Ministry of Public Utilities, Energy, Logistics & E-Governance
Plenipotentiary Conference 2022 (PP-22), Bucharest, Romania, 26 September to 14 October 2022
Preamble: Mr. Chairman, your excellences, honorable Ministers and delegates, partners in the ITU, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the government and people of Belize, allow me to extend warm greetings and sincere gratitude to our hosts, the Government of Romania, and the ITU for their hospitality and facilitation of the Plenipotentiary Conference 2022.
As I stand here today, I see colleagues, partners, and visionaries working together to forge a shared vision of Universal Connectivity and Sustainable Digital Transformation regardless of our circumstantial differences. We each represent a commitment to achieving the shared prosperity of our people and the global community.
– Accomplishments, National vision, and plans:
It is without saying that this forward-thinking vision cannot be achieved without aligned and sustainable action. Recognizing our role and the importance of chartering a sustainable digital future, in 2021, Belize launched its first-ever National Digital Agenda 2021-2025, a four-year modernization and transformation roadmap with citizen-centric design, inclusivity, closing gaps, and innovation, as some of its core guiding principles. Our National Digital Agenda represents our unwavering commitment and contribution toward sustainable digital transformation to build trust in government services. Trust is the foundation upon which all partners in our societies, including the public, can jointly explore and solve global challenges.
– Commitments and Initiatives:
One such global challenge is the digital divide. While it is critical to promote and facilitate the use of ICT as an instrument for online government service delivery and sectoral transformation, we must not overlook the growing digital gap limiting our citizen’s opportunities for meaningful involvement in the digital economy. Our National Digital Inclusion Programme, supported by the United Nations Development Programme and the Republic of China (Taiwan), will address key areas from the digital gender skill gap, connectivity, inclusion, and open government. With the establishment of Digital Connect Centers in rural areas and the launch of digital skills programs targeting women and the elderly, we aim to build a robust and empowered digital society where no one is left behind. These efforts are complemented by the investments of our National Telecommunication provider in launching a national expansion program to increase internet coverage to marginalized communities. We are confident that these, among other country-level initiatives, will contribute to the goals of the ITU Connect 2030 agenda.
To further integrate the role of digital technologies into our national development goals, we took the bold move of establishing the first-of-its-kind Digital Government Law with the support of the UNDP. This law re-enforces the fundamental principles and tenets to promote and facilitate the digitalization of public services and the utilization of ICT. It further institutionalizes the tenets of supporting legislations such as the Data Protection Act, the Electronic Transaction Act, the Public Sector Data Sharing Act, and the Cyber Crime Act. Together, these legislations strengthen the enabling environment for the overall Sustainable National Digital Transformation.
Our experience over the last two years has highlighted the need to build partnership and cooperation, a robust legal environment, and governance, to support our adaptability and resiliency to meet the needs of our citizens and create meaningful change that will impact all. In closing, on behalf of the Government of Belize, I renew our commitment to the Connect 2030 agenda. Together, we must become a platform to spur innovation, adaption, and partnerships for sustainable digital transformation.