A momentous occasion unfolded on August 28, 2023, in Port Moresby, as the first-ever Pacific ICT Ministers’ Dialogue came to a close with the signing of the’Lagatoi Agreement’.
This landmark gathering brought together ICT Ministers and Heads of Delegation from across the Pacific Island countries to foster collaboration, discuss challenges, and chart a course for the digital future of the region. The highlight of the event was the unanimous signing of the Lagatoi Declaration on Digital Transformation of the Pacific.
The Lagatoi Declaration, a symbol of unity and commitment, saw participation from 12 Pacific Island countries that included Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu.
Additionally, three Pacific ICT Ministers representing Marshall Islands, Cook Islands, and Tuvalu expressed their intention and agreement to the declaration via zoom.
The accord reaffirms the region’s collective aspiration for a well-connected, prosperous, and secure digital landscape.
The ministers, recognizing the significance of a united front in achieving their digital goals, deliberated on a range of pivotal ICT matters.
The dialogue encompassed the state of current ICT endeavors, hurdles that lay ahead, success stories that serve as inspiration, lessons gleaned from past experiences, as well as pathways to propel the Pacific’s utilization of ICT and digital transformation.
A key theme woven into these discussions was the strengthening of regional cooperation and representation to address the evolving needs of ICT and digital development.
The Lagatoi Declaration zeroes in on six priority areas that will guide the Pacific’s digital journey:
- Digital Transformation: The declaration highlights the importance of comprehensive digital transformation to enhance economic growth, social inclusivity, and sustainable development across the region.
- Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Encouraging innovation and fostering an entrepreneurial spirit are recognized as catalysts for harnessing the potential of ICT to drive economic progress.
- Digital Infrastructure: The ministers underscored the necessity of robust digital infrastructure to ensure seamless connectivity and access to digital services, even in remote areas.
- Digital Security and Trust: As the digital landscape expands, the need for enhanced cybersecurity measures and building trust in digital systems and services is emphasized.
- Digital Capacity Building and Skills Development: Recognizing the importance of a skilled workforce, the declaration emphasizes investing in education and training to equip the Pacific’s population with the necessary digital skills.
- Regional Cooperation and Representation: The declaration highlights the need for unified regional efforts in advocating for the Pacific’s digital interests on the global stage and ensuring that the region’s unique challenges are adequately addressed.
The signing of the Lagatoi Declaration marks a turning point in the Pacific’s digital trajectory, with nations united in their pursuit of a vibrant and secure digital future.
As the region moves forward, these commitments are set to shape policies, initiatives, and collaborative efforts that will not only harness the power of ICT but also fortify the Pacific’s position in the global digital landscape.
The Inaugural Pacific ICT Ministers’ Dialogue has set the stage for transformation, innovation, and collaboration, driving the Pacific Islands toward a prosperous digital era.