With the transformations occurring rapidly across the world, there are many challenges and opportunities countries have to improve their political, economic and social standing across the world. Many countries have the opportunity to focus on the achievement of the Millenium Development Goals for their citizens. But clearly, there is a lot of work ahead, especially with technology.
The ICT revolution is keeping the attention of the private sector, civil society and policy makers. The world is communicating and processing information rapidly and demanding more of this. With the ease of international trade, financial flows and global networking, ICT is becoming increasingly important and there is a clear necessity for ICT policies and strategies in the Asia-Pacific region.
It is necessary for each nation in the region to step back and evaluate, implement and monitor the ICT strategy to more forward. At the United Nations Development Program’s Asia-Pacific Development Information Program they help a forum on ICT policies and e-strategies. The 17 point Kuala Lumpur Declaration was adopted. It emphasizes the need for specific policies on “poverty reduction, gender, infrastructure and access, human resources, content and applications, enterprises and entrepreneurs, and regional cooperation” through ICT policies. Currently the Asia-Pacific looks to expand and develop their ICT sector, but lack all the resources, abilities and funds to make this a reality. This is a problem because on policy suggests privatization though the private sector shows reluctance to supply services to the program.
Some progress has been made since the declaration. Community e-centers or telecenter models have been adopted across the region, including the Philippines. This is a way to achieve universal access to phones, computers and the internet. Broadband is important; however, not overemphasized like it may be in other places. The problem with these centers is that they often fail for many reasons. Often times the centers do not make long-term ties in the region, there is no education process within the facility, and they do not meet the immediate needs of the surrounding community.
Countries need need ICT policies that engage both the private sector and civil society organizations to move forward in the digital society. These capabilities will allow countries in the Asia-Pacific to meet the social, economic, political and cultural issues across the region–starting with the Millenium Development Goals.