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H.E. Atefeh Riazi

PANEL 2: Contributions of the Private Sector
 Panel-2-1--Atefeh-Riazi H.E. Atefeh Riazi
Assistant-Secretary-General, Chief Information Technology Officer of the United Nations

Ms. Riazi started her professional career with the Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York City. During the period of 16 years, she held various progressively responsible positions and was appointed as the Chief Information Officer with responsibilities for implementing the MetroCard in New York City. Since 2009, Ms. Riazi has served as the Chief Information Officer of New York City Housing Authority with oversight responsibilities for design and deployment of smart building technologies and cost containment practices. She also served as the Acting General Manager with responsibility for all operations. Prior to joining the Housing Authority, she was the global Chief Information Officer and Senior Partner of Ogilvy and Mather overseeing technology, applications, networks and data centres.

H.E ATEFEH RIAZI, the Assistant Secretary-General of Office of Information and Communications Technology, started her speech by saying that there is so much positive energy, commitment, and dedication around us today. Ms. Riazi indicated that it is truly contagious how we all came here together to solve these big issues. She emphasized that for three decades we’ve talking about them, and we’ve been waiting for somebody else to solve them. She underlined that the private sector is looking at the UN, NGOs and the governments by saying that “It’s your problem; diseases, hunger, lack of education, social unrest, youth unemployment, Ebola.” However Ms. Riazi emphasized that all the social issues have been left to the hands of governments to deal with. She said that we should address the question of “how do we all together go from crisis reaction to crisis prevention?” and underlined that SDGs are designed for getting all the elements of the society together.

According to Ms. Riazi, the most important thing about the 20th century was the creation of the Internet that we got connected; the world opened up. 15-20 years ago, she indicated that we did not know how the world was. Then she addressed the following questions to the audience: “We got connected, what do we do next? Are we going to make difference? Could I use technology to know a month earlier that there is going to be an Ebola breakout? What can I do? Who can I partner with to know a month earlier?” Ms. Riazi has underlined that it’s all about technology; it’s all about partnership because we have the public sector, great innovation, and great resources. She said that we should look at the advancements in technology; nanotechnology, alternate fuels, organic bio, health care, education and think that is what the global goals are all about for us to come together as a public private sector NGOs and talk about the big social issues.

Making all these important highlights, Ms. Riazi indicated that the private sector would be a tremendous partner to the government and to the UN, because it is through innovation, it is through science, it is through investment and resources. Once again, she put an emphasis on the fact that we have the resources, the intellect, the know-how in resolving these issues, resolving it together, and moving forward.