APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group
Program of Action
This Program of Action outlines a forward agenda for the APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group (TEL) to implement pursuant to the Lima Declaration. It reflects our commitment to achieving sustainable and equitable growth and reducing economic disparities for the well-being of our people by meeting the Bogor Goals of trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, enhancing human security, and promoting good governance and a knowledge-based society.
To achieve these goals and maintain our commitments, Ministers endorse and instruct the TEL to direct its attention towards the following activities and thematic areas.
I. Advancing Information and Communications Infrastructure
Ministers recognize that the advancement of information and communication infrastructure is a key factor in expanding digital opportunities. Ministers also reaffirm their commitment to the five objectives and ten core principles in the Seoul Declaration endorsed at the first meeting of APEC Ministers responsible for the Telecommunications and Information Industry (TELMIN 1, 1995) as essential for the construction and the expansion of the Asia Pacific Information Infrastructure (APII) and the realization of the vision of the Asia Pacific Information Society (APIS). In recognition of this, Ministers instruct the TEL to undertake activities that:
a) Encourage investment and capitalization in expanding Internet access and infrastructure construction particularly in developing economies;
b) Promote the use of information and communication technologies and related services to create digital opportunities;
c) Strengthen and encourage information sharing, exchange of best practices and co-operation with other APEC fora and international and regional organizations on advancing information infrastructure and the information society;
d) Encourage the development of policy approaches to enable the implementation and application of advanced technologies and services to expand access to unserved and underserved areas;
e) Encourage APEC economies to implement the Key Principles for Broadband Development as each economy gains capabilities, and continue to work on broadband policies, emergent themes and issues such as broadband for small and medium enterprises; emergency response and disaster mitigation; universal service and access policies; and other policy issues related to broadband;
f) Explore innovative next generation network (NGN) approaches arising from new technologies and services, consistent with the topic areas put forward in the Lima Declaration;
g) Consider developing a clearer vision of the APIS and the new knowledge-based economy on which it is built, and identifying those areas in which the TEL could contribute most effectively;
h) Consider undertaking an assessment in early 2006 of progress towards the Brunei Goal of tripling Internet access by the end of 2005.
II. Enabling Digital Opportunities through Effective Policy and Regulation
Recognizing the challenges and opportunities posed by the rapid technological advancement and convergence of telecommunications services, as well as the importance of responding to the constantly changing environment by promoting effective policy and regulatory frameworks within APEC economies, Ministers instruct the TEL to:
a) Undertake a review of the current APEC Principles of Interconnection in light of issues raised by the transition to NGN, including the interoperability of services and networks;
b) Continue to hold regulatory roundtables as an effective means to exchange views on a wide range of regulatory issues;
c) Create information resources for consumers to increase consumer awareness and confidence in a changing technical environment; and consider the development of information to address the definition of service characteristics and their communication to consumers;
d) Consider the regulatory challenges posed by the increasing supply of services across the boundaries of member economies;
e) Encourage each economy to implement the APEC Effective Compliance and Enforcement Principles;
f) Explore work on the emerging challenges to numbering and addressing, especially in the context of NGN and transitional environments;
g) Continue work on the TEL Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) implementation project; undertake a stocktake of progress by economies in implementing all facets of the MRA; continue work on the MRA Management System; commence development of a new MRA on the technical requirements of telecommunications equipment; encourage each APEC economy to implement the Guidelines for the Use of Conformity Assessment Procedures for Telecommunications Equipment by APEC Economies to promote the streamlining of conformity assessment procedures employed by APEC economies and further expedite the trade of telecommunications equipment with the APEC region; and support further work on a stocktake by regulators, designating authorities and conformity assessment bodies of the impact of the MRA;
h) Encourage use of the APEC Best Practices for Implementing the WTO Reference Paper as a guide; continue the annual update of the TEL study on Progress Towards Adopting and Implementing the WTO Reference Paper; update relevant member economies' progress on implementing World Trade Organisation General Agreement on Trade in Services (WTO GATS) Reference Paper commitments; and encourage capacity building and other efforts to assist developing members to participate in the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) round;
i) Consider how the APEC Best Practice Guide for RTAs/FTAs, welcomed by APEC Economic Leaders in Santiago, 2004, may apply to the telecommunications and information sector;
j) Explore policies to promote innovation and competition in the use of spectrum, including for legacy networks, transitional situations and NGNs - taking into account work in other international organizations; share information on experiences regarding the efficient use of spectrum; build on member economies' understanding of spectrum policy and regulatory frameworks and their implications for trade and competition; and consider potential training activities on spectrum policy and regulatory issues;
k) Support policy and regulatory frameworks for standards that promote innovation and competition, including the development of NGNs; participate in mutual recognition arrangements with respect to one another's standards-related measures; and continue work on the Comparison of the Equivalence of Selected Telecommunications Standards Project;
l) Undertake the proposed project on Evaluation of Access to Domestic and International Leased Lines in the APEC Region; and
m) Complete the current Survey Project on Virtual Private Networks, with the maximum possible participation by member economies in this work.
Ministers also note that individual economies may consider the outcomes of the review of Stocktake of Progress Towards the Key Elements of a Fully Liberalised Telecommunications Sector in the APEC Region in their progress towards liberalisation of the telecommunications sector.
III. Strengthening Security and Prosperity through the Use of Information and Communication Technologies
Ministers confirm the importance of information and communication technologies (ICT) in advancing economic and social development. They reaffirm the necessity of ensuring the protection and security of information infrastructures and recognize the importance of safeguarding of the integrity of the Internet. Ministers recognize the importance of TEL leadership in these areas and commend the work of the TEL. Ministers also note the importance of continuously exploring new areas of work on the challenges which arise from the information society.
