The following sections present summary conclusions of the review for the ICTWG based on the application of the six tests** set out and in particular as guided by the dominant view of CROP Executives:
ICT has the potential to be a game changer that can transform the region’s socio-economic development. It is one of the priority areas where a stronger and more effective partnership between CROP, the financing Institutions, the private sector, and other regional and international partners in ICT in the region would provide more opportunities and greater benefits to PICTs to address a whole range of ICT issues that would unlock development potential at national and regional levels.
The following quote from the Forty-six Pacific Islands Forum Communique on ICTs highlights the importance with which Pacific Islands Forum Leaders regard ICTs… ‘Leaders noted the unprecedented economic and educational opportunities that Information Communications Technologies (ICT) offers, including access to world markets and global knowledge. Leaders also acknowledged the challenges to realising these benefits, which included, among others, under-utilisation of ICT services in Forum Island Countries (FICs), a lack of resources and expertise, and the threat of cyber-attacks and crime’*** .
The ICTWG chaired by USP has contributed to the development of a regional policy on ICT development in the region - the ‘Framework of Action for ICT Development in the Pacific’ which is currently under review. The call by Forum Leaders for the Forum Secretariat and USP to consider the merit of a Regional ICT Advisory Council (RIAC), which should not overlap with existing mechanisms and must deliver real deliverables provides the opportunity for the ICTWG to contribute to this analysis and help set a firm foundation for the region to realise the benefits of ICT technology in development.
The review concludes that the ICTWG continues to play a very important role in contributing to the region’s policy agenda in ICT development and it should be retained in particular to enable CROP contribute effectively to the development of ICT solutions in the region.
**Is the working group being reviewed addressing key emerging or on-going priorities for Pacific islands countries and territories (PICTs) that would benefit from regional intervention by CROP agencies?; (ii) Do the priorities meet one or more of the criteria under the ‘Regional Tests’ in ‘Tests for Regional Action’ in the Framework for Pacific Regionalism? one or more of the criteria under the ‘Regional Tests’ in ‘Tests for Regional Action’ in the Framework for Pacific Regionalism; (iii) Do the priorities addressed by the CWG constitute (or should constitute) core functions of 2 or more CROP agencies?; (iv) What is the CWG’s role relative to other groupings on the regional development scene (such as the One UN, PRANGO or PIANGO)?; (v) Is the CWG as it is presently organised adequately resourced to achieve its objectives?; and (vi) What is the dominant view of CROP Executives in relation to the ownership, leadership, management, control, accountability and reporting of CROP working groups?
***Forum Communique – Forty-Six Pacific Islands Forum (September 2015)