Asia-Pa­cific coun­tries en­dorse mas­ter­plan to de­velop seam­less re­gional broad­band con­nec­tiv­ity

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Bangkok (ESCAP News) – Se­nior gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives from more than 35 Asia-Pa­cific coun­tries ended three days of talks in Bangkok this week with over­whelm­ing sup­port to de­velop seam­less re­gional con­nec­tiv­ity to in­crease the avail­abil­ity, re­li­a­bil­ity and af­ford­abil­ity of broad­band In­ter­net for all.

The in­au­gu­ral Com­mit­tee on In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Tech­nol­ogy (ICT), Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy and In­no­va­tion (STI), con­vened by the United Na­tions Eco­nomic and So­cial Com­mis­sion for Asia and the Pa­cific (ESCAP), en­dorsed the Mas­ter Plan and Re­gional Co­op­er­a­tion Frame­work Doc­u­ment for the Asia-Pa­cific In­for­ma­tion Su­per­high­way which aims to es­tab­lish and strengthen a re­gional net­work be­tween land and un­der­sea-based ICT in­fra­struc­ture.

Coun­tries in the re­gion ad­di­tion­ally rec­og­nized the need to de­velop STI pol­icy pri­or­i­ties and fo­cus ar­eas to ef­fec­tively har­ness its po­ten­tial to­wards achiev­ing the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGs). The Com­mit­tee high­lighted the im­por­tance of en­sur­ing that those most vul­ner­a­ble are not left be­hind in the re­gion’s in­no­va­tion and tech­nol­ogy rev­o­lu­tion.

“Through this Com­mit­tee we have built a solid foun­da­tion from which we as a re­gion can har­ness sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion to to­gether meet the am­bi­tions of the SDGs,” said United Na­tions Un­der-Sec­re­tary- Gen­eral and Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary of ESCAP Dr. Shamshad Akhtar in her clos­ing re­marks at the Com­mit­tee. Dr. Akhtar added, “ICT and STI are trans­form­ing our so­ci­ety on a daily ba­sis. We must be ready to uti­lize them to solve our de­vel­op­ment chal­lenges and en­able our so­ci­eties to pros­per. ICT and STI can be the en­gine for fu­ture growth and a driver of re­gional co­op­er­a­tion.”

The first ses­sion of the Com­mit­tee also re­viewed ways to re­duce the digital divide in the re­gion and uti­lize space ap­pli­ca­tions and ICT as vi­tal tools for ad­dress­ing dis­as­ter risk re­duc­tion and re­cov­ery. Other key events held along­side the Com­mit­tee ses­sion this week in­cluded the Asia-Pa­cific Re­gional In­ter­net and De­vel­op­ment Di­a­logue, the Re­gional Meet­ing on Open Gov­ern­ment Data, the Meet­ing on the Re­gional Re­view of the World Sum­mit on the In­for­ma­tion So­ci­ety (WSIS) Ac­tion Line Im­ple­men­ta­tion, and the Ex­pert Group Meet­ing on Digital Con­nec­tiv­ity for Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment.

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