The 2018 Regional Development Forum for Asia-Pacific was held in Bangkok, Thailand on 21-22 May 2018 under the theme "ICTs for SDGs: towards the implementation of WTDC-17 Outcomes".
The Forum was organized by ITU and hosted by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES) of Thailand.
At the Forum, participants discussed a four-year action plan to carry out the activities of the Buenos Aires Action Plan and, in particular, the implementation of the five Asia-Pacific Regional Initiatives for the period 2018-2021 as adopted by WTDC-17. The initiatives address the special needs of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS); digital society; digital connectivity; the regulatory environment; and security and resilience.
"I am happy to note that the Regional Initiatives for the Asia-Pacific region are well thought to address issues deriving from population increase and urbanization as well as the special needs of Small Island Developing States and their vulnerability to natural disasters," said Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau. "It is through their implementation that we can accelerate progress in all sectors of life, make our communities smarter and empower women, youth and people with disabilities."
Dr Pichet Durongkaveroj, Minister of Digital Economy and Society of Thailand said, "digital technologies play a crucial role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. However, a lot of work remains to be done in order to harness the opportunities and benefits made possible by these technologies. Collaboration among the different stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific region is key to promoting equitable access to ICTs."
Participants at the Forum also discussed how to strengthen collaboration between the Regional Initiatives and the activities of ITU-D Study Groups, ITU Academy, ITU Centres of Excellence, Academia and membership.
Regional Development Forums (RDFs) provide an opportunity for high-level dialogue between the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), governments and regulators from ITU Member States and Sector Members.