Pacific ICT Ministerial Dialogue 2023

“Smart Pacific, One Voice – Creating a Digital Future together for the Pacific”

Monday, 28th August, 2023 | APEC Haus – Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Lagatoi Declaration

Pacific Islands Countries and Territories that signed the Lagatoi Declaration.

Asia-Pacific Telecommunity

Pacific Islands Forum


Pacific ICT Ministerial Dialogue 2023

“Smart Pacific, One Voice – Creating a Digital Future together for the Pacific”

Monday, 28th August, 2023 | APEC Haus – Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Lagatoi Declaration

Pacific Islands Countries and Territories that signed the Lagatoi Declaration.

Asia-Pacific Telecommunity

Pacific Islands Forum

Pacific ICT Ministerial Dialogue

“Smart Pacific, One Voice – Creating a Digital Future together for the Pacific.”

Pacific ICT Ministers meeting is a realization of the need for the Pacific to be united and collaborate in pursuit of digital transformation and ICT development. The need for unity and collaboration as ‘Smart Pacific, One Voice’ was reinforced during the recent ITU PP22 Conference in Bucharest, Romania. Pacific Island countries did not have a collective voice on our common issues and challenges, whilst other regions stood united.

Culminating from Bucharest PP22, PNG Government took the initiative to unite the Pacific. The first meeting of the ICT Senior Officials was held in Kokopo, PNG, from February, 13 – 14, 2023, attended by 14 countries and territories in person and 4 countries virtually. New Caledonian Minister for ICT was present in person to witness the senior officials meeting. The meeting was officially concluded by the Hon. James Marape, the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.

Pacific ICT Minister’s Dialogue reactivates earlier efforts by ICT Ministers under the Pacific Island Forum, geared towards uniting the Pacific ICT Ministers to work together towards:

  • unifying Pacific Island countries’ collective voice at international and regional fora on issues and matters specific to the Pacific;
  • strengthening regional collaboration and cooperation towards identifying and implement digital solutions to address our unique challenges in the Pacific; and
  • pursue a proposal for establishment of ITU Sub Regional Office in the Pacific Region.

The Pacific ICT Ministers Dialogue is scheduled to be held on Monday, 28th August, 2023, at APEC Haus, Port Moresby, PNG. At the conclusion of the Dialogue, the Ministers will sign a Ministerial Declaration to re-affirm the Members commitment to work together as a sub-region on progressing digital transformation and ICT in the region.

Concept Note

Administrative Circular (as August 25, 2023)

Official Program (as of August 27, 2023)

Session 1: Official Opening

• Opening and Welcoming remarks by the Hon. Timothy Masiu MP, Minister for Information and Communication Technology, Papua New Guinea. (Download)
• Keynote address by the Hon. John Rosso MP, Deputy Prime Minister of Independent State of Papua New Guinea. (Download)

Session 2: Policy Statements

• Policy Statement by Secretary General Pacific Island Forum (PIF), Mr. Henry Puna (pre-recorded) – Remarks | Video

Country Statements by Pacific Island Countries and Territories
Fiji, Hon. Manoa Seru Nakausabaria Kamikamica MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Cooperatives, SMEs and Communications (in person)
– Australia, Hon. Michelle Rowland MP, Minister for Communications (in person)
– New Caledonia, Hon. Vaimu’a Muliava MP, Minister for Digital Transformation, Technological Innovation, Relations with French territories in the Pacific, the Public Service, and the Modernisation of Public Action Government (in person)
– Samoa, Hon. Toelupe Poumulinuku Onesemo MP, Minister for Communication and Information Technology (in person)
– Solomon Islands, Hon. Ped Shanel Agovaka MP, Minister for Communication and Aviation (in person)
– Niue, Hon. Ricky Makani MP, Member Assisting Minister for Finance & Infrastructure (in person)
New Zealand, Mr. Steve Hamilton, Acting New Zealand High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (in person)
– Kiribati, Mr. Tabotabo Auatabu, Chief Legal and Licensing Officer (in person)
– Palau, Mr. Stalin Pedro, Director, Bureau of Communications, Ministry of Public Infrastructure an Industries (in person)
– Papua New Guinea, Hon. Timothy Masiu MP, Minister for Information and Communications Technology (in person)
– Tonga, Mr. Anitelu ‘Andrew’ Toimoana, Director of Digital Transformation, Prime Minister’s Office (in person)
– Vanuatu, Mr. John Jack, Deputy Chief Information Officer and Current Chair of PRFP, Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (in person)
– Cook Islands, Mr. Tingika Elikana, Associate Minister for ICT, Member of the Parliament (virtual)

• Policy Statement by Deputy Secretary General, ITU, Mr. Tomas Lamanauskas
• Policy Statement by APT Secretary General, Mr. Masanori Kondo (Download)
• Policy Statements by Observers

Session 3: The Pacific Region in the Multilateral Context

a) Strengthening coordination and engagement in multilateral forums
b) Growing visibility of the Pacific within relevant forums
c) International Telecommunication Union (ITU) regional presence

This session looks at ways and means of strengthening coordination across the Pacific, to improve collective engagement within relevant multilateral telecommunications forums such as the ITU and Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT). This item also provides a platform to discuss opportunities to improve visibility and awareness of the Pacific region’s unique telecommunications and ICT needs, within these organisations. Specific discussion on ITU’s presence in the region will also be covered in this session.

