“Building inclusive, resilient and sustainable societies through digital government” Launch of the 2018 UN E-Government Survey in Asia and the Pacific

30 Aug 2018
Bangkok, Thailand

As noted in the foreword of Mr. Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, in the 2018 edition of the UN E-Government Survey, “Digital government has ushered in significant and enduring changes in the way people live and interact with each other, their environment, and public services. The 2018 Survey highlights a persistent positive global trend towards higher levels of e-government development. It examines how digital technologies and innovations are impacting the public sector and changing people’s everyday lives.”

With its overarching and unimaginable reach, digital technologies have the potential to advance or exacerbate social inclusion, providing opportunities or challenges to the implementation of “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (A/RES/70/1), adopted by all countries at the United Nations in September 2015. Connectivity and access to new technologies, however, remain elusive for some regions and countries, especially the most vulnerable, including in the Asia and Pacific region, and among the small island developing States (SIDS). In addition, there is a need to consider the inherent new and unprecedented risks such as cybersecurity risks.

Contributing to the global report, the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) highlights that the use of information and communications technology (ICT) during all phases of disaster risk management presents substantial opportunities to reduce disaster risks, enhance coping capabilities, and provide inclusive preparedness and response. Several regional cases studies in the global survey illustrate the importance of integrating emerging innovations in digital technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), social media, space applications and geospatial information for e-resilience efforts. The report also reiterates the urgency of embracing e-resilience in e-government initiatives to ensure undisrupted services and information to citizens before, during and after disasters.