on the run - modern technologies give these people a place in life again and are therefore an immensely important topic.

IBM and UNO Flüchtlingshilfe, German partner of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), are therefore putting the topic of digital identity and digitization for refugees on the agenda at re:publica. Lectures, discussions and UNHCR workshops on digital identity and digitization for refugees will take place in an UNHCR tent at re:publica from May 2nd to 4th.  International experts will give the participants insights into the often harsh reality "in the field" of humanitarian operations and explain how digital solutions can concrete help. Sven Semet, HR Thought Leader at IBM, is involved in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

Karl Steinacker, has been at the United Nations for 30 years and is the team leader for digital identity management at the UNHCR, together with Valerie Khan, blockchain expert and consultant for the World Bank and the World Food Programme, will explore the question of how to bridge the ‘identity divide’ between industrialized and developing countries on Stage 5 at 10 a.m. on Friday: Through the modern possibilities of data collection and -analysis IT enterprises can support with the creation of a "Crypto Identity".

Digital Identity and Blockchain

Blockchain technology is an important driver of modern digital identity management because traditional identity systems are often cost-intensive and error-prone. The decentralized "trust model" from IBM represents a new possibility of identity management: Blockchain allows users to control their own identity. Blockchain also offers a method to let people without access to financial services participate in monetary transactions. This is another reason why IBM and UNO Flüchtlingshilfe will be at re:publica.

You will find further information in IBM's and UNO Flüchtlingshilfe exhibitors program at the UNHCR tent at re:publica. No registration is required for the individual sessions, and 15 to 20 people can participate per track.


Guest article by our partner IBM.