The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the world's socio-economic system and brought about many changes to how we live and do business. As a result, the Asia-Pacific region as in other parts of the world, saw significant improvements in digital connectivity and digital transformation. Digital connectivity and inclusion have become more critical than ever. However, not all countries in the Asia-Pacific region have benefited from digital transformation. The digital divide within and between countries in the region worsened during the pandemic.
ESCAP’s Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway initiative (AP-IS) is a region-wide intergovernmental platform that aims to accelerate digital transformation and bridge the digital divide by promoting digital connectivity, digital technology applications, and data use in the Asia Pacific region. On 1 September 2022, the fourth session of ESCAP’s Committee on Information and Communications Technology, Science, Technology, and Innovation endorsed the Action Plan for the Implementing the AP-IS 2022-2026, while in May 2022, the Commission adopted Resolution 78/1 in which member States committed to improve digital cooperation while recognizing that the AP-IS could be one of the useful regional platforms for the promotion of digital cooperation.
Digital transformation will continue even after the pandemic is over because the benefits have become clear. And Asia and the Pacific countries have been promoting digital transformation, considering it as a new opportunity factor. Consequently, this workshop is organized to identify good practices of digital connectivity and transformation as well as gaps and challenges in Asia-Pacific countries aligned with the three Working Groups of AP-IS. The key outcome is to agree on a follow-up project document development that addresses the challenges and gaps identified in the projects, in particular the ESCAP projects on “Strengthening digital connectivity and transformation for building back better post COVID-19 (Phase 1)” and “Promoting digital connectivity and seamless regional digital infrastructure for affordable broadband for all” and funded by the Government of China and the Ministry of Science and ICT of the Republic of Korea.
For further information, please contact the ICT and Development Section, ICT and Disaster Risk Reduction Division, ESCAP, e-mail: [email protected].