Development of ICT in the Pacific has for some time been isolated and uncoordinated with agencies working in silos and with no clear cohesive architectural design that is cost efficient. Noting commitments made by Heads of State at the Third UN Conference on Small Island Developing States held in Samoa during 1-4 September 2014, particularly the S.A.M.O.A Pathway where they reaffirmed commitments to sustainable development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Within the SAMOA Pathway, leaders recognized that the ability of the SIDS to sustain high levels of economic growth and job creation has been affected by the ongoing adverse impacts of the global economic crisis, declining foreign direct investment, trade imbalances, increased indebtedness, the lack of adequate transportation, energy and information and communications technology infrastructure networks, limited human and institutional capacity and the inability to integrate effectively into the global economy.
It is also worthy to note the capacity development effort on ICT-enabled governance for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Pacific and the AIMS Region, which has been made by United Nations Project Office on Governance (UNPOG), Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) since 2014. Starting with the customized research on e-government for promoting sustainable development in SIDS in the first half of 2014, UNPOG has thereby co-organized a series of capacity development events for SIDS in collaboration with DPADM and other institutions, such as capacity development workshop during 2014 UN Public Service Forum, Special Event titled “ICT and E-Government in SIDS: Responding to the SAMOA Pathway Call for Action” during the Sixty-ninth Session of the United Nations General Assembly in November 2014, the training workshop for SIDS in February 2015 in collaboration with National Information Society Agency (NIA) of the Republic of Korea, and the workshop on sustainable development and disaster risk management using e-government in March 2015. In particular, UNPOG has received strong requests from SIDS to develop e-government framework for SIDS during the February Training Workshop, and has accordingly requested the support from NIA to develop the customized framework for SIDS. The customized e-government framework is expected to be developed and completed in late 2015 and subsequently UNPOG plans to organize the capacity development workshop for SIDS in late 2015 or early 2016 in order to support SIDS to effectively implement this customised framework.
Back in 2009, the Pacific Leaders at the Cairns 40th Pacific Islands Forum in 2009 called for the Pacific Regional Digital Strategy (2005-2010) to be reviewed and updated. In response to the request, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), commissioned a review of the Digital Strategy in early 2010 and drafted the 2010 Framework for Action on ICT for Development in the Pacific (FAIDP) for the years 2010-2015, which was later adopted at the Pacific ICT Ministerial Meeting 2011 held in Noumea, New Caledonia.
The 2010 FAIDP outlines seven themes for action aimed at effectively utilising ICT for sustainable development, governance, and improving the livelihood of Pacific communities. The FAIDP identified targets and various milestones. The FAIDP was intended to guide actions, inform policy direction, enhance funding decisions and support the implementation of national policies and plans.
The themes identified within the FAIDP are:
- Leadership, governance, coordination and partnerships
- ICT policy, legislation and regulatory frameworks
- ICT human capacity building
- ICT infrastructure and access
- International connectivity
- Cyber security and ICT applications
- Financing, monitoring and evaluation
The Review of the Framework was originally scheduled to take place in mid-2013, however due to the changing of the Chair of the CROP Working Group for ICT from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) to the University of the South Pacific (USP) in early 2013, there was a notable delay in conducting the Review of the Framework as appropriate human resources had to be hired to staff the Department that would oversee the process. This has taken almost a year from the date since the required time frame. Following the recruitment of appropriate staff around the end of June, 2014, the CROP Working Group meeting was convened to commence the Review process.
The Review of the FAIDP is being carried out by a Sub Working Group of the ICT CROP Working Group which is led by the Secretariat (currently the University of the South Pacific since it took over from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community as Chair of the Working Group). The approach which the Working Group used to review the FAIDP was to monitor and evaluate the progress of the Targets and Milestones that were defined under the 7 themes through desk research, consultations, surveys and empirical analysis and assessment based on certain identified indicators. The approach to evaluating this is both quantitative and qualitative.