Asia-Pacific countries accelerate rural digitalization to achieve SDGs – World


FAO Director-General highlights range of different models and crucial role of the Organization in disseminating knowledge

27/06/2022, Bangkok – Rapidly accelerating digitalization in rural communities in Asia and the Pacific is key to regaining momentum towards achieving the goal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), government decision makers agreed after a one-day event on the subjectconvened today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

More than 200 participants joined the “FAO Digital Village Knowledge Sharing and Dialogue”, a regional follow-up aimed at advancing collective knowledge on the implementation of digital technologies in rural landscapes, towns and villages in the Asia-Pacific region. The event was organized in support of FAO’s 1000 Digital Villages Initiative, launched at FAO Headquarters in January 2021.

FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said the aim of the Asia-Pacific pilot program was to learn from the successful experiences and good practices of many countries and share those experiences with others.

The event highlighted how the rapid spread of internet access and applications of digital technologies in agricultural rural areas across the region has resulted in better production, better nutrition, less environmental damage and improvements livelihoods of millions of people in the vast Asia-Pacific region.

The Director-General of FAO addressed the event and government ministers from various countries in the region reported on good practices and methodologies in place in their communities and rural villages to leverage the latest digital technologies to improve production and the livelihoods of all, especially farmers, fishers and herders.

High-level participants at the event included Bangladesh Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque; Syahrul Yasin Limpo, Minister of Agriculture of Indonesia; Zagjav Mendsaikhan; the Mongolian Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry; Chung Hwang-keun, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs of the Republic of Korea and La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao Fosi Schmidt, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries of Samoa.

Qu highlighted the three dimensions of the digital village:

  • For agricultural production: e-Agriculture focuses on improving productivity using information and communication technologies and relevant digital solutions;
  • For farmers’ lives: “Digital Services for Farmers” focuses on improving farmers’ access to different types of social and economic services, including financial services, social protection and employment; and
  • For the village: Digital services support rural transformation by improving public service delivery in health, education, employment, social protection and tourism, including ecotourism and tourism. agritourism.

“In Asia and the Pacific, there are several models to develop and promote the digitalization of rural areas”. He cited countries like China and India, where he said digitization of rural areas was widespread. “FAO has a vital role to play in bringing this knowledge to our members in a useful and usable way, including through new tools and methodologies to conduct field studies when needed,” added Qu.

Examples of successful digital villages from several countries in Asia were showcased, many of them through living stories from the field. In Bangladesh, digital services and solutions to support agriculture and empower rural women are being rolled out, leveraging increased access and use of smartphones and the internet. In Indonesia, digital innovations that improve aquaculture are spreading among fishermen and villages in West Java and beyond. In Thailand, a number of “smart farming” innovations are being tested and benefiting farmers and rural communities, including people living with disabilities. Other examples of innovative and transformative digital technologies have been drawn from the advanced smart agriculture of the Republic of Korea to the large livestock sector of Mongolia embracing digital innovations. The event also showcased examples of digital village stories from outside the region, including Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Near East.

Among the themes highlighted was the multi-actor and multi-disciplinary nature of the digitization process, which must go beyond physical technologies and explore entire digital ecosystems with a focus on creating enabling conditions, policies and regulations that facilitate the rural transformation. For this, it is essential to close digital gaps, remove barriers to wider participation and provide better access to data and information.

Digital Village Knowledge Sharing and Exchange Platform

Participants had a first glimpse of an CAM built ‘Digital Village Knowledge Sharing and Exchange Platform’ designed to be a unique “village square” where the best practices of hundreds of digital villages and their technologies could be exhibited. The platform would also serve as a place for exchange and dialogue.

FAO is working to develop the platform for all digital innovations, digital village initiatives, best practices and sources of knowledge to be easily accessible and shared publicly as part of efforts to achieve the SDGs, in especially for the benefit of people living in the most inaccessible rural areas of the Asia-Pacific region.


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