Excellencies, distinguished delegates,
Executive Officers of Business, colleagues from development partners, UN agencies and international organizations, ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon. It is indeed my great pleasure to welcome you all to the Asia-Pacific Digital Transformation Forum: High-level Policy Dialogues on Our Digital Future.
I would like to begin by extending my sincere appreciation to the representatives of member States, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Vice-Ministers, Ambassadors, high ranking officials. About 30 member States confirmed their participation both in this High-level Dialogues as well as First Asia-Pacific Digital Ministerial Conference.
A warm welcome also to the executive officials of participating international organizations. If I may I would like to recognize representatives from APT, ADB, IOM, UNFPA, UNITAR, UN-Women, GSMA, the International Think Tank on LLDCs, and the eWorldwide Group.
A special welcome as well as to the business leaders, I would like to recognize representatives from Amazon, Coupang, Naver, KT and Samsung Electronics, Tsarka, and Uz-infor-com. A warm welcome to all of you for participating and attending today. I appreciate your interest and commitment to furthering digital cooperation through public-private partnerships.
This event comes just prior to the First Asia-Pacific Digital Ministerial Conference. It is a valuable opportunity to have a high-level multistakeholder dialogue aimed at strategically sharing insights, experiences, views, opportunities as well as identifying initiatives that will help us build our common digital future together.
The “digital acceleration and transformation” unleashed especially triggered further by the COVID-19 pandemic—- of course, it is not the only cause, but it has speed up this process-- has clearly demonstrated the links between digitalization and the benefits it offers to development.
We have to be mindful that there are risks associated with rapid development in the areas of governance, ICT governance, and digital governance. And another concern in our region is the digital divide across countries, within countries, across the segments of the society and within the society.
Strengthening digital capacity for the adoption of frontier technologies and promoting multistakeholder digital cooperation in strategic areas of intervention will be key for the full realization of digital transformation.
Now is an opportune time given the potentials that it offers.
I would like to refer to our report launched during our Committee a few months ago, the Asia-Pacific Digital Transformation Report 2022, one of our flagship publications, which finds that digital revolution and innovation by the business sector are the key driving forces for digital transformation and sustainable development.
I am pleased that we have the opportunity to gather together to share our thoughts, and I especially look forward to hearing from the insightful knowledge and depth of experience of the practitioners - the executive officers representing global IT companies at the forefront of the digital big acceleration and transformation.
In this connection, I am pleased to inform you that the ESCAP-led Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway, a region-wide intergovernmental cooperation platform, is being scaled up.
Members and associate members of ESCAP endorsed the Action Plan in September during the ICTSTI Committee in Bangkok, and the initiative will serve as the regional blueprint to facilitate cooperative among member States and among multiple stakeholders on digital transformation.
We look forward to welcoming industry leaders as contributors to implementing the initiative and exchanging views and experiences.
ESCAP stands ready to work closely with all of you in successful implementation of this initiatives.