Okinawa, Japan, 29 October, 2010 - APEC Ministers will focus on development of broadband infrastructure and advancing information and communications technology (ICT) in critical areas such as education, health, energy and the environment when they meet here this week.
At the October 30-31 meeting, Ministers will also address ongoing efforts to develop free and open markets in the Asia-Pacific region for the telecommunications and information technology industries, including regulations that encourage increased competition and investment in APEC economies.
Meeting under the theme "ICT as an Engine for New Socio-Economic Growth," Ministers will turn to initiatives aimed at developing and sharing best applications of ICT to address problems such as energy and resource constraints and environmental degradation, as well as enhancing the effectiveness of emergency preparedness in the region.
"APEC is developing next broadband goals and initiatives aimed at using ICT to address social-economic challenges in areas such as the environment, emergency response, medicine, education and energy efficiency," said Yoshihiro Katayama, Japan's Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications, who is chairing the meeting.
Measures to strengthen cyber security, including effective policies to protect personal information and security of networks as well as efforts to protect vulnerable groups from online threats, will also be addressed by the Ministers.
APEC Cyber Security Awareness Day will be held in conjunction with the meeting to highlight the importance of sharing information between member economies on this issue and collaborating on region-wide efforts to address cyber security.
The meeting is expected to prove crucial to shaping APEC's long-term growth strategy which will be finalized for Economic Leaders at their annual meeting, to be held next month in Yokohama. The strategy includes promoting economic growth across the region through fostering innovation and a knowledge-based economy.
Telecommunications and ICT have, throughout the years, revolutionised the way the region's citizens communicate, do business, interact with governments and educate and inform themselves.
Internet broadband subscriptions have increased from .2 per 100 inhabitants in the region in 1999 to 10.8 in 2009. Similarly mobile phone subscriptions have rocketed from 10.5 in 1999 to 76.6 per 100 inhabitants in 2009, according to data from StatsAPEC, an extensive database showing economic performance in the Asia-Pacific region.
Ministers are committed to achieving an ambitious goal, set in 2008, of universal access to broadband in the APEC region by 2015. APEC economies have achieved the goal of tripling internet access in the region, and largely achieved the goal of universal internet access by 2010 in terms of ICT infrastructure.
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