APEC Telecommunications Ministers concluded their sixth meeting by delivering a joint statement covering a broad range of areas that are crucial for the ongoing economic development and security of the APEC Region.
Meeting in Lima, Peru, on June 1 to 3, Telecommunications Ministers highlighted the importance of expanding access to the Internet for all people in the Asia-Pacific as part of capacity building measures required for the region. Ministers also drew attention to making better use of the evolving next generation of information technology and increasing broadband access. These and a range of other issues have now been referred to the APEC Telecommunications Working Group (APEC TEL) for further action and implementation.
In their joint statement, the Lima Declaration, Ministers noted the challenge faced by some developing countries as a result of limited internal telecommunications infrastructure.
Having been proactive for several years in working to expand access to the Internet and other communications technologies, APEC Telecommunications Ministers commended the rapid growth in Internet access in the APEC region over the past five years.
Since 2000 access to the Internet in the APEC Region has more than doubled, and in applauding this achievement, Ministers called for continued efforts to realize the APEC goal of tripling Internet access by the end of 2005. This measurement will require strengthened statistical gathering capacity in order to undertake an assessment of progress in early 2006.
Ministers also confirmed the importance of life-long learning in enhancing human capacity development for all age groups and genders, as well as for people with disabilities or special needs. Ministers have instructed the APEC Telecommunications Working Group to explore different approaches to human resource development, such as a possible e-university to assist e-government and continue TEL e-Learning initiatives.
Ministers also lent their ongoing support to work on next-generation networks (NGNs) that impact on a number of areas including security, trade facilitation and capacity building.
Recognizing the challenges and opportunities posed by the rapid technological advancement and convergence of telecommunications services, Ministers instructed APEC TEL to explore innovative NGN approaches arising from new technologies and services.
APEC TEL will now undertake a review of the current APEC 'Principles of Interconnection' in light of issues raised by the transition to NGN, including the inter-operability of services and networks.
Ministers also called for the APEC TEL to assist with the expansion of broadband information infrastructure. This includes encouraging Member Economies to implement the APEC 'Key Principles for Broadband Development' as each economy gains capabilities and continue to work on policy issues related to broadband including broadband for small and medium enterprises, emergency response and disaster mitigation and service industries.
In regard to the importance of ensuring the security and integrity of the APEC region's communications infrastructure, Ministers instructed APEC TEL to continue its work on information security aimed at trusted, secure and sustainable online environment.
The full Lima Declaration and associated documents are available online:
The outcomes of this meeting will now be presented to APEC Leaders when they meet in Busan, Korea, in November.