East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea: Pacific ICT Ministers have been called upon to work towards a Smart Pacific, One Voice. Heads of information and communication technologies (ICT) government agencies from eleven Pacific Island countries and two observers made the call at the inaugural Pacific ICT Dialogue held in Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea under the theme "Smart Pacific One Voice" where a proposal by Papua New Guinea to host a meeting of the Pacific ICT Ministers in Papua New Guinea later in the year was also endorsed.
Discussions centered around regional collaboration, digital economy, and cyber security and critical digital infrastructure. Participants committed to further strengthening regional cooperation and collaboration in the field of information and communication technologies to address common issues and challenges whilst capitalizing on opportunities created by advances in digital technology.
Participants further committed to continue efforts in enhancing close cooperation in the region to consolidate regional views on ICT issues, including the preparation for International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Asia Pacific Telecommunication conferences and meetings.
Participants resolved to support the further development of digital economy in the Pacific by increasing access to technology and ICT infrastructure, development of human capacity, and improve telecommunication connectivity for government, citizens and businesses so as to accelerate the digital transformation of the Pacific Community which will in turn contribute to socio-economic growth, innovation and better delivery of services.
Key action points anticipated are establishment of a ITU subregional office in the Pacific, provision of an enabling environment for ICT development, digital innovation, creativity, and encouraging trusted and secured systems which promote the protection of data privacy, facilitate free and secure flow of information, and are resilient to cyber threats so that citizens can engage in online activities with confidence.
In unleashing the potential of digital technology and digital infrastructure, participants reaffirmed the importance of creating a secure and safe cyber environment in the region.
Participants have recommended that a meeting of the Pacific ICT Ministers be convened in Papua New Guinea later this year for the ICT Ministers to commit to a connected digital future for the Pacific taking into account all preceding work done within the region.
The Pacific ICT Dialogue was attended by delegates from the host country Papua New Guinea New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Solomon Islands, including an observer from the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise.
Counterparts representing Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati, New Zealand, Cook Islands, and an observer from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community joined online.