Opening Ceremony of the APEC Digital Opportunity Center Week

Chinese Taipei, 28 June 2006
  • Remarks by Ambassador Tran Trong Toan, Executive Director, APEC Secretariat
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentleman,
It has become an important practice that the APEC Digital Opportunity Centre Week takes place in this beautiful and economically vibrant city of Taipei. Last year, the first ADOC Week 2005 under the theme "Transforming the Digital Divide into the Digital Opportunity" was crowned with great success. Today, we are pleased to come back here for the ADOC Week 2006, which offers another precious opportunity for representatives of both public and private sectors from a number of APEC economies to share expertise and experiences in their efforts to adopt information and communication technology (ICT).
On behalf of the APEC Secretariat, I would like to express our high appreciation to Chinese Taipei, the ADOC Secretariat and sponsors in particular for organizing the ADOC Week 2006 and for the kind invitation extended to us to attend this significant event.
As mankind enters the era of knowledge-based economy, APEC has, since the early days, recognized the great importance of ICT in the economic and social development. APEC has strongly committed to improving information infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific, implementing policies conducive to ICT development and working toward the establishment of the Asia - Pacific Information Society. APEC recognized the importance of expanding and improving the digital capabilities and skills of all member economies. To enhance human capacity building, APEC has implemented many training projects for policy makers, regulators, service providers and users in the area of policy development, e-government, e-commerce and regulatory practices to provide more opportunities for training and skill development to help build digital opportunities.
At the same time, APEC member economies realized the challenges posed by the rapid technological advancement and convergence of telecommunications services, as well as the importance of responding to the constantly changing environment. Poor access to information infrastructure prevents people from utilizing the opportunities offered by the digital economy. The digital divide is the main barrier to the ability of the people in developing economies, rural communities and geographic regions to benefit from the digital economy, thus further broadening the development gap among them.
To address the digital divide, APEC Leaders adopted the Digital Divide Blueprint for Action (2000), also known as the Brunei Goal, calling for tripling of the number of people with access to the internet by 2005. In 2001, through the e-APEC strategy, Leaders endorsed the additional goal of ensuring that all groups within an economy have access individually or through community-based services to Internet by 2010.
To assist APEC economies in meeting this goal, APEC agreed to support policies and regulations that promote the deployment of affordable and appropriate broadband infrastructure; encourage policies and regulations that support investment in both existing networks and alternative platforms; promote an open and transparent dialogue among stakeholders; undertake human capacity development activities to improve access, awareness, mastery and application of ICT for the people in the region. Recognizing that innovation in ICT is driven by the private sector, APEC encourages active business participation in this area.
Thanks to all these efforts, APEC has attained substantial progress in this area. Since 2000, Internet access in the APEC region has more than doubled and APEC member economies have made significant improvements in establishing ICT infrastructure. Currently, APEC members include economies with the world's most extensive, accessible and affordable access to broadband networks and the opportunities they provide.
Despite the significant progress and numerous activities undertaken within APEC, a lot of work remains to be done if the ultimate goal of universal Internet access by 2010 is to be attained. While some APEC members are at the forefront of development, the APEC region remains diverse and APEC should continue monitoring and bridging the digital divide in accordance with directions from Leaders. Sustained efforts are needed to expand Internet access in the region. In this situation, there is much to be gained from information sharing and collaboration among economies, particularly in the practical areas of improving the regulatory environment and building capabilities for access to and use of ICT.
As you all know, the APEC Viet Nam Year 2006 has successfully unfurled with the theme "Towards a Dynamic Community for Sustainable Development and Prosperity". Under this theme, APEC member economies are striving to strengthen economic and technical cooperation for gap bridging and sustainable development, to enhance competitiveness of small and medium enterprises and to promote integration capacity of member economies. For these purposes, the enhanced cooperation in the area of ICT plays a highly important role.
In this context, the achievements of the APEC Digital Opportunity Center in 2005 are remarkable and its extensive program in 2006, including the implementation of 19 projects, is highly impressive. Being an APEC member economy that has achieved outstanding performance in ICT and has been ranked the 15th in the world and the 4th in Asia regarding internet availability, Chinese Taipei is making great contribution to strengthening cooperation and capacity building activities to assist many member economies to transform the digital divide into digital opportunities. Successfully designed and implemented by Chinese Taipei, the APEC Digital Opportunity Center is actively and effectively promoting the development of ICT and digital economy in a number of developing economies, thus advancing the APEC goal of an Asia - Pacific Information Society.
The ADOC's significant progress has been welcomed by APEC Ministers who also acknowledged the need for continuing APEC's work to bridge the digital gap and further turn the digital divide into the digital opportunity so as to enable all APEC member economies to better benefit from the knowledge economy.
Finally, on behalf of the APEC Secretariat, I would like to express our high appreciation for the fruitful work of the APEC Digital Opportunity Center and the important contribution made by Chinese Taipei to the bridging the digital divide in the ADOC partner member economies and across the region. I would like to warmly welcome all the participants of the ADOC Week 2006 and wish you great success in the implementation of the work plan for this year.
Thank you.