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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

09 November 2023

ESCAP ES

Honourable Chair, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to extend my appreciation to the Government of Turkmenistan for the invitation to address TurkmenTEL 2023.

As a regional platform that encourages dialogue and collaboration on key issues related to digital connectivity, innovation and commerce, the objectives resonate well with the work of ESCAP on digital transformation.

The rapid adoption of digital technologies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically transformed the socio-economic activities of citizens across the Asia-Pacific region.

One of the most profound changes has been the acceleration in the shift towards a digital society, such as online working, teaching and socializing. In the digital society, we are not defined by the miles that separate us but by the connections that bind us.

In this digital era, Turkmenistan is showcasing a remarkable commitment to fostering a digital ecosystem that resonates well beyond its borders.

The focus on economic digitalization, unified communications networks and cybersecurity, as highlighted in this conference, aligns with our vision of a connected and inclusive Asia-Pacific region.

We are also actively working with member States in fostering digital connectivity and transformation through “the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway (APIS) platform.”

This regional cooperative mechanism seeks to bridge the digital divide, promote universal digital connectivity, scale up digital technology applications for an inclusive digital economy and society, and enhance the use and management of digital data.

In order to promote connectivity, innovation and commerce as a driver of socio-economic development, I propose three key policy measures:

First, we need to leverage public funds to invest in digital connectivity infrastructures that bring reliable, affordable and safe connectivity to all.

Then, we must prioritize capacity building and digital literacy programmes tailored not only to the specialized skills that will enhance employment and earning opportunities for the youth but also aimed at promoting lifelong learning skills for productive ageing.

In this regard, policy and regulatory frameworks that enhance the secure use and management of digital data have assumed importance.

Finally, we must promote global and regional cooperation to share good policies and good practices.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to inform you that the theme for the intergovernmental dialogue of the 80th session of the Commission, to be held from 15 to 19 April 2024 in Bangkok, Thailand, will be on digital innovations as accelerators of SDG implementation.

I am also pleased to inform you that this will be followed up by an ESCAP Ministerial Conference on Digital Transformation, which the Government of Kazakhstan has generously offered to host in Astana at the end of August 2024.   

Building on such partnerships, I look forward to the strengthened cooperation between ESCAP and the Government of Turkmenistan as a vital partner in this journey towards a common digital future for shared prosperity.

Thank you.

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