H.E. MR. SYED MOHD HASRIN AIDID
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF MALAYSIA TO THE UNITED NATIONS
ON BEHALF OF THE ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS (ASEAN)
AT THE SECOND COMMITTEE
OF THE 75TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
ON AGENDA ITEM 16:
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
NEW YORK, 9 OCTOBER 2020
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the ten Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), namely, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
2. We align ourselves with the statement delivered by the distinguished representative of Guyana, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
Connectivity, Capacity, 4IR and Digital Connectivity
3. ASEAN recognizes the importance of ICT and the increasing pace of digital transformation in our societies and economies, especially the accelerated adoption of digital technologies in coping with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and facilitating economic recovery.
4. In this context, we wish to emphasize ASEAN’s commitment in embracing new technologies and addressing the manifold digital gaps, in skills, infrastructure, and regulations, within and across ASEAN Member States, as well as the risks and challenges that digitalization entails.
5. We also acknowledge the importance of enhancing ASEAN Connectivity. To this end, we reiterate the strategic importance of the ongoing development of the Consolidated Strategy on the 4th Industrial Revolution for ASEAN. We also look forward to the completion of the Mid-Term Review of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) 2025 by the end of this year.
6. ICT plays a critical role in accelerating human progress and social development. It is considered as one of the important means to connect ASEAN to the mainstream of global development, especially through the implementation of both the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 (ACW 2025) and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
7. Hence, ASEAN reaffirms its belief on the importance of narrowing the development gap within ASEAN, including the digital gap, especially when COVID-19 has affected the livelihoods of our peoples, particularly vulnerable groups in ASEAN.
8. We are determined to enhance regional and subregional connectivity, including through our (i) “Connecting the Connectivities” Initiative, and (ii) Complementarities Roadmap (2020-2025), as well as the full operationalization of the (iii) ASEAN Single Window for intra-regional trade facilitation, (iv) the ASEAN Smart Cities Network, and (v) ASEAN Centre for Sustainable Development Studies and Dialogue (ACSDSD).
9. ASEAN is committed to enabling conducive conditions for inclusive and sustained economic growth, decent work for all, taking into account different levels of national development and capacities. Our ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint has highlighted ICT as a catalyst for ASEAN’s economic and social transformation.
10. ASEAN further believes that the current pandemic has highlighted the importance of strengthening the digital economy sector, in order to facilitate economic recovery and sustainable development, especially to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
11. Hence, we are encouraged by (i) the ongoing review of the ASEAN ICT Masterplan 2020, (ii) the timely development of the ASEAN Digital Masterplan 2025 (iii) the completion of the ASEAN Digital Integration Index (ADII), and (iv) the progress in the implementation of the ASEAN Digital Integration Framework Action Plan (DIFAP), among others.
Health and Tele-services
12. ASEAN also believes on the importance of the use of technology in the future development of the health industry. With over 400 million active internet users, the region presents unique opportunities for foreign investors, in particular, in new sectors like telemedicine, telecommuting, and online education, as well as in enhancing people-to-people relations and connectivity.
13. We further commend efforts in exploring digital platforms to bring arts and culture closer to the people, including through the launch of the ASEAN Cultural Heritage Digital Archive (ACHDA), which offers a rich depository of cultural artefacts that can be viewed three-dimensionally.
14. ASEAN also recognizes the vital importance of cybersecurity coordination across the political-security, economic and social-cultural pillars to ensure that ASEAN drives its cyber security agenda synchronically regardless of discipline or area, as it brings vast benefit to the region. In this regard, we welcome the establishment of the ASEAN Cybersecurity Coordinating Committee (ASEAN Cyber-CC).
15. We also look forward to the convening of the ASEAN Regional Forum on Inter-Sessional Meeting on ICTs Security in Japan to discuss the issue of cyber security solutions for ASEAN.
16. The pandemic has reshaped ASEAN’s digital landscape. ASEAN recognized the indispensable role of digital technologies in our recovery efforts, as well as in increasing the uptake of digital services, tools, and solutions.
17. In this regard, ASEAN is committed to continue leveraging on digitalisation and technology, as well as strengthening multi-stakeholder and comprehensive partnerships in supporting ICT for sustainable development.
I thank you.