• Presentation by PIF on Blue Pacific Vision on Technology and Connectivity, Mr. Michael Crowe, Regional Security Director (Download)
• Presentation by APT, Dr. Jongbong Park, Director, Project Development (Download)
• Presentation by Samoa – Pacific Perspective

Session 4: Current Status of ICT Developments and Embracing Digital Transformation in the Pacific

a) Current status of and future insight into telecommunications and ICTs
b) Enhancing Existing Regional Arrangements

This session reports on the current status of and future insight into telecommunications and ICTs in the Pacific. This session also looks at the telecommunications and ICT success stories and opportunities in the Pacific, with a focus on achieving economic empowerment, sustainable growth and regional resilience through Digital Transformation and embracing technology advances.

• Keynote Presentation by ITU on Digital Connectivity and Transformation, Dr. Atsuko Okuda, Regional Director, ITU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, (Download)

Case of Member Countries and Territories
• Fiji – Hon. Manoa Seru Nakausabaria Kamikamica MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Cooperatives, SMEs and Communications
• Papua New Guinea – PNG Digital Journey, Mr. Steven Matainaho, Secretary, Department of ICT (Download)
• Vanuatu – Smart Islands: Boosting connectivity to unlock the Pacific potential, Mr. John Jack, Deputy Chief Information Officer, Office of the Government Chief Information Office, PMs Office (Download)

Session 5: Lagatoi Declaration on Digital Transformation of the Pacific

• Presentation of the Lagatoi Declaration, Mr. Kila Gulo-Vui, PICT Interim Secretariat Chair (Download)

Pacific ICT Ministerial Declaration 2023

The participating countries and territories signed the Lagatoi Declaration. (View | Download)

Host for the Next Pacific ICT Ministerial Dialogue

The next Pacific ICT Ministerial Dialogue will be hosted by New Caledonia in 2025.

Closing Session: Ministers Closing Statements

Closing Remarks by Hon. Timothy Masiu MP, Minister for Information and Communications Technology, Papua New Guinea

Communique on the Pacific ICT Ministerial Dialogue on Digital Transformation of the Pacific

Communique on the Pacific ICT Ministerial Dialogue 2023. (View | Download)

Chairman’s Report

Chairman’s Report on the Pacific ICT Ministers’ Dialogue 2023

Register for Pacific ICT Minsterial Dialogue

If you have received a formal invitation, do register to confirm your attendance!

Creating an ITU Sub-Regional Office in the Pacific

In past years, the ITU Regional Presence has been plagued by limited staff and financial resources, a lack of integration and coordination with ITU headquarter events and training opportunities, and a scandal involving fraud perpetrated by ITU staff in the Asia Pacific (Bangkok) Office. All these items have hampered the ability of this regional office to respond to the needs of the Pacific. These past challenges have been well documented by entities that include the ITU’s Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) and the global consultancy PWC. Since then, the ITU has implemented a Results Based Management with the associated KPI’s and performance measurements as well as training for all BDT employees, including in the regional offices.

Many of the problems facing Pacific Island Countries are not shared by the larger countries or those in Asia. LDCs and SIDS countries do not receive enough assistance and the assistance they do receive are often not targeted directly to their needs. This is one of the reasons why many of the Pacific Island countries are united in their efforts to request that the ITU create a regional presence in the Pacific. It is also why many Pacific Countries have drawn closer to those Caribbean Island countries which share some of the same infrastructure, climate and other concerns facing Pacific Islands. There have been several capacity building events addressing these issues affecting all SIDS whether they are based in the Pacific or in the Caribbean.

In each of the last several Plenipotentiary Conferences the Pacific Islands has suggested that a regional presence in the Pacific would allow the ITU to participate more fully in United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks at the country level along with a host of other benefits but so far nothing has resulted from this efforts.

At a recent APT Policy and Regulation Forum for Pacific (PRFP) a working group was created to take a closer review and study for creating a sub-regional ITU presence in the Pacific Islands. It would be good to review the reports from this study and see how a larger feasibility study could be started that would lay the groundwork for the building of a sub-regional presence in the Pacific.

Resolution 25 “On Regional Presence of the ITU” from the Plenipotentiary Final Acts (Bucharest 2022) speaks directly to the expansion of the ITU’s regional presence. In this Resolution, it was thought that regional offices would strengthen synergies at various levels with regional United Nations organizations and help fulfill the UN-system wide strategy for south-south and triangular cooperation.

Resolution 25 (Bucharest 2022) states that some of the benefits of a regional presence, such as one in the Pacific, are that it enables the ITU to work more closely with its membership, serving as a channel for executing programmes, projects, and activities, disseminating information on the Union’s activities, developing closer ties with regional and sub-regional organizations and providing technical assistance to countries with specific needs.

