Executive Secretary advocates for digital inclusion to reduce inequality gaps on Singapore visit

26 Jun 2019

From 24 to 26 June, ESCAP Executive Secretary Armida Alisjahbana visited Singapore to participate at the Asia-Pacific ICT Ministerial Meeting. Addressing delegates, Ms. Alisjahbana emphasized the need for better broadband infrastructure, stronger partnership among stakeholders, and greater regional cooperation to narrow the digital divide in the Asia-Pacific region. “We must find ways to make emerging digital technologies and their vast applications inclusive, or we may soon experience a runaway widening of the digital divide that inevitably would cascade into many forms of social, economic and political inequalities, given the pervasiveness of digital connectivity in our lives,” stated by Ms. Alisjahbana.

Ms. Alisjahbana also participated in the Smart Nation Summit, where she presented on how smart technology can help close the inequality gap. She advocated, “if smart technology is to help build smart nations, it needs to help close the inequality gap - by empowering and including those most at risk of being left behind.”

In a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore H.E. Heng Swee Keat, the Executive Secretary highlighted multilateralism as a key element in deepening regional cooperation for the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development.

Ms. Alisjahbana also met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore H.E. Vivian Balakrishnan, voicing their strong support for renewed ASEAN-UN engagement, as well as underscoring priorities for regional collaboration, including on smart cities and trade facilitation.

In line with the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway (AP-IS) initiative, the Executive Secretary and Minister of Posts and Telecommunications of Cambodia H.E Tram Iv Tek recommitted to closing gaps in Information Communication Technology connectivity in the country to ensure digital inclusion for all.

On the sidelines, she also held bilateral meetings with key government representatives, including H.E. You Young Min, Minister of Science and ICT, Republic of Korea; and H.E. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Attorney-General & Minister of Economy, Civil-Service and Communications, Fiji.