Information technology and telecommunications ministers in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed at their recent meeting to further intensify cooperation to complete the ASEAN ICT Masterplan 2020 (AIM2020). The AIM2020 aims to propel ASEAN towards a digitally enabled economy that is secure, sustainable, and transformative; and to enable an innovative, inclusive, and integrated ASEAN Community.
The officials resolved at the 18th ASEAN Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministers Meeting held earlier this month in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia to support and endorse a number of undertakings leading to the implementation of AIM2020.
These actions include formally institutionalizing in early 2019 a public-private consultative dialogue on developing the principles to regulate Over-the-Top (OTT) services, which refer to content providers that distribute streaming media as a standalone product directly to viewers over the Internet, bypassing telecommunications, multichannel television, and broadcast television platforms that traditionally act as a controller or distributor of such content.
The move to regulate such services seeks to promote the growth of innovative services while safeguarding the well-being of consumers and ensuring a healthy competitive business environment, said the ministers in a joint statement.
They also tasked senior officials to further develop and implement the initiatives under the ASEAN Framework on Digital Data Governance so as to enhance digital capability and cooperation among ASEAN member states. The framework aims to strengthen the data ecosystem, achieve legal and regulatory alignment of data regulations and governance frameworks, and foster data-driven innovation across ASEAN member states to boost the growth of digital economy in the region.
Reaffirming the importance of promoting regional cybersecurity, the ministers welcomed the progress made with the feasibility study on establishing the ASEAN Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), which can help to facilitate real-time coordination and threat information sharing amongst national CERTs in ASEAN and with ASEAN dialogue partners.
The officials likewise welcomed the recommendations of the Study on Open and Big Data Applications Development, which provides guidance in establishing regular stakeholder dialogues and forums, and developing an ASEAN Open Data Dictionary and Application Programming Interface to enable access to and use of publicly available open and big data to develop innovative business models and solutions, including applications in smart cities.
ICT work plans with dialogue partners for 2019
Additionally, the ministers endorsed the various ICT work plans meant to further deepen cooperation with dialogue partners in enhancing ICT policies, developing human resources, exploring emerging technologies for adoption, and improving the capacity to address cybersecurity risks in implementing AIM2020.
The 2019 ASEAN-China ICT Work Plan covers activities for information exchange and cooperation in ICT development and regulatory policies, emergency communication technologies and applications for disaster prevention and mitigation, network security industry development, network security emergency response capacity building, and emerging ICT technologies and applications.
The 2019 ASEAN-Japan ICT Work Plan supports through digitalization the implementation of the AIM2020 Strategic Thrusts that are relevant to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The 2019 ASEAN-Korea ICT Work Plan will further extend cooperation in four strategic areas to foster a digital ecosystem for ASEAN prosperity. These areas are those on Open Data Governance for ASEAN connectivity, establishing an IT Cooperation Center and an ASEAN-Korea Science Technology Cooperation Center, and joint research in ICT technology.
The 2019 ASEAN-EU ICT Work Plan will set out to advance the ASEAN-EU cooperation in areas of mutual interest, particularly on the ongoing development of an ASEAN digital benchmarking index under the Enhanced Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (E-READI) Facility.
The 2019 ASEAN-US ICT Work Plan focuses on the planned cooperation in the areas of digital economy and cybersecurity, technological innovation, open and transparent ICT regulation, and growth-focused economic policies.
Photo: Jack Moreh