It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Seventeenth Session of the Governing Council of the Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development (APCICT).
I would like to congratulate all Council members who have been elected by the Commission for a new term. I am also pleased to see observer countries in attendance today.
The deliberation by this Council is crucial to guiding the Centre in carrying out its human capacity development work in Asia and the Pacific.
We have often heard how the COVID-19 pandemic hasaccelerated the digital transformation of many countries. And how such digital transformation has largely been uneven, especially in Asia and the Pacific, where persistent gaps in ICT infrastructure and connectivity are shutting people out from transformative digital opportunities.
While access and connectivity remain crucial challenges in the region, we also see persistent divides in human and institutional capacities for digital development.
As the regional arm of the United Nations, ESCAP is committed to shaping regional action by providing a platform – through the Asia Pacific Information Superhighway – for policy dialogue, cooperation and partnership to bridge the digital divide and accelerate transformation through digital connectivity, digital technology and data use in the Asia-Pacific region.
And we continue to assist member States in addressing institutional and human capacity gaps in harnessing digital technologies for sustainable development through the work of this Centre.
The deliberations today will be instrumental to how APCICT can enhance and strengthen the delivery and impact of its work. While the Centre has made significant contributions to promoting ICT capacity development, there are areas where we can further improve, not only in programme development and delivery but, more importantly, in ascertaining the impact of the Centre’s activities.
We count on your collective wisdom to set the strategic direction, priorities and programmes for APCICT’s work in the future.
In closing, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Korea for its steadfast support of the Centre.
I would also like to thank other members of the Commission who have provided valuable voluntary contributions, as well as programme partners for their financial and in-kind support to implement the Centre’s programmes.
Finally, I convey my gratitude to the Governing Council for its continued leadership and guidance to the Centre.
I wish all of you a successful meeting.