The purpose of this paper is to present an overview of regional progress in implementing the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). Survey data collected in 2013 from ESCAP countries, and publicly available data suggest that there has been progress in the past decade towards achieving the WSIS objectives. However, progress is incomplete, and in some instances the digital divide has actually increased as more advanced countries have surged ahead in implementation of WSIS objectives.
The 2013 edition of the Statistical Yearbook presents concise analyses highlighting major achievements and challenges for the 53 regional ESCAP member States and the five subregions in promoting economic prosperity, social inclusion and environmental sustainability. These analyses are supported with the most up-to-date and comparable data for over 300 indicators covering 32 topics, grouped into eight themes: demographic trends, health, education and knowledge, poverty and insecurity, women’s empowerment, environment, economy, and connectivity.
The Asia-Pacific region is becoming a significant driver of global economic growth. In 2010, the region’s developing countries grew at a rate of 8.8 per cent compared to 2.7 per cent for the world’s developed economies. In the region, mobile telephony and broadband internet in particular are bringing unprecedented digital opportunities that are transforming societies. However, a number of gaps, particularly in infrastructure, need to be addressed to ensure that these digital opportunities do not engender a digital divide, thereby accelerating regional inequities.