Nago, Japan, 31 October, 2010 - At the end of a two-day meeting, APEC Ministers adopted a declaration to develop and promote information and communications technology (ICT) to improve quality of life in the Asia-Pacific region and enhance economic growth.

The Ministers focused on five areas for action for 2010-2015: to develop ICT to promote new growth, enhance socio-economic activities through the use of ICT, promote a safe and trusted ICT environment, promote regional economic integration and strengthen cooperation in the ICT sector.

Ministers acknowledged that the APEC goal, set in 2000, of universal access to the Internet by 2010 in the APEC region has largely been achieved, and reaffirmed a commitment to achieve universal access to broadband in the region by 2015. 

They also set a new goal of access to next generation high-speed broadband networks in the region by 2020, and agreed to encourage economies to develop and implement strategies to make ICT more accessible to people with special needs.

On addressing socio-economic challenges, Ministers agreed to:
  • Develop and promote ICT applications such as smart and resilient grids and sensor networks to enhance energy efficiency and provide other environmental benefits
  • Develop and promote best practices for using ICT to more efficiently deliver services online including e-Commerce, e-Health, e-Education, and e-Government
  • Improve information sharing and cooperation of networks and technologies to better respond to natural disasters
  • Cooperate to promote emerging services and technologies such as grid computing and cloud computing, which allows users to access software and stored data remotely via the Internet

Ministers encouraged economies to increase cooperation and collaboration to counter threats over the Internet and raise awareness of the need for strong cybersecurity. Ministers also encouraged economies to urgently enhance methods to protect children from online threats.

Addressing the meeting in Nago in Okinawa Prefecture, Ministers stressed the importance of strong information sharing and technology collaboration between APEC economies, as well as between APEC and other international organisations and the private sector.

Ministers also endorsed a strategic action plan from APEC-s Telecommunications Working Group. The Okinawa Declaration will contribute to APEC-s new growth strategy which is expected to be finalized and adopted by Economic Leaders at their annual meeting, to be held in Yokohama, Japan in November.