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Statement by

 

H.E. Dr. Desra Percaya
Deputy Permanent Representative
of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations in Geneva/
Delegation of the Republic of Indonesia
on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
 
 
 
 
on Agenda Item 17 :
“ICT for Development” 
at the Second Committee of the 65th Session
of the UN General Assembly
 
 
 
New York, 26 October 2010
 
 
 
 
Madam Chair,
 
1.   I have the honor to speak on behalf of the ten Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). My group aligns itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Yemen on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
 
2.   Let me begin by reiterating the importance ASEAN attaches to the promotion of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for the economic, social and cultural development of all countries, including for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
 
Madam Chair,
 
3.   We thank the Secretary-General for his report on the progress made regarding the implementation of and follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society outcomes at the regional and international levels. We are pleased to note that progress has been made towards enhancing ICT connectivity, particularly in regard to the usage of mobile telephones and internet connectivity. At the same time, we are disheartened that the digital divide remains a major obstacle amongst and within countries in terms of equal access to ICT and the economic and social benefits they could reap from it.
 
4.   ASEAN also notes with concern the negative impact of the global financial and economic crisis on the development of and access to ICT. The downturn has negatively affected vital sectors of the economy and reduced investment needed in order to ensure universal access to ICT. With five years left to the MDGs, the implications that decreased investment in ICT have on the attainment of the MDGs is troubling, given the potential of ICT to contribute significantly to economic growth and poverty reduction.
 
5.   In this regard, we believe that it remains as crucial as ever for us to continue working together, through regional and international cooperation and public-private partnerships, to develop and promote the ICT sector, both in terms of infrastructure development and services, for the benefit of all communities.
 
Madam Chair,
 
6.   In ASEAN, we are striving to enhance intra-regional ICT connectivity to increase trade, investment, tourism and development in the region for the benefit of all ASEAN Member States and their peoples. We believe that ASEAN has the potential to anchor itself as a transportation, ICT and tourism hub given its location at the crossroads of an economically vibrant region.
 
7.   Moreover, we believe that enhancing intra-regional connectivity will contribute significantly to the promotion of ASEAN centrality, facilitate the building of an ASEAN Community that is competitive and increasingly interlinked with the wider Asia-Pacific region and the world, and serve as a foundation for a more enhanced East Asian connectivity. 
 
8.   Central to the promotion of ASEAN connectivity is the development of physical infrastructure; multimodal transportation and ICT linkages, including the ASEAN Highway Network and the Singapore-Kunming Rail Link; and supporting legal infrastructure and software.  To this end, we have sought the support and cooperation of our Dialogue partners and other international agencies and development partners to assist us in realizing our goal for ASEAN connectivity, including through the infrastructure development fund for ASEAN. 
 
9.   We have also established a High Level Task Force, in cooperation with relevant international organizations such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) to study ASEAN’s internal and external connectivity and to develop an ASEAN Master Plan on regional connectivity. The High Level Task Force was tasked to identify specific measures with clear targets and timelines for regional cooperation on connectivity and to develop viable infrastructure financing mechanisms for the implementation of this Master Plan. We are encouraged by the efforts of the High Level Task Force to develop the Master Plan and look forward to its submission to the 17th ASEAN Summit in Vietnam this week for approval. Ultimately, the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity aims to realize the goal of achieving an ASEAN Community by 2015.
 
Madam Chair
 
10.   ASEAN would also like to express its appreciation to UNESCO and other UN agencies for their work in bridging the digital divide, and promoting the use of ICT as means to, among others, enhance productivity and promote e-learning.  We believe the UN and its subsidiary bodies play a vital role to promote and expand development of this sector, and therefore, ASEAN reaffirms its commitment and support of the work of the Second Committee to come up with an effective and sustainable response to the challenges and opportunities of building a truly global Information Society that benefits all our peoples.
 
Thank you.

 

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