Asean vows to boost digital transformation cooperation at Boracay conference
MANILA, Philippines — Member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have agreed to intensify cooperation in accelerating the region’s digital transformation in order to further support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 3rd Asean Digital Ministers’ Meeting and Related Meetings (ADGMIN) held in Boracay Island in Aklan province from February 9-110 tackled the region’s progress in the second year of the Asean Digital Masterplan (ADM) 2025, which aims to transform Southeast Asia into a “leading digital community and economic bloc.”
In their “Boracay Digital Declaration,” Asean member states approved further strengthening cooperation to “accelerate the region’s digital transformation efforts to support the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF), and to make sure that Member States have access to best practices and strategies to stimulate better use of digital services for COVID-19 mitigation and recovery efforts.”
The ACRF, as defined by Asean, serves as the consolidated exit strategy from the COVID-19 crisis, which enumerates the region’s response through the different stages of recovery by focusing on key sectors and segments of society that are most affected by the pandemic, setting broad strategies, and identifying measures for recovery in line with sectoral and regional priorities.
Each member state in the meeting vowed to cooperate through a people-centered, relevant, and sustainable approach, in order to adapt to the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to increase the quality and use of e-government services and solutions that can connect businesses, and supporting innovation to facilitate cross-border trade and affordable access.
Asean likewise recognized during the two- day meeting the need to enhance collaborations and programs in developing analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and digital skills needed to close skill gaps in the region, noting the completion of the Artificial Intelligence Landscape Study Report, and welcoming the development of an Asean Guide on AI Governance and Ethics in 2023.
Member states also expressed their plans to deepen cooperation with Dialogue Partners and the International Telecommunication Union in enhancing digital cooperation, developing human resources, exploring emerging technologies for adoption, and improving the regional capacity in securing cyberspace in the implementation of the ADM2025.
Additionally, they reiterated their commitments to pursue policy and regulatory dialogue with all Dialogue and Development Partners, calling for greater participation from the private sector to jointly develop digital infrastructure and services to support the growth of digitally-enabled innovative solutions to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth in the region.
Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John Uy was the chair of the 3rd ADGMIN while Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Health of Singapore was the vice-chair.
The next ADGMIN is scheduled to be held in Singapore in January or February 2024.
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