A major report launched by the United Nations this week highlights the critical role E-governance plays in building inclusive, resilient societies in anticipation and response to the impact of disasters.
The E-Government Survey 2018: Gearing E-government to Support Transformation towards Sustainable and Resilient Societies highlights the complex challenges and varied opportunities of deploying e-government services.
Contributing to the global report, the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) highlights that the use of information and communications technology (ICT) during all phases of disaster risk management presents substantial opportunities to reduce disaster risks, enhance coping capabilities, and provide inclusive preparedness and response.
Several regional cases studies in the global survey illustrate the importance of integrating emerging innovations in digital technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), social media, space applications and geospatial information for e-resilience efforts. The report also reiterates the urgency of embracing e-resilience in e-government initiatives to ensure undisrupted services and information to citizens before, during and after disasters.
The findings and recommendations come against the backdrop of several recent disasters such as landslides in Japan, an unpresented heatwave in Pakistan and monsoon flash floods in Bangladesh and India, all of which serve to remind us how disaster risk is outpacing disaster resilience in Asia-Pacific.
Asia-Pacific is among the world’s most disaster-impacted regions prompting governments to step-up disaster risk reduction efforts through digital connectivity and innovations. Digitally-driven emerging frontier technologies, such as AI, are expected to offer unparalleled levels of data availability, insights and coping capabilities to support countries address this formidable challenge and advance the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Broadband connectivity for all remains critical to the success of e-governance. Towards this end, ESCAP continues to support the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway (AP-IS) initiative to seamlessly increase the regional availability, affordability and resilience of broadband networks as a platform for e-resilience.
The implementation of the AP-IS initiative will be reviewed and discussed by countries and partners during the upcoming second session of the AP-IS Steering Committee, scheduled from 27-28 August in Bangkok, followed by the ESCAP intergovernmental meeting of the Second Session of the Committee on Information and Communications Technology, Science, Technology and Innovation on 29 to 31 August 2018.