Professor Rajesh Chandra (third from right), USP Vice-Chancellor and Chair of the CROP ICT WG with members of the WG during the second meeting at the Laucala Campus.
The Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP) ICT Working Group (WG) met at The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Laucala Campus in Suva on 15 August, 2017.
In welcoming the members, Professor Rajesh Chandra, Chair of the CROP ICT WG and Vice-Chancellor and President of USP said the purpose of the meeting was to take stock of where the CROP ICT WG is in terms of completion of some of the initiatives agreed on earlier and to discuss some new initiatives.
Professor Chandra reiterated the importance of the CROP ICT WG under the Framework for Pacific Regionalism saying it is responsible for coordinating the various tasks done by various players in the key areas in ICT. This he said, ensures that all players in ICT are aware of what each one is doing and communicate on a regular basis, to ensure that there is maximum benefit to the region in all the key areas and addresses the needs of the region.
Members agreed that an update be provided to Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders on the progress made by the CROP ICT WG at the 48th PIF Leaders meeting this year in Apia, Samoa. The 47th Forum Communique has two decisions specifically relating to ICT and the Leaders will need to be updated on this.
A Terms of Reference (TOR) was presented to the members for establishing taskforces that will be responsible for implementing the Pacific Regional ICT Strategic Action Plan (PRISAP). PRISAP is a plan finalised by the CROP ICT WG, which maps out how to achieve ICT development in the region and needs to be implemented. The TOR was approved by members and the Chair has urged CROP ICT WG to establish this with a matter of urgency.
Mr Tom O’Brien, CERT Australia’s Senior Adviser briefing members about PaCSON.
USP gave a presentation on the proposed set-up of a Cyber Security Centre where members agreed that all ICT players in the region be consulted and also more consultation with countries were required especially finding out what they needed.
CERT Australia’s Senior Adviser, Mr Tom O’Brien, provided an update and sought the views of the CROP ICT WG on the proposed new initiative for the Pacific called the Pacific Cyber Security Operational Network (PaCSON).
PaCSON, according to Mr O’Brien, will allow cyber security experts across the Pacific to collaborate on best practices, share information and develop respective cyber security incident response capabilities. Members agreed that their views would subsequently be provided to CERT Australia.
Furthermore, members agreed on the Concept Note that had been prepared by the taskforce (Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, USP, Asian Development Bank and Pacific Islands Telecommunications Association) for a Pacific Island Countries, Territories and Partners Meeting on ICT with the topic, Advancing ICT Development and Usage in the Pacific Region. It was proposed that this meeting be targeted before the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting in 2018.
With regard to the CROP ICT WG membership, a membership criteria was approved which will enable the WG to make objective decisions on the merits of considering new members or observer of the CROP ICT WG.
The meeting also accepted the membership application of the United Nations World Food Programme and welcomed them as a new member to the CROP ICT WG.
Members were also updated on the CROP ICT WG website/portal and were encouraged to utilise it for the dissemination of crucial information on the progress of their work on ICT development to the general public.
USP also gave an update on the draft Communications Plan for the CROP ICT WG which the members endorsed.
The current members of CROP ICT WG are USP, Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), Pacific Community (SPC), Pacific Islands Development Programme (PIDP), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO), Pacific Islands Telecommunications Association (PITA), Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank (WB), Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and Forum Island Countries.
The observers include International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Vodafone, Digicel, Civil Society Organisations (CSO) represented by the Pacific Disability Forum, and the Pacific Island territories represented by American (American Samoa) and French (French Polynesia) territories of the region.
The website for the CROP ICT WG is: https://cropict.usp.ac.fj/
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