APEC Ministers today called for increased cooperation between members and other key stakeholders to promote widespread access and secure use of information and communications technology (ICT) to further drive economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region.
A roadmap for achieving this was articulated in the St Petersburg Declaration adopted at the conclusion of their meeting here on Wednesday. Ministers urged the APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group, tasked with spearheading this effort as part of APEC’s 2010-2015 Telecommunications Strategic Action Plan, to focus on the following areas:
- Developing ICT to promote new growth
- Enhancing socio-economic activities through the use of ICT
- Promoting a safe and trusted ICT environment
- Promoting regional economic integration
- Strengthening cooperation in the ICT sector
Information technologies are critical to boosting economic growth in today’s 21st global economy noted Nikolay Nikiforov, Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation who chaired the ministerial meeting.
“Year by year, we witness an increase in globalization and in the influence of information and communications technologies on world economic development,” Nikiforov said.
“These technologies can decrease transaction costs related to the search and exchange of information and provide additional capacities for economic growth.”
APEC Ministers agreed that widespread access and use of ICT remains the crucial driver for further integration in the APEC region and is closely related to bridging the digital divide and the provision of broadband which can improve trade opportunities and supply-chains.
This increases the importance of public and private sector coordination to promote network integrity and resilience and create stronger, more secure ICT infrastructure, they concurred.
“ICT development, access and use is fundamental to linking APEC economies and markets closer together,” said APEC Secretariat Executive Director, Ambassador Muhamad Noor.
“Focusing on promoting safer and more trusted ICT environments and strengthening cooperation in the ICT sector are central to this discussion within APEC.”
The forward implementation of APEC’s Telecommunications Strategic Action Plan includes the promotion of concrete initiatives the can improve cyber security and ICT proficiency to achieve members’ shared ICT objectives.
“Ensuring universally accessible ICT infrastructure and services will not only contribute to bridging the digital divide, but will also help extend social and economic prosperity to all, thereby contributing significantly to inclusive growth,” Noor said.
The results of the 9th APEC Telecommunications and Information Ministerial Meeting will be reported during the 2012 APEC Leaders’ Meeting in Vladivostok on 8-9 September.