Building peace in the minds of men and women

The Asian Digital Revolution: Transforming the Digital Divide into a Dividend through Universal Access

Asia and the Digital Revolution

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) play a central role in economic and social development of Asian countries at all levels of development. Widening access to knowledge and information has demonstrated a power to transform national economies and positively influence innovation, achievement, social progress and the building of more inclusive societies around the world. Nationally-owned and implemented Knowledge Societies initiatives are a cornerstone for achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

The advances in digital technologies are disrupting the traditional ways of working across businesses, governments and in daily lives of people. Four key developments are at the heart of this transformation – the Internet of Things, cloud computing, big data analytics and artificial intelligence. The networked nature of these technologies demands that the social, legal, ethical and technical challenges imposed by their widespread adoption require a multi-stakeholder response. It is no longer feasible or possible for one country or organization to be able to address all challenges posed by the developments in the digital sphere. Knowledge Societies in the era of digital transformation require an even stronger focus on principles of inclusion, openness, universal access and multi-stakeholder participation.

UNESCO’s expertise in ICT for Development and universal access to information are applicable to development goals facing the host country Sri Lanka and the region. UNESCO works in such areas as Open Access to scientific information; Open Educational Resources; preservation of documentary heritage; libraries and archives; Media and Information Literacy, Internet Governance; linguistic diversity on the Internet; and access for persons with disabilities.