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19 August 2020 | Open meeting

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Asia and the Pacific is a key driver of a technological revolution that is profoundly transforming the way we live, work and relate to one another. At the same time, the region is also one of the most digitally divided, with less than 14 per cent of the population connected to affordable and reliable high-speed Internet. Around 52 per cent of the region’s population remains offline. As the COVID-19 new normal has seen our reliance on connectivity grow exponentially, the digital divide threatens to become the new face of inequality – exacerbating not only income inequality, but also inequality of opportunity.

This Regional Conversation will discuss pathways to digital inclusion and innovation drawing from the perspectives of a wide range of stakeholders, focusing on the following questions:

What investments and initiatives are needed for the deployment of next generation infrastructure networks and the transformation of societies into digital societies? What is the role of international cooperation in bringing universal, safe, affordable and reliable access to the Internet by 2030, as called for by the UN Secretary-General?

  1. How can we protect the planet through innovative technology applications?
  2. What is the near future cluster of technology innovation that will help countries diversify their economy and achieve sustainable development? 
  3. What is necessary to ensure that digitally driven growth is inclusive, and what is the role of international technology platforms?
  4. How could public private partnerships through e-commerce be further strengthened for enhanced societal well-being?

Opening Remarks

  • Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary of ESCAP
  • Mr. Fabrizio Hochschild, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations


  • Dr. Mukai Chiaki, M.D., Ph.D., Astronaut, Senior Advisor, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
  • H.E Mr. Mohamed Maleeh Jamal, Minister Communication, Science and Technology, Maldives
  • Ambassador (ret.) Ted Osius, Vice President for Government Affairs and Public Policy, Asia-Pacific, Google
  • Mr. Sami Farhad, Senior Director, Globalization Office, Alibaba


  • Ms. Tiziana Bonapace, Director, Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction Division

>> See other Regional Conversation Series on Building Back Better events

for more information, please contact

Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction Division [email protected]