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The Regional Workshop was held from 20 to 22 September 2016 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Attended by more than 50 participants, including representatives of governments, international and regional organizations, non-governmental organizations and academia, the meeting discussed the emerging topic of resilient Information and Communications Technology (ICT) connectivity as a basis for the knowledge economy and knowledge-based development among the SPECA countries.

The meeting specifically addressed the broadband gaps which exist between SPECA countries and the rest of the ESCAP countries as well as among the SPECA countries. Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan were cited as leading the SPECA region, while Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan demonstrated slow growth. The meeting participants noted that the development of reliable, affordable and resilient broadband networks was a prerequisite for knowledge based development and knowledge economy.

The meeting also examined the natural hazards which impact on knowledge-based development and knowledge economy. The ESCAP study identified that the SPECA countries face risks associated with earthquake, floods and extreme weathers and the seismic risks are concentrated around populated areas. While disaster risk reduction (DRR) should be mainstreamed in all sectors, the meeting participants were informed that ICT as a sector was particularly important, as it is a critical infrastructure itself and is an enabler which support other socioeconomic development in society. In this context, the workshop examined various aspects of ICT for DRR, such as Internet of Things (IoT) for detecting hazards and personalizing responses and risk governance, while providing opportunities to member countries to share experience in promoting ICT for DRR and disaster response.
Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction Division [email protected]