Other benefits include the ability to continue to strengthen the functions of the regional and area offices so that they can play an important role in implementation of the ITU strategic plan, programmes and projects, and the regional initiatives set out in the Kigali Action Plan of the WTDC pursuant to Resolution 17 (Kigali, 2022)

Additionally, that the regional and area offices would help the ITU to be more aware of and more responsive to the priorities and specific needs of the regions. The resolution states that that every two years or earlier the ITU Council must review the ITU regional presence to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the member states in that region. The next ITU Council Meeting is scheduled for 11-21 of July 2023.

This Resolution calls for the ITU Council to continue including an item on strengthening of the regional presence on the agenda of each ordinary session of the Council to examine its evolution and adopt decisions for its continuing structural adaptation and operation, with the aim of fully implementing the mandate and the objectives of the strategic and financial plans of the Union through the coordination and complementary aspects of activities between ITU and regional and sub-regional telecommunication organizations. One of the outputs from the meeting would be to press the ITU Council in their July Meeting to add this issue to their agenda.

This timing gives Pacific Island Countries about five months to formulate a strong statement supported by all countries about the need for a sub-regional office, back up by the results from the PRFP working group on these issues. One of the outputs from the ITU Council meeting could be to call for the establishment of a feasibility study of creating a sub-regional office for the Pacific.

Resolution 25 (Bucharest 2022) calls for regional and area offices to pay greater attention to the LDCs, develop per-country assessments and action plans in terms of telecommunication/ICT development and report to the Council, as part of the overall regional presence report. This is a good opportunity for the Pacific Island countries to work on putting together a priority list of why a sub-regional office is necessary. They then can then present this to the ITU Council in 2023. Resolution 25 (Bucharest 2022) calls for a review of the ITU’s efforts at creating Regional Presence in respective regions that needs to be held before the end of 2024.

Currently very few of the UN agencies have offices in the Pacific which makes it much harder for these agencies to give Pacific Island countries enough time and resources. The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has one person based in Fiji most of the office is based in Bangkok, Thailand. Another of the UN offices has a liaison office in Wewak in Papua New Guinea. The ITU could use these offices as a starting point for locating the sub-regional office.

Resolution 25 (Bucharest 2022) further instructs the Secretary-General:

  1. to facilitate the tasks of the Council by providing all necessary support for strengthening the regional presence as described in this resolution;
  2. to adapt, where necessary, the prevailing terms and conditions of host-country agreement(s) to the changing environment in the respective host country, after prior consultations with countries concerned and the representatives of the regional intergovernmental organizations of the affected countries;
  3. to submit each year to the Council a report on the regional presence containing, for each specific regional and area office, detailed information on how the goals and objectives identified in the strategic plan and the four-year rolling operational plans of the General Secretariat and the three Sectors are being delivered in the context of Resolution 151 (Bucharest, 2022) of this conference, on the improvement of results-based management (RBM) in ITU;
  4. To form a consultation with the Directors of the three Bureaux to take measures to further strengthen the regional presence as an extension of ITU as a whole, as well as measures to ensure that the activities of BR, TSB and BDT are effectively incorporated in the regional and area offices, as described in this resolution

The 16th APT Policy and Regulation Forum for Pacific (PRFP-16)

The Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) will organize the 16th APT Policy and Regulation Forum for Pacific (PRFP-16) from 30 August to 1 September 2023 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea with physical attendance as well as virtual/online participation through Zoom meeting platform (i.e. hybrid meeting). The forum will be hosted by the National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NICTA), Papua New Guinea, and supported by the generous contributions from Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts, Australia and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Japan.
PRFP-16 will be preceded by the Pacific ICT Ministerial Dialogue (28-29 August 2023)”., which would adopt a Ministerial Declaration on the theme “Connected Pacific – Enabling Aspirations through ICT”. Accordingly, synergizing these events, PRFP-16 will organise its sessions based on the priority areas agreed in the Ministerial Declaration to support the development of telecommunications and ICT policies in Pacific countries and provide an opportunity to share policy and regulatory trends, and enhance their capacity to address emerging opportunities and challenges.
The sessions of the PRFP-16 will be organised on topics such as Digital Infrastructure, Digital Innovation, Security and Trust, Digital Capacity Building and Skills, and Disaster Management, which are also strategic pillars of the APT’s Strategic Plan for 2021-2023. PRFP-16 will have a Roundtable for Ministers and Head of Regulators to share their recent policy and regulation issues and experiences. In addition, it will also allocate time for a Business Dialogue to provide an opportunity for the ICT industry to share their insights and experiences and for ICT policymakers and regulators to discuss new challenges and opportunities for empowering the Digital Transformation.

Lagatoi Declaration

The Pacific ICT Ministerial Dialogue 2023 brought together ICT Ministers and Heads of Delegation from across the Pacific Island Countries and Territories to foster collaboration, discuss challenges, and chart a course for the digital future of the region. The highlight of the event was the signing of the Lagatoi Declaration on Digital Transformation of the Pacific.

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