Chairman's Statement

30th November - 1st December 2006

  1. The First ASEM Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Ministerial Meeting was held in Ha Noi on 30th November - 1st December 2006. The Meeting was attended by delegations from 33 ASEM members.
  2. In line with the ASEM initiative on ICT cooperation, approved at the 5th ASEM Summit in Ha Noi in 2004, the Ministerial Meeting focused on "Promoting ICT applications in Human Resource Development and Capacity Building", which was supported by ASEM leaders at the recent 6th ASEM Summit in September 2006 in Finland.
  3. The Ministers noted the increasingly important role and far-reaching impacts of ICTs, as well as the need to enhance cooperation to fulfill their potential economic and societal contribution. They reiterated the principles of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) on an information society for all, including "the desire to build ICT networks that are affordable and accessible to all, available anywhere and anytime, to anyone and on any device, leading to an ubiquitous network", and further "a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society, where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge to achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable development and improving their quality of life".
  4. The Ministers acknowledged the different levels of ICT development among ASEM members, particularly the digital divide between developed and developing countries. In this regard, cooperation in ASEM on promoting ICT applications represents an opportunity to close the gap as well as to foster the partnership between Asian and European countries.
  5. The Ministers recognised the progress in using ICT in advancing skills, knowledge and practices, empowering local communities, enhancing enterprises' capabilities and promoting collaboration in education and research.
  6. The Ministers appreciated the exchange and sharing of information and experience among ASEM member countries on the use of ICT in capacity building programs. In this regard, the Ministers encouraged more cooperation and networking of educational facilities, particularly the link of universities and colleges between Asia and Europe. Regional and subregional e-Learning networksare urged to foster inter-regional collaboration to optimize the use of resources.
  7. The Ministers noted the acknowledgement by our Leaders in the recent 6th ASEM Summit in Helsinki, Finland, of important role of Trans-Eurasia Information Network (TEIN2) in extending connectivity between Asia and Europe in the fields for research and education and their support of its application in broader areas.
  8. The Ministers appreciated the effort and active contribution of related organizations to the success of TEIN2 in consolidating the first large scale regional research and education network in Asia and its interconnection with the European network GEANT2. The Ministers encouraged enhancement of cooperation among stakeholders, with partners continuing to contribute to an extension of the current network's operation beyond 2007. Further, the Ministers supported an increased consideration for broader applications with high societal impact, seeking its expansion to other countries in the region.
  9. The Ministers acknowledged the importance of ICT research co-operation among ASEM members and welcomed continuous effort from related organizations for joint research activities.
  10. The Ministers emphasized the need to facilitate close participation and more contribution by the ICT business community in developing and implementing ASEM ICT cooperative programs and projects. The Ministers noted the update of business representatives on the latest developments relating to the evolution of ICT and services, and their observations and recommendations on policy and regulatory issues.
  11. With respect to the development of the ICT industry in recent years, the Ministers encouraged the ICT community to accelerate the expansion and provision of ICT services in remote and isolated areas, ensuring the sustainable development and bridging the digital divide between rural and urban areas. This would eventually facilitate the applications of ICT in human resource development in all ASEM countries.
  12. In this context, the Ministers agreed on the importance of working together to support initiatives to empower users so as to effectively pull new information tools and services in response to outstanding needs. Examples of areas include training and the exchange of experience in support of improved accessibility to health services, and ensuring transparent and reliable money transfers including international remittances and micro credit.
  13. The Ministers welcomed joint efforts on network security, digital interoperability and convergence, and ICT enabled public services. They encouraged further initiatives to enable authentication and verifiability in e-transactions, and achieving trust and integrity for the individual user.
  14. The Ministers shared the intention to give priority to action-oriented work programs. They welcomed innovative and flexible approaches so as to facilitate the engagement of relevant stakeholders. In this context, existing mechanisms for bilateral and regional cooperation can serve as an important platform. Appropriate broad based consultation on proposed activities and the identification of project coordinators may, following the Ministerial Meeting, result in more detailed roadmaps spelling out implementation and reporting mechanisms. The list of activities is attached to this document.
  15. Regarding future ASEM cooperation in ICT, the Ministers agreed, in principle, to convene the Senior Officials Meeting annually to follow up on progress and to meet again at Ministerial level.

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