Read about Anna Joubin-Bret
Director, International Trade Law Division and Secretary of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law,
Office of Legal Affairs
What brought you to a career in technology at the United Nations?
Developing, harmonising and modernising international trade law requires that we are mindful of technological progress and the way new technologies disrupt but also greatly facilitate the movement of goods and services across the globe. Recent development in the digital economy further requires that we examine existing processes and legislation in order to remain technologically neutral in the rules we develop and also ensure that they are future-proof. Some of the early texts on electronic transactions, enacted in the late 1980s are still relevant today, be it electronic signatures or electronically transferable records. And obviously, new technologies such as the blockchain, cloud computing and AI in trade and trading of new commodities such as data or digital assets.
What has been your favorite IT project at the United Nations and what was your technical contribution?
The advances in digital technology and the new digital economy presents both an incredible opportunity and a great challenge for delivering on the SDGs and ensuring inclusivity in these developments. We believe that international law can provide a harmonised infrastructure to ensure that technology can flow and that all countries can join and develop the digital economy to benefit their people.
What advice would you give women interested in pursuing a field in technology?
Don't ever think that you will not be able to follow developments, that you will not be able to use and get used to new technologies, applications and processes. Take it from someone who started her career in the age of telexes and the beginning of faxes, who had to learn to type to be able to get her work done on a computer and who immediately downloaded ChatGPT app to start playing with artificial intelligence. There is nothing (so far) that the human brain can not understand and a lot more challenging changes will come our way. But this is a wonderful opportunity to contribute, in our modest way, to greater and broader change.