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 15th Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) Telecommunication/ICT Development Forum

11 - 13 June 2018, Colombo, Sri Lanka

The 15th APT Telecommunication & ICT Development Forum (ADF-15) was inaugurated by His Excellency The President Maithripala Sirisena. Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) hosted the event. Sri Lanka has been a long standing member of the APT and this was the first time that Sri Lanka hosted an APT Telecommunication & ICT Development Forum.

Ms. Areewan Haorangsi, Secretary General of APT, Mr. Austin Fernando, Secretary to the President and Chairman of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), Ms. Tepua Hunter Vice Chairman of ADF and Mr.Shamal Jayatilake, Director General of the TRCSL and over 150 foreign and local participants comprising of APT members, associate members, affiliate members, international organizations and other related organizations attended the event.

In addition, this year APT in collaboration with National Information Society Agency, Republic of Korea organized a joint APT-NIA Workshop on ICT Broadband Connectivity as a back-to-back event with ADF-15 on 14 June 2018.

APT Telecommunication & ICT Development Forum brings together Telecommunications and ICT Policy makers, regulators and other relevant officials from the region to a common platform for a dialog on issues of common interest with special attention on rural areas and ICT development. Various topics related to Strategic Pillars were addressed at the ADF-15 and the main focus was on Connectivity and Innovation Pillars. The fora was helpful in gaining practical insights from experiences shared.

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ADF focus its work within the following five (5) Strategic Pillars of the Strategic Plan:

a. Connectivity: Developing the digital Infrastructure;

b. Innovation: Enabling conducive environments and harnessing the benefits of new technologies;

c. Trust: Promoting security and resilience through ICT;

d. Capacity Building: Promoting inclusiveness and enhancing expertise; and

e. Partnership: Solidifying strategic cooperation with stakeholders.

The development of telecommunication and ICT infrastructure has been a major challenge for many countries in the Asia-Pacific region. APT Members have been making huge efforts to bring telecommunications and ICT facilities to their people at an affordable price. However, there are many issues in the areas of policy, technology, application, etc. that need to be addressed for effective deployment. The APT Telecommunication/ICT Development Forum (ADF) has been established as a special forum that facilitates a comprehensive, focus and result oriented dialogue to address the development needs and issues for the Asia-Pacific region. ADF has successfully provided a platform for that purpose and participants could get benefits from sharing information and experience of best practices as well as trend of services and technologies for bridging digital gap.

ADF also links to the achievements of the ICT Pilot Projects in Rural Areas and any other ICT projects funded by the Extra-Budgetary Contribution from Japan and Korea. The results of the projects are reported in the ADF allotted session for the sharing the fruitful results under the close co-operation of the local collaborators and Experts in the APT Members.

The specific objectives of  ADF-15 are;

• To address issues in increasing access to broadband connectivity with an emphasis on unserved and underserved populations

• To address issues in promoting conducive environments for innovation and value creation in ICT

• To address issues in enhancing the use of ICT as an enabler for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 2030

• To report outcomes and achievement of APT projects

• To address challenges related to disaster preparedness, risk reduction and mitigation as implemented by APT projects

• To discuss issues relevant for the sustainability of the funded projects

• To bring the focus of top policy makers, regulators and industry representatives of ICT sector in the Pacific countries towards the Strategic Plan of the APT for 2018-2020.

The agenda of the ADF-15 covers the list of topics to discuss on the achievements and results of the APT ICT projects funded by the Extra Budgetary Contributions (EBC), Update on National Broadband Plan, Equitable and Universal ICT Services, Affordable and Sustainable Connectivity, etc.

Specific outcomes includes;

• High-level views pertinent to the new Strategic Plan of the APT for 2018-2020;

• Update participants on achievements and results of the APT ICT projects implemented in fiscal year 2016 and 2017;

• Share best practices and issues to be tackled in implementing projects

• Update on recent development of national broadband plans

• Share recent development and update on maximizing the benefits of universal service funds

• Update on members activities in developing and promoting high-speed, affordable and sustainable broadband networks

• Update on policy and regulatory framework to enhance the use of ICT as enabler in high potential sectors

• Update on challenges and success stories of Start-ups and SMEs as well as policy and regulatory measures to facilitate and build up sustainable ecosystems

• Update on Development sector of ITU (ITU-D) in order to enrich up-stream and down-stream activities between the works of ITU and APT.

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