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Internet development report of asia pacific 2016- least developed countries (ld cs) and their challenges by shreedeep rayamajhi

Internet Development Report of Asia-Pacific 2016- Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Their Challenges, the research report focuses on issues and problems of lower economies in respect of internet governance process .

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Internet development report of asia pacific 2016- least developed countries (ld cs) and their challenges by shreedeep rayamajhi

  1. 1. Internet Development Report of Asia-Pacific 2016 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and their Challenges Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance | Rayznews February, 2017
  2. 2. 1 | P a g e Internet Development Report of Asia Pacific 2016: Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance |Rayznews Contents Abbreviation 2 Executive Summary: 3 Introduction: 4 Objectives: 5 Methodology: 6 Regional Internet Data of the World: 6 Internet Penetration rate in Asia Pacific Countries: 7 Facts about Asia-Pacific: 8 Key Internet Adoption Barriers in Asia Pacific: 9 Mobile Phone Internet User Penetration in Asia Pacific: 10 Reports and Data Published: 11 Problems and Challenges of Least Developed Countries: 15 Conclusion: 19 References: 20 Information about the Researcher: 21
  3. 3. 2 | P a g e Internet Development Report of Asia Pacific 2016: Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance |Rayznews Abbreviation Asia Pacific AP Information Communication Technology ICT Internet Governance IG Internet Governance Forum IGF Least Developed Countries LDCs Freedom of Expression FoE Sustainable Development Goals SDGs Gross Domestic Product GDP United Kingdom U.K Established Est. Population Pop Voice over Internet Protocol VoIP Asia Development Bank ADB Green House Gas GHG International Telecommunication Union ITU Management Information System MIS Internet of Things IoT Information Communication Technology for Development ICT4D Machine-to-Machine M2M Wireless Sensor Networks WSN Multistakeholder Advisory Group MAG
  4. 4. 3 | P a g e Internet Development Report of Asia Pacific 2016: Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance |Rayznews Executive Summary: Asia Pacific (AP) has been a major stakeholder when it comes to internet usage and new users. As we are moving towards connecting the next billion, AP is also gearing up with its resources and infrastructure to adjust and adopt to the forthcoming technology. With the buzz of new technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) & 5G, Asia is struggling to adapt and migrate with a variation of tendency to lessen the gaps of net neutrality and digital divide. The lack of cooperation and collaboration certainly seems to be a big challenge but a major part of its economies are hit by standardization and lack of awareness issues. The issues varies from access and communication of internet core values to gender gaps in remote and under developed regions whereas there are issues of policy adaptation and open standards in developing and least developed nations. Yes, major part of the next billion is coming from AP where there are various economies that have various internet practice and level of internet penetration rates. The key reason for people not able to connect to Internet are structural inequalities in social living standards. It includes their level of income and education which profoundly affects the way they process technology and its uses. Mostly likely the gender difference and its inequality certainly put the position of women behind in AP region which is a more alarming and cornering issue in Least Developed countries (LDCs). Many of the times, lack of infrastructure, relevant online content and services and high relative costs of access are usually seen as major hindrances. But majority of the countries are facing issues of policy and regulation and other adaptation issues. To be very precise, the problem lacks within the reach of how the global world is moving towards creating new angles of technology where the LDCs are wrongly interpreting the definition and policies. Another aspect of its problem lies in its diversity as in most of the cases Asia-Pacific is represented in the global hemisphere by few of the leading economies which results in lack of representation and coordination. With such practice, the Internet governance process simply trickles down with gaps of standardization and communication. Likewise, criminalization of Freedom of Expression (FoE) is yet another issue which has been seen rising in LDCs where young people, journalist, leaders and activists have been confined in the name of law. The LDCs have no option, they follow the path of cooperation and collaboration. They are improvised of infrastructure, policy, awareness and other standardization issue, according to the need of the developed nation that caters the need as per their funding requirement. Some have access and some lack policy; some have policy and some lack infrastructure. The variation of problems create a web of complexity which are incomplete and alternating. Similarly, the role of government working as regulators leave no option for other stakeholders to be suppressed and be victimized of externalities. Apart from this, lack of proper leadership and capacity building in terms of Internet governance process create a situation of chaos. The major problem in these lower economies can be listed as lack of awareness of multistakeholder concept, awareness and capacity building and the current practice lack standardization as a major obstacle.