In the area of the security of networks and infrastructure, Ministers instruct the TEL to:
a) Continue work on fulfilling the 2002 APEC Cybersecurity Strategy and develop a strategy to complement it to guide further APEC work to promote a trustworthy, secure and sustainable online environment;
b) Strengthen effective response capabilities among APEC economies, including improving the ability to respond and cooperate rapidly and accurately in response to security incidents; and where needed, conduct training courses to improve the effectiveness of the computer emergency response teams (CERTs) and computer security incident response teams (CSIRTS) of APEC members;
c) Continue its efforts to combat cybercrime, including malicious activities that attack the network infrastructure and the misuse of that infrastructure; and to promote capacity building to counter the threat of cybercrime;
d) Continue its work on information security aimed at ensuring a trusted, secure, and sustainable online environment, including examination of the security implications of emerging technologies;
e) Develop a set of guidelines which assist economies to protect from unwanted external attack on the electronic information systems of essential infrastructure and services; and
f) Pursue cooperative work with other organizations on security issues; and strengthen work on creating a safe on-line environment in the information society, dealing with such issues as spam, to counter threats to the networks, including follow up actions on APEC Principles for Action Against Spam and the APEC Implementation Guidelines for Action Against Spam and cooperation with international and regional organizations such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Economic Leaders, in their Santiago Declaration, welcomed the inputs from the business community. Economic Leaders further underscored the need to deepen capacity building initiatives in the region through private/public partnerships. Business is a key owner, developer and innovator in the area of telecommunications, and through partnerships the efforts of governments in regulatory and policy areas can best be targeted.
To broaden and deepen business facilitation, Ministers call upon the TEL to:
a) Strengthen existing work and explore new work on information applications for business facilitation such as open standards-based interoperability;
b) Continue work on user issues, mindful of the need to balance provider and user needs, and aware that e-enabled businesses thrive in an environment where users have the tools necessary to create confidence and trust;
c) Continue to seek ways to facilitate the use of technology by users, especially small and medium enterprises. In this regard, open new channels of cooperation with other APEC forums as appropriate, such as the Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group;
d) Explore the possibility of developing a work program for the ubiquitous network society, including in relation to content development;
e) Continue exploring the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to lower trade costs, promote wider use of available information for business, link with universities and other institutions for business education, and provide other types of linkages for business advantages;
f) Continue work to fulfill the e-APEC Strategy and, as appropriate, expand and adjust the strategy to reflect and respond to the changing communications and information environment and to foster greater global information policy coherence; and
g) Strengthen work on the development of an APEC Informatization Strategy and an APEC Telematics Strategy.
In the rapidly evolving environment which faces the TEL, it will be important for the TEL to continuously cooperate with other relevant international and regional organizations to ensure that its work remains effective and relevant.
IV. Advancing the Information Society through Human Capacity Building
Ministers recognize that building human capacity through life-long learning for people of both genders within the region is essential in achieving the benefits and the realization of a digital society and in narrowing the digital divide. Ministers note the importance of the work currently carried out by the TEL in this regard and instruct the TEL to:
a) Continue training and development for policy makers, regulators, service providers, chief information officers and users, in the areas of policy development, NGN, e-government, promoting digital opportunities, and good regulatory practices;
b) Continue development and training to accelerate the TEL MRA;
c) Continue capacity building initiatives to continue momentum towards the Asia-Pacific Information Society; and
d) Explore different approaches to human resource development, such as a possible e-university to assist e-government, and the possible use of telecenters; and continue TEL e-Learning initiatives for capacity building by utilizing ICT and emerging NGN technologies.
V. Communication Networks for Disaster Mitigation and Relief Operation
Ministers welcomed the APEC Strategy on Response to and Preparedness for Emergency and Natural Disasters endorsed by the APEC Senior Officials at SOM1, 2005, recognizing the importance of effectively preparing for and responding to emergency and natural disasters. In this light, Ministers instruct the TEL to:
a) Encourage the application of ICT for disaster/emergency detection, mitigation, response, and recovery including the delivery of medical and humanitarian assistance;
b) Consider areas in which the TEL can support human capacity building related to emergency response and disaster relief initiatives within APEC as a whole;
c) Continue work on ICT-based disaster early warning systems as part of the TEL's input to APEC-wide work on disaster and emergency response systems, including APEC i-DWS (Disaster Warning Systems) Development Strategy and APEC Guide(s) on i-DWS;
d) Strengthen effective response capabilities among APEC economies as well as in each economy and recognize that work related to emergency preparedness is being conducted in other APEC fora and that the TEL should cooperate and coordinate with these efforts; and
e) Explore means to exchange experiences and promote collaboration on crisis management procedures, identifying planning methods to ensure network integrity and information dissemination, including deployment of the infrastructure in cases of disasters and emergencies; and examine the application of existing and advanced information and communications technologies and services for disaster and emergency detection, mitigation, response, and recovery.
Road to the Future
Recognizing the need for the TEL to enhance its effectiveness, better respond to challenges and accommodate the different needs of economies, Ministers hereby direct the TEL to consider ways and means to further improve its working methods and structure to bring more focus into its work.
Ministers also direct the TEL to strengthen cooperation with other APEC fora and with relevant international and regional organizations and consider ways to encourage participation and contribution by the private sector in TEL activities in order to improve its outreach within APEC, as well as at global level.
Ministers congratulate the TEL on its considerable successes to date, and urge it to strive for continued success in the future.