The role of ICT in the crisis’s period, accompanied with a large increase in internet usage and data traffic, caused by social distancing and a shift to on-line applications, services and tools of digital economy, is unprecedented. Various digital tools helped governments to slow down the spread of COVID-19 via, for example, through monitoring of people’s contacts, the real-time observation of quarantine periods, emergency communication and supporting overstretched healthcare systems. Internet access helped to firms, institutions, and individuals to continue business and study through restructuring their work towards remote mode of operation. In this regard, the policy framework should enable the space of digital resilience or e-resilience. As the third pillar of the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway (AP-IS), e-resilience is defined as the ability of ICT infrastructure systems to withstand, recover from, and change in the face of an external disturbance. In addition, e-resilience is concerned with utilizing ICT for societal resilience. These two aspects of e-resilience are inter-dependent and have gained in importance and political momentum. Overall, e-resilience has the potential to reduce disaster risks and improve disaster management, and it can be instrumental in reducing economic loss and preventing human casualties.
The 3rd Committee of ICT STI (2020) recognized that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has further demonstrated the importance of e-resilience and recommended to expand the regional collaboration to scale up broadband Internet capacities for the effective use of technological innovation. In addition, the Committee recognized the importance of collaborative actions to harness technology to address major challenges such as COVID-19 and welcomes collaborative multi-stakeholder efforts to forge technology alliances to that end.
To organize an e-resilience monitoring framework, IDD is offering several visualization approaches to illustrate the extent of the e-resilience readiness, namely, through e-resilience dashboard and maps. The ability to understand and measure e-resilience is a key component of successful disaster risk management and adaptation and the recovery period. Quantitative, indicator-based assessments of the e-resilience combine relevant ICT and DRR related indicators of performance into a single composite dashboard. IDD has grouped ICT indicators under four thematic cross-cutting areas to model the e-resilience framework, namely:
- ICT policy in different sectors
- ICT’s role in setting up new systems and applications
- ICTs’ role in data management
- ICT infrastructure as a physical foundation for the above
The Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development is an interagency initiative, a direct response to the request made by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) to produce official statistics to monitor the information society, that defines core indicators on a wide array of ICT-related fields, filling the gap in statistical methodologies and standards. The Partnership has increased the availability of statistics around the globe, however large data gaps remain in developing countries of Asia and the Pacific, hindering effective policymaking in ICT and other fields.
Held in two phases, in 2003 (Geneva) and in 2005 (Tunis), the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is an international coordination initiative that provides a platform to measure global progress towards achieving various ICT targets. ESCAP annually conducts the comprehensive regional review of the implementation of the WSIS action lines for the Asia-Pacific region, through consultations with line ministries and national statistics offices, and this review will feed into international efforts to develop a new framework for action on ICT for development.