The digital divide in Asia and the Pacific continues to widen over time. It affects ESCAP low-income countries (mostly LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS) which need ICT connectivity the most in their efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In response, ESCAP member countries recently endorsed the AP-IS Master Plan and Regional Cooperation Framework Document which provide a regional platform for key stakeholders to coordinate and collaborate towards expanding investment in developing missing fibre-optic networks and improving inclusive broadband access.
Information and communications technology (ICT) has been the driving force behind game-changing innovations and socioeconomic transformations, which are shaping our economy and society at multiple levels. New technological advancements, such as artificial intelligence, have been transforming the manufacturing and service sectors, and have ushered a plethora of innovations, which are changing the way people interact, work and live.
This working paper aims to provide data and update analysis on broadband connectivity, specifically in the area of broadband and telephony markets, domestic and international Internet connectivity as well as international bandwidth among 27 ESCAP member countries, namely Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Viet Nam.
Despite the widely reported phenomenal growth in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the Asia-Pacific region, a new study by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), has found that broadband capabilities and access are highly concentrated in East and North-East Asia.
Since 2010 when the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act was passed, the Philippines has been shifting its focus from disaster response to a holistic and proactive approach to disaster risk reduction (DRR) and disaster risk management (DRM), with the intent of making people more resilient to the effects of disasters.
This report highlighted some emerging technologies such as the use of Big Data for DRM purposes. It is one that is still being explored but has so far demonstrated immense potential. However, along with it come significant challenges that have to be overcome in order to truly benefit from real-time use of MNBD. Utilizing new sources of data such as MNBD and even social media for assisting in predicting emerging trends and shocks as well as for building greater resilience is still an emergent field.
The Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction Division (IDD) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has conducted a series of research on building e-resilience that examines the use of information and communications technology (ICT) for disaster risk reduction (DRR) in selected Asia-Pacific countries.
Disasters affect multiple facets of human life. Therefore, disaster risk management (DRM) requires multiple mechanisms across different silos in order to prepare for and deal with all types of disasters. The multiple mechanisms will most definitely require collaboration at the international or regional level, and coordination with government at the national and local levels, with community organizations and with individuals. In all these instances, effective communication is critical.