Third session of the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway (AP-IS) Steering Committee and WSIS Regional Review

26 Aug 2019 to 29 Aug 2019
Bangkok, Thailand
By invitation only

An ESCAP study highlighted that 18 ESCAP member States had less than 2 per cent of their populations with fixed-broadband subscriptions in 2016. Recent ITU data for 2017 shows no improvement for these countries. In the case of mobile-broadband subscription, 16 ESCAP member States have ⅓ or less of their respective populations with access to mobile-broadband subscriptions in 2017.

The root causes of the region’s digital divide are multi-dimensional. ESCAP studies have found various constraining factors, including a limited regulatory and policy environment, lack of institutional and individual capacity, digital literacy, inefficient Internet and network management; limited affordability of broadband services; and investment in natural-disaster resilient ICT infrastructure. As society and economy increasingly depend on reliable, affordable and resilient broadband infrastructure to deliver information and services, the lack of broadband access is expected to constrain the member countries’ socioeconomic development and efforts towards the achievement of SDGs.

In response, ESCAP member States launched the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway (AP-IS) initiative to enhance the availability, affordability and resilience of regional broadband infrastructure as a foundation to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since its official launching in 2017, wide ranging research and analyses, regional policy dialogues and capacity development were undertaken, which led to the ongoing development and implementation of subregional implementation plans of AP-IS. In this context, ESCAP member countries have decided to endorse the updated AP-IS Master Plan and Regional Cooperation Framework Document for 2019-2022 and continue the implementation of the initiative through the development and implementation of the subregional implementation plans, as mandated in ESCAP resolution 75/7. The focus areas of the subregional implementation plans are closely aligned with the 7 strategic initiatives of the Master Plan 2019-2022, such as cross-border connectivity in Central Asia (strategic initiative 1), Internet traffic management in Southeast Asia (strategic initiative 2), resilient infrastructure in the Pacific (strategic initiative 4) and policy update in Northeast and South Asia (strategic initiative 5).

In this context, the 3rd session of the AP-IS Steering Committee is planned to review the latest research findings, current implementation of the Master Plan 2019-2022 by member countries, ESCAP and partner organizations and discuss emerging trends and technologies which affect the implementation and agree on follow-up actions.

Objectives

The third session of the AP-IS Steering Committee meeting aims to achieve the below objectives
a) Enhance awareness and knowledge of government officials and partners on latest research, emerging trends and technologies, including on Internet traffic management and transport and energy-co-deployment, for evidence-based policy-making at national, subregional and regional levels,
b) Review and discuss the AP-IS business plan which aims to guide the implementation of the AP-IS Master Plan 2019-2022 and Regional Cooperation Framework Document 2019-2022
c) Deepen regional cooperation and policy dialogue in the development and implementation of the AP-IS subregional implementation plans and ongoing project activities,
d) Facilitate information sharing and networking among government officials, academia, private sector and other stakeholders, including through the AP-IS Transmission Map,
e) Expand partnerships among government, academia, private sector and civil society organizations for the development of joint initiatives for AP-IS implementation.

Implementing and Collaborating Entities

The 3rd session of the AP-IS Steering Committee will be held in conjunction with four key side-events, to be led by ESCAP’s Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction Division, in collaboration with ITU and the Internet Society, as detailed below.

  1. AP-IS Steering Committee, Third Session (26-27 August 2019): Government officials from Ministry of Communications as well as other relevant stakeholders will be invited to attend;
  2. Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Committee, Sixth Session (28 August 2019): Participants are invited to attend the opening session of the Committee;
  3. Expert Group Meeting on Internet Traffic Management among the CLMV countries (28 June 2019); a half-day session for Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam;
  4. WSIS Regional Review (28 August 2019): Participants to attend a half-day session on WSIS regional review, led by ITU;
  5. Asia-Pacific Regional Community Networks Summit (29 August 2019): Participants to attend full-day event, led by the Internet Society; and
  6. AP-IS Exhibition on ICT for Sustainable Development throughout the week.

The third session of the AP-IS Steering Committee will be held at the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC), Bangkok, from 26 to 29 of August 2019.

For any questions, please send to, email: escap-ids@un.org.

Presentations