  5. 5. 4 | P a g e Internet Development Report of Asia Pacific 2016: Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance |Rayznews Introduction: AP is one of the biggest economical region and shares a unique social, cultural and historical background different from rest of the World. From the last few decades, the Asian Pacific region has gone through considerable changes in its socio-economic status. Information Communication Technology (ICT) encompasses the broad fields of data/information processing, transmission and communications creating better option of connecting the world through network, and technology. With the booming of economic development and globalization, technologies are increasingly coming up with better prospect of opportunity and lifestyle where internet has become an essential part of everyone’s life. Though this prospect of the industry has been creating various options but due to lack of uniformity the people living within the AP region are struggling to keep that up. The disparity of digital rights and access to technology and service differentiate among various groups has indefinitely created a vast gap of technology where countries are segregated among groups of:  Developed Countries,  Developing Countries,  Least Developed Countries Another aspect of the global understanding is only a very small percentage of the population is connected to the technology and its governance process where majority of the LDCs and developing world are affected by exclusion rather than inclusion. According to internet statistics, “In 2014 nearly 75% (2.1 billion) of all internet users in the world (2.8 billion) live in the top 20 countries. The remaining 25% (0.7 billion) is distributed among the other 178 countries, each representing less than 1% of total users. China, the country with most users (642 million in 2014), represents nearly 22% of total, and has more users than the next three countries combined (United States, India, and Japan). Among the top 20 countries, India is the one with the lowest penetration: 19% and the highest yearly growth rate. At the opposite end of the range, United States, Germany, France, United Kingdom (U.K.), and Canada have the highest penetration: over 80% of population in these countries has an internet connection. An Internet User is defined as an individual who has access to the Internet at home, via computer or mobile device.” The AP with its diversity and limitation has not been able to adjust to the rapid technological advancement in communication technology and the accelerated governance process of the internet ecosystem. The technological revolution has played a key role in creating a wide spread divide in the AP region. This divide has further open the gap where people are segregated among the ones who have the access and information with the rest who lacks such access and information. The difference of the both has been an issue of creating a collaborative multistakeholder model giving more focus and at the same time it can be the tool in addressing these challenges for lessening the gaps. Most part of this region is limited to people who have access to quality Internet and services, but is still an issue of governance where mobilization of technology is still market driven and its standardization is majorly an issue of public debate which is inaccessible to LDCs and developing countries.
  6. 6. 5 | P a g e Internet Development Report of Asia Pacific 2016: Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance |Rayznews Objectives: The basic objective of this research is to segregate the common knowledge and practice of internet behavior in AP region and to highlight the current internet development process of AP. Though there are various campaigns that are running around but there has been very less work done in terms of understanding the knowledge and acceptability of new technology. Likewise, various issues of open standards, cost, awareness and collaboration are majorly seen as a big hurdle for access and communication. This report deals with the basic objective of understanding the development and growth of Internet governance process in LDCs and developing countries. The objective can be listed in following given points:  Finding the new trend of internet users in AP region  Internet usage ratio  Problems and issues of connecting the next billion  Highlighting the issues of internet politics  Collaborative efforts and Effectiveness of stakeholders  Data of internet users in AP  Local assumption and practices of IG process  Problems and issues of internet growth and development in AP  General trend in understanding the internet user behavior  Social indicators for internet penetration rate  Lower economies and their presence According to United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (UN-OHRLLS), The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) represent the poorest and weakest segment of the international community. They comprise more than 880 million people (about 12 per cent of world population), but account for less than 2 percent of world GDP and about 1 percent of global trade in goods. The AP has 13 Least Developed countries 1. Afghanistan 2. Bangladesh 3. Bhutan 4. Cambodia 5. Kiribati 6. Lao People’s Democratic Republic 7. Myanmar 8. Nepal 9. Solomon Islands 10. Timor-Leste 11. Tuvalu 12. Vanuatu 13. Yemen
