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Internet Governance 5 April 2014

2014: A Year for the Asia Pacific’s Voice To Be Heard

2014 will be an important year for the Asia Pacific (APAC) countries, as the region’s increasing importance and voice in the global dialogue on ICT and Internet development will be felt. So it’s very timely that APAC countries will participate in two very important global International Telecommunication Union (ITU) meetings this year: the World Telecommunication Development Conference 2014 (WTDC-14) currently taking place in Dubai, and the upcoming ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2014 (PP-2014, in Busan, Korea at the end of October. Both of these meetings will set the tone and direction of future policies and programs, including incorporating the United Nations’ 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) as well as WSIS (World Summit on the Information Society) targets.

Creative Development Strategies and Ideas Needed!

Traditionally, the ITU D-Sector is a primary focus for most developing countries as it provides a forum for developing countries’ voices to be heard. Expectations therefore will be high this time for the WTDC-14 meeting in Dubai, following the last meeting in Hyderabad four years ago where important decisions and milestones were made about universal broadband development. For WTDC-14, the priorities have not changed but rather have expanded from WTDC-10, reflecting a growing appetite of the region for faster development and advancement, and for welcoming creative developmental strategies and ideas.

These topics need discussion today because of the extreme speed of connectivity. It took 125 years to connect the first 1 billion people using the fixed line telecommunications, and at significant cost; by contrast, wireless technology needed only nine years to connect to its first 1 billion and only two years for the next billion.

Keeping Pace or Leaping Forward?

The future cannot be any more promising but therein also lies the biggest challenge for many policy-makers here: to merely keep pace or leap forward? APAC is in the very cusp of a new golden age of growth through technology, and this future is in their hands. The promise of a new era also means the emergence of new social changes which will have far reaching implications than former technologies.

The Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) Secretariat and its 38 members in the APAC region have endorsed a common proposal for 2014, covering topics such as:

  • A long-term, sustainable development framework to address regional priorities in a holistic manner, including policies, governance, resources, technology, privacy, security and cyber law
  • Common views on threats, including cybersecurity issues such as DDoS attacks and surveillance, OTT-type services, digital divide, spectrum allocation, child safety and filtering
  • Common views on opportunities, including broadband access, public-private partnerships, content development, deployment and access, new technology and applications like Big Data and White Space

The Internet Society is committed to collaborating with partner organizations in every region of the world in order to increase access to the Internet and spur innovation, economic and social development. The Internet Society believes in a global, inclusive Internet that enables participation and innovation from all parts of the world. We look forward to participating in the WTDC to set priorities for the work of the Sector for the next four years.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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