Making ICT affordable and available to Pacific Islanders, especially those living in rural communities, isolated areas and outer islands, was a key message at the opening of the Pacific Regional Information and Communication Technology (ICT) officials and ministers meeting.
Speaking to chief executive officers, directors and senior government officials who have gathered in Nukualofa, Tonga, the Minister for Information and Communications in the Kingdom of Tonga, Eseta Fusitu'a, said ICT and its achievements should be taken to the people.
‘Break our silence and the information poverty of our world. Let the technicians deal with the technicalities of ICT. Let us focus on getting the information out to people,' she said, stressing that as regulators of information, communication and technology, governments have a responsibility to make information available in affordable ways.
‘Our challenge is to ensure that modern ICT policy and management strategies are in place,' the minister said. She challenged government officials to engage in strategic partnerships, including with power providers.
The meetings are expected to focus on partnerships and coordination; policy, legislation and regulatory frameworks; capacity building; infrastructure and access; international connectivity; cyber security and ICT applications; and a review of the Pacific Plan Digital Strategy.
Delivering the keynote address, the director of SPC's Economic Development Division, Captain John Hogan, said the main reason for the meeting is to review the Digital Strategy and the proposed Framework for Action on ICT for Development in the Pacific.
‘This framework was developed with all stakeholders in the Pacific through a proper consultative process. It will be put before you once again for final deliberation before it is tabled at the ministers' meeting this Friday for endorsement,' Captain Hogan said.
The framework outlines a new approach to developing and improving ICT services in the Pacific region. It acknowledges that national ICT policies and plans, and an integrated coordinated approach, are the principal means through which ICT will contribute meaningfully to sustainable development. The framework also promotes a ‘whole of sector' approach, based on the concept of ‘many partners, one team'.
‘Countries and partners are both enthusiastic and optimistic about progressing ICT initiatives. SPC is committed to working with you and the numerous partners present at this meeting to find innovative solutions for Pacific nations, recognising the role of ICT in supporting development, governance and sustainable livelihoods,' Captain Hogan said.
Issued by the: Secretariat of the Pacific Community and PACNEWS