  7. 7. 6 | P a g e Internet Development Report of Asia Pacific 2016: Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance |Rayznews Methodology: This report on Internet development in AP LDCs based on both qualitative and quantitative data and information gathered from secondary sources. Secondary sources include worldwide websites and printed materials developed by national departments and ministries, civil societies and international development agencies. Regional Internet Data of the World: Source: Internet World Stats The regional data and numbers clearly show the current internet configuration and ecosystem. As new technologies are evolving, the dynamics of internet is also changing and challenging the policy makers for creating better ICT development strategy. People every day are getting online to access the internet with various applications and mode of operation. From socializing to business to education people are increasingly using internet and technology. The reliance of people’s lifestyle has made various application and smartphones an immense part of their lifestyle. The use of internet access differs substantially by a number of key demographics, including age and education. Apart from that various social media platform and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) application have increasingly got popular as communication medium that have given all age people the freedom to communicate beyond borders. In most of the case especially in LDCs where people have migrated for working opportunity , various VoIP apps and social media platform are profoundly use as a great mean of cheap communication. Likewise, Viber VoIP app made possible free calls during the national disaster of earthquake in Nepal in 2015 which has increased its popularity and use of such application at times of need. WORLD INTERNET USAGE AND POPULATION STATISTICS JUNE 30, 2016 - Update World Regions Population (2016 Est.) Population % of World Internet Users 30 June 2016 Penetration Rate (% Pop.) Growth 2000- 2016 Table % Users Asia 4,052,652,889 55.2 % 1,846,212,654 45.6 % 1,515.2% 50.2 % Europe 832,073,224 11.3 % 614,979,903 73.9 % 485.2% 16.7 % Latin America / Caribbean 626,119,788 8.5 % 384,751,302 61.5 % 2,029.4% 10.5 % Africa 1,185,529,578 16.2 % 340,783,342 28.7 % 7,448.8% 9.3 % North America 359,492,293 4.9 % 320,067,193 89.0 % 196.1% 8.7 % Middle East 246,700,900 3.4 % 141,489,765 57.4 % 4,207.4% 3.8 % Oceania / Australia 37,590,820 0.5 % 27,540,654 73.3 % 261.4% 0.8 % WORLD TOTAL 7,340,159,492 100.0 % 3,675,824,813 50.1 % 918.3% 100.0 %
  8. 8. 7 | P a g e Internet Development Report of Asia Pacific 2016: Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance |Rayznews Internet Penetration rate in Asia Pacific Countries: Source: Internet Live Stats The Data clearly shows the exponential trend of LDCs which are currently trying to evolve but with limited resources and infrastructure, they are struggling to adopt to the technological revolution. Though development and growth has been phenomenal as compared to the last decade but on the same there has been an issue of acceptance of open standards in LDCs. The lack of knowledge and technical support has created barriers for such countries in adoption of standardization in internet governance process which not only effective the nation at individual level but it has a drastic effect in the overall internet ecosystem. S.No Country Internet Users (2016) Penetration (% of Pop) Population (2016) Non-Users (internetless) 1 China 721,434,547 52.2 % 1,382,323,332 660,888,785 2 India 462,124,989 34.8 % 1,326,801,576 864,676,587 3 Japan 115,111,595 91.1 % 126,323,715 11,212,120 4 Indonesia 53,236,719 20.4 % 260,581,100 207,344,381 5 Viet Nam 49,063,762 52 % 94,444,200 45,380,438 6 Mongolia 1,069,693 35.6 % 3,006,444 1,936,751 7 Philippines 44,478,808 43.5 % 102,250,133 57,771,325 8 South Korea 43,274,132 85.7 % 50,503,933 7,229,801 9 Pakistan 34,342,400 17.8 % 192,826,502 158,484,102 10 Thailand 29,078,158 42.7 % 68,146,609 39,068,451 11 Papua New Guinea 906,695 11.7 % 7,776,115 6,869,420 12 Malaysia 21,090,777 68.6 % 30,751,602 9,660,825 13 Australia 20,679,490 85.1 % 24,309,330 3,629,840 14 Sri Lanka 6,087,164 29.3 % 20,810,816 14,723,652 15 Maldives 198,071 53.6 % 369,812 171,741 16 Samoa 56,373 29 % 194,523 138,150 17 Tonga 49,822 46.6 % 106,915 57,093 18 Sao Tome and Principe 49,686 25.6 % 194,390 144,704 19 Marshall Islands 10,709 20.2 % 53,069 42,360 20 Afghanistan 2,279,167 6.8 % 33,369,945 31,090,778 21 Bangladesh 21,439,070 13.2 % 162,910,864 141,471,794 22 Bhutan 289,177 36.9 % 784,103 494,926 23 Cambodia 1,756,824 11.1 % 15,827,241 14,070,417 24 Kiribati 14,724 12.9 % 114,405 99,681 25 Laos 1,087,567 15.7 % 6,918,367 5,830,800 26 Myanmar 1,353,649 2.5 % 54,363,426 53,009,777 27 Nepal 4,962,323 17.2 % 28,850,717 23,888,394 28 Solomon Islands 58,423 9.8 % 594,934 536,511 29 Timor-Leste 14,030 1.2 % 1,211,245 1,197,215 30 Vanuatu 82,764 30.6 % 270,470 187,706
  9. 9. 8 | P a g e Internet Development Report of Asia Pacific 2016: Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance |Rayznews Facts about Asia-Pacific:  In Asia and the Pacific, 330 million people still live in less than $1.90 a day.  Roughly 300 million people in Asia and the Pacific live without safe drinking water.  Nine in ten people now have access to electricity in Asia and the Pacific. Other Key Facts:  Approximately 1.2 billion people in Asia and the Pacific are below the poverty line of $3.10 (2011 PPP) a day.  About 1.5 billion lack access to proper sanitation.  Broadband internet subscriptions increased in 45 out of 47 reporting economies between 2000 and 2015, but 58% of the region’s population remains unconnected to the internet.  The GDP share of manufacturing increased in 16 out of 48 ADB member countries from 2000 to 2015.  In nearly three-quarters of the economies of Asia and Pacific, the service sector accounts for more than 50% of GDP based on latest data.  Asia and the Pacific generated two-fifths of global GDP (in 2011 purchasing power parity terms) in 2015.  There are remarkable disparities across economies