Asia-Pacific countries meet to review and strengthen role of information and communications technology (ICT) for sustainable and inclusive regional development

Over 300 government representatives and development stakeholders from 35 Asia-Pacific countries are meeting in Incheon, Republic of Korea this week to review achievements in the use of information and communications technology (ICT) to promote sustainable and inclusive development in the region.

The Second Asia-Pacific Regional Forum on ICT Human Capacity Development: ‘Where are we, Where are we going and What will it take to fill the gap?’ is being organized from 24 to 28 October by the Incheon-based United Nations Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development (APCICT), a regional institute of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Participants will share national ICT human capacity development experiences, lessons learned and deliberate on ICT challenges and gaps in order to formulate a collaborative roadmap to enhance regional ICT human resource capacities.

While several Asia-Pacific countries are successfully using ICTs to address economic, social and environmental challenges, many others lack adequate access to ICTs. The Forum aims to promote understanding of the importance of building human capacity and formulating a regional consensus to bridge this intraregional digital divide.

“This Regional Forum is a timely event that will help sustain the ICT capacity successes of recent years and at the same time, work towards helping extend ICT benefits to all in the Asia-Pacific region and address emerging challenges,” … told the Forum.

Cyber security will be a focus area of the deliberations with participants discussing ways to develop capacities to respond effectively to regional and national cyber security threats. A Parallel Track event during the Forum will enhance regional cyber security capacities utilizing the APCICT flagship ICT human capacity development programme Academy of ICT Essentials for Government Leaders.
“The importance of building national and regional capacities to combat cyber threats is increasing, and will continue to do so as the Asia-Pacific becomes increasingly connected and integrated,” Mr. See-Joong Choi, Chairman, Korea Communication Commission told the Forum.

The Forum will also discuss opportunities to extend ICT for development (ICTD) human capacity building initiatives to young people, including through the APCICT Primer Series on ICTD for Youth which will be launched during a second Forum Parallel Track event involving university professors, deans and chancellors from the region.

“Today’s youth, are tomorrow leaders. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that the next generation has the tools and knowledge to effectively take on this role,” Dr. Hyeun-Suk Rhee, Director, APCICT told the Forum. A third Parallel Track event at the Forum will discuss and formulate recommendations to strengthen regional partnerships and improve knowledge sharing and dissemination of national and regional ICTD expertise.

“Establishing strong working partnerships at this Regional Forum will help us take the important step to develop a collaborative regional community of practice that effectively shares important ICT capacity building knowledge,” Yeong-Gil Song, Mayor of Incheon City told the Forum.

The Regional Forum marks the 5th Anniversary of APCICT which was set up to strengthen ESCAP member states’ capacities to use ICT for socio-economic development.