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Singapore Empowering Global Digital Transformation for Sustainable Development

Image credit: imda.gov.sg
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Singapore is giving S$10 million to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Partner2Connect (P2C) Digital Coalition to help the international community use digital technologies to their full potential in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Singapore took the initiative because it recognises how crucial it is for all nations to be able to take part in and profit from the expansion of the global digital economy.

ITU, which is the UN body in charge of information and communication technologies, started the P2C Digital Coalition in September 2021 to help the world become more connected and digital.

This multi-stakeholder union encourages a partnership-based way to get the money needed to connect everyone by 2030. ITU P2C has already received over 700 pledges from government and business organisations totalling more than S$30 billion, but more can be done to speed up the digitalisation of the world.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) are all dedicated to helping close the global digital divide and improve the digital capabilities of other ITU member states.

“Building a shared digital future is the responsibility of all nations, large and small, Singapore is committed to playing our part to help the international community close the digital divide and ensure that the benefits of our global digital commons can be enjoyed by all,” said Lew Chuen Hong, IMDA Chief Executive.

Over a four-year period, S$10 million will be spent on programmes to help build the skills of 2400 regional and global officials. Through its Digital Forum of Small States (FOSS) initiatives, IMDA will help small states improve their technical skills and support their efforts to build a sustainable and inclusive digital future.

As part of the Asia Tech x Singapore 2023 (ATxSG) Summit, IMDA recently ran the first Digital FOSS Fellowship project in Singapore. Digital FOSS Fellows from 10 countries have discussed their experiences, problems, and hopes for the future of small states in the digital world.

The Fellows met with Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo, Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, and Ambassador-at-Large Prof Tommy Koh. Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Dr Janil Puthucheary also invited the Fellows to lunch.

The Fellows also talked with well-known speakers and guests at the ATxSG 2023 Summit and took part in a closed-door Roundtable to talk about how small states can work together to make it easier for trusted data to flow across borders in the digital economy.

Through the Singapore Cooperation Programme, the MFA will offer classes on digitalisation, such as digital economy, artificial intelligence (AI), data, and cybersecurity. These will be given to policymakers and regulators in developing and ASEAN countries to help them learn more about digital problems and improve their digital skills so they can make better national policies.

Through the ASEAN-Singapore Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence, the CSA will run technical and Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERT)-related cyber capacity-building programmes for top cyber officials in ASEAN and the rest of the world.

ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin stated that Digital will be key to putting the Sustainable Development Goals back on track. She praised Singapore for its timely P2C pledge, highlighting the importance of digital institutional capacity and cross-country collaboration in achieving universal connectivity and sustainable digital transformation in line with the SDGs.

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