Asia-Pacifc ICT Ministers Set Agenda to Enhance the Future of Digital Connectivity

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26 June 2019, Apia Samoa. Ministers responsible for Information and Communication Technology (ICT), from 32 Member and Associate Member nations of the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT), met in Singapore this week to adopt the “Singapore Statement on Co-creating a Connected Digital Future in the Asia-Pacific”.

The Singapore Statement sets out the vision of a connected digital future through the development of telecommunication and ICT in the Asia-Pacific region.

The last meeting for Asia-Pacific ICT Ministers was last held in Brunei Darussalam in 2014 and this weeks meeting was crucial given accelerated developments of ICT over the  past five years.

The recently adopted Singapore Statement identifies five new Strategic Goals to guide efforts to build a connected digital future in the Asia-Pacific region:

A. Digital Transformation which aims to provide an enabling environment for telecommunication/ICT development through improved telecommunication/ICT connectivity and access for citizens and businesses so as to accelerate the digital transformation of the economy and society, which will in turn contribute to socio-economic growth, innovation and better delivery of public services;

B. Digital Innovation and Creativity which aims to create an environment which is conducive for digital innovation and creativity, by introducing policies and frameworks that encourage emerging technologies, accelerate the growth of digital entrepreneurship, and promote international standards on telecommunication/ICT;

C. Digital Community which aims to make telecommunication/ICT accessible to everyone in our communities, including in the unserved and underserved geographical regions and people from vulnerable groups and to embrace diversity, through inclusive policies and the development of reliable telecommunication/ICT infrastructure;

D. Digital Trust which aims to encourage trusted and secured systems which promote the protection of data privacy, facilitate free and secure flow of information, and are resilient towards cyber threats, so that people can engage in online activities with confidence and openly share information online; and

E. Digital Capacity Building and Partnerships which aim to build the digital literacy and skills of all citizens so that they will be well-equipped to work collaboratively, both within the telecommunication/ICT sector as well as across other sectors, towards co-creating a connected digital future in the region.

Madam Halimah Yacob, President of the Republic of Singapore, hosted the Gala Dinner of the Asia-Pacific ICT Ministerial Meeting 2019 at the Istana on 25 June 2019 to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the founding of the APT.

The APT was established in 1979 with 15 Members, including Singapore. It has since expanded to 38 Members, 4 Associate Members and 136 Affiliate Members. The APT is the only treaty-based intergovernmental organisation in the field of telecommunications/ICTs created for the Asia-Pacific region. It has played a key role in fostering regional cooperation and facilitating developmental initiatives, forums and capacity building programmes to support these developments.

Minister S. Iswaran, Chairman of the Asia-Pacific ICT Ministerial Meeting, said, “The Asia-Pacific ICT Ministerial Meeting is timely as we approach the crossroad of a rapidly evolving telecommunications/ICT and digital landscape. It also coincides with the growing prominence of the Asia-Pacific as a global economic powerhouse and an engine of growth. Singapore is honoured to host the Asia-Pacific ICT Ministerial Meeting this year, in conjunction with the 40th Anniversary of the founding of the APT. Just like all 40 year-olds, the APT is in its prime – wise with experience yet still beaming with energy to brave the new frontiers.”

Ms. Areewan Haorangsi, Secretary General of APT, said, “The Singapore Statement will provide the guidelines for the next five years to lead the APT including all APT members and the APT Secretariat to co-create a connected digital future in the Asia-Pacific. Concrete action plans will be drawn up through the Strategic Plan of the APT to be adopted by the subsequent sessions of the General Assembly while the implementation of the Plans will be closely monitored. I believe this Singapore Statement will facilitate the promotion of widespread digital adoption in the region by providing fair and equitable access to ICT services for all citizens in our communities.”

The meeting was organised by the APT and hosted by the Ministry of Communications and Information and the Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore, at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Center in Singapore on 25-26 June 2019.

For more information about the Asia-Pacific ICT Ministerial Meeting 2019, please log on to https://www.apt.int/2019-APT-MM.