ITU Press Release: Connect Asia-Pacific Summit opens in Bangkok
Regional leaders forge common vision for smart, innovative and inclusive digital society in Asia
and the Pacific by 2020
Bangkok, 18 November 2013 – The Connect Asia-Pacific Summit convened today in Bangkok, bringing together Heads of State and Government, Ministers and industry leaders from the region, pushing forward a common vision for an inclusive, development-centred and innovative digital society: Asia-Pacific 2020; Smartly Digital.
The Connect Asia-Pacific Summit is organized by ITU in the framework of Connect the World Summits to mobilize human, financial and technical resources aimed at connecting the world through ICTs and facilitating investment, employment and broader social and economic development. It is the fifth and last in the series of Connect Summits, including the ITU Connect Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda in 2007; the ITU Connect CIS Summit in Minsk, Belarus in 2009; the Connect Arab States Summit in Doha, Qatar in 2012, and the Connect Americas Summit in Panama City in 2012.
The Prime Minister of Thailand, Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra was joined at the Summit by the President of Micronesia, the President of Nauru, the Prime Ministers of New Zealand, Pakistan, Tonga and Vanuatu, and the Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that the Asia-Pacific region is vast and diverse where many nations have experienced rapid economic growth and yet there is stark contrast in prosperity and development between high-income countries and the least developed. “I am pleased that this Summit will promote the development of innovative ICT infrastructure,” Mr Ban Ki-moon said in a video message. “ICTs have considerable potential to support sustainable and equitable economic and social development. They can accelerate our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Let us make the best use of technology to empower people with the information, knowledge and means to improve their lives.”
“This is a momentous event signifying the fruition of our commitment to mobilize human, financial and technical resources aimed at connecting the world and facilitating investment, employment and broader social and economic development,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré, addressing the Summit. “You are all unquestionably crucial players, gathered here to set the vision for Asia-Pacific 2020: Smartly DIGITAL, which is the acronym for ‘Digital Inclusive Green Innovative Transformative Affordable Living’.”
ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré noted that the Asia-Pacific region has shown extraordinary progress in connecting people, with mobile penetration across the region close to 90 per cent. Mobile cellular penetration in Thailand is now approaching 130 per cent. “This region’s extraordinary progress can be highlighted by the fact that seven out of the 25 top performers in ITU’s ICT Development Index are from the Asia-Pacific region,” he said, adding that the Connect Asia-Pacific Summit was meeting to ensure that everyone in the region can access the opportunities and markets provided in the digital world. “Despite this remarkable growth, however, we still have a long way to go, because almost two thirds of the world’s people – some 4.3 billion people – are still offline. In the Asia-Pacific region, just over 68 per cent of people still have no Internet access, and the situation for broadband is even more challenging. I firmly believe that we can succeed in achieving our mission to connect the world’s people – and that in doing so, we will see unprecedented social and economic improvement for all.”
The Connect Asia Pacific Summit will be followed by the flagship event, ITU Telecom World 2013, which will open at the same venue – the IMPACT Convention Centre – in Bangkok tomorrow, 19 November and run until 22 November 2013.
Speeches from the Opening Ceremony are available here
Videos and photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/itupictures/sets/72157637751840735/ of the event are available.
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