Philippines chairs 1st ASEAN Digital Senior Officials Meeting of 2023

On March 20 and 21, 2023, the 1st ASEAN Digital Senior Officials’ Meeting – ASEAN Telecommunication Regulators’ Council (ADGSOM-ATRC) Leaders’ Retreat was held in Jakarta, Indonesia. The meeting was chaired by the Philippines, through Undersecretary Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, as ADGSOM Chair for 2023. The event discussed the outcomes and follow-up actions from the 3rd ASEAN Digital Ministers’ Meeting (ADGMIN) held in Boracay, Philippines.

The Philippines has taken on the role of chair for the ASEAN Digital Senior Officials Meeting (ADGSOM) for 2023 last February. As part of this, the country hosted the annual meeting from 6 to 8 February 2023, which was held in Boracay Island, Aklan. The ADGSOM is a forum for digital cooperation among the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

During the meeting, the Philippines identified four major areas that it believes are crucial for the digital and ICT development of the region. The first thrust is “Safe Cyberspace,” which emphasizes the critical need for international cooperation to maintain cyber resilience. The second thrust is “Citizen-Centric Governance,” which involves identifying successful digital systems, processes, and infrastructure in ASEAN member states, sharing best practices, knowledge, and skills, and formalizing cooperation to replicate effective e-governance solutions. The third thrust is “Digital Inclusion,” which focuses on increasing and strengthening the participation of women, youth, and other sectors in ICT. Lastly, the “Innovation-Driven Economy” thrust requires the formation and strengthening of strategies to support and develop innovative start-up ecosystems and promote digital innovation.

The meeting recognized the urgent need for collaboration and synergy among the ASEAN Member States to achieve a sustainable, inclusive, and resilient digital future. With the ASEAN Digital Masterplan 2025 reaching its halfway mark in 2023, the meeting assessed current achievements and examined whether there is a need to refine desired outcomes and enabling actions to achieve the goals set out in the Masterplan.

One of the highlights of the meeting was the presentation of 22 concept notes, two of which came from the Philippines. One project aims to address the gender digital divide equality and increase the number of women in ICT, while the other project seeks to conduct a study regarding the viability of a mandatory common charging port for mobile devices to reduce electronic waste.

The ADGSOM is established in 1995 as ASEAN Telecommunication Regulators’ Committee and subsequently changed to the current name in July 2011. The ATRC plays an advisory role to ASEAN Digital Ministers Meeting (ADGMIN) and works in partnership with ADGSOM.

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