WSIS Regional Group Meeting: emerging technologies with no one left behind in Asia and the Pacific
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
The Asia-Pacific region is one of the regions going through the wide-ranging digital transformation. Driven by the development and rollout of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, Big Data, IoT and blockchain, the region has been benefitting from more accurate data, analysis, and insights into social, economic and environmental development for informed decision making.
However, the development is not taking place at the same speed in all countries. In fact, it seems that the divide between advanced and developing countries is widening. While the underlying digital divide among countries has not been addressed fast enough, new technological capabilities are driving the advanced countries further ahead.
This is a particularly worrisome trend, as emerging technologies are bandwidth intensive and without robust, affordable and resilient broadband infrastructure, the sustainable diffusion of emerging technologies might become increasingly difficult. Furthermore, ICT serves as a meta-infrastructure, supporting other infrastructure, such as digital trade, intelligent transport systems, smart grids, while acting as a development enabler in all sectors, such as health, education, disaster management and agriculture. Unless addressed urgently as a development priority, the existing digital divide is expected to widen and have cascading impacts on other socioeconomic sectors, constraining the efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) with no one left behind in the region.
In response, the region's member countries have launched several initiatives, such as the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway (AP-IS) as a platform for regional policy dialogues and consensus building. Regional cooperation also enables multi-stakeholder consultations and coordination as well as sharing of knowledge, good practices and lessons learned among the countries and various stakeholders.
Capitalizing on multi-stakeholder partnerships, this session aims to highlight regional cooperation and regional initiatives as one dimension of narrowing the digital divide and implementing the WSIS action lines for the ultimate objective of achieving SDGs. The speakers of the session include representatives of member countries, international organizations, the private sector and academia and discuss the regional challenges and opportunities and effective means and mechanisms of regional cooperation in addressing them.
In this background, the session is structured as follows:
- Opening remarks and objectives of the session
- Introduction of the Panelists
- Presentations and interventions by Panelists
- Questions and answers
The session aims to promote interactive discussions from the participants and explore ways to strengthen regional cooperation as well as its linkage to national and global level initiatives and activities for synergies.
Dr. S.Ismail Shah, ITU Area Representative for Southeast Asia and other Member States in Asia and the Pacific
- Ms. Atsuko Okuda, Chief, Information and Communications Technology and Development Section, ESCAP
- Mr. Masanori Kondo, Deputy Secretary-General, Asia-Pacific Telecommunity
- Mr. Angel González Sanz, Chief, Science, Technology and ICT Branch, UNCTAD
- Mr. Vincenzo Aquaro, Chief, Digital Government Branch, UN DESA
Session's link to WSIS Action Lines
- C1. The role of public governance authorities and all stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for development
- C2. Information and communication infrastructure
- C3. Access to information and knowledge
- C4. Capacity building
- C6. Enabling environment
- C11. International and regional cooperation
The session supports the regional dimensions of WSIS action line implementation with the focus on regional and national connectivity development and creation of an enabling environment.
Session's link to Sustainable Development Process
- Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
- Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
- Goal 17: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
The session focuses on regional cooperation as a means to accelerate the development