Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to express my appreciation to Mr. Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of ITU, for inviting me to speak at this very important Summit.
As a key driver of the technology revolution underway, the Asia-Pacific region has made significant progress in the implementation of the WSIS Action Lines.
However, there is mounting evidence that as digital became the default, many Asia-Pacific developing countries were left further behind.
The Asia-Pacific region remains the most digitally divided in the world.
In this respect, I wish to highlight three key messages:
First, on the supply side, we have a critical window of opportunity to scale up investments in digital connectivity infrastructure, particularly to address cross-border infrastructure gaps for seamless connectivity.
Second, on the demand side, we need to continue to promote digital literacy for all – the youth, the elderly, women, girls, the disabled and especially those living in rural areas.
In this regard, through the various training programmes offered by ESCAP’s Asian and Pacific Training Centre for ICT for Development (APCICT), we have been strengthening the human and institutional capacities across the region.
Third, the pandemic has opened up a unique opportunity to further strengthen partnerships with governments, business sectors and social groups at regional and global levels.
Only by working together can we ensure that these technological breakthroughs will work in an inclusive and sustainable manner.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Drawing from these three key messages, I am pleased to inform you that the 78th session of the Commission last week adopted the “Bangkok declaration on a common agenda to advance sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific.” The members and associate members of the Commission committed to improving digital cooperation and recognized that the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway initiative could provide one of the useful regional platforms to promote digital cooperation.
In this regard, the Asia-Pacific Digital Ministerial Conference 2022, scheduled in November and co-organized with the Government of the Republic of Korea, will certainly help boost multi-stakeholder partnerships on innovative digital technologies.
I reconfirm our joint commitment to the effective implementation of the WSIS Action Lines working together with members States and all stakeholders.
Thank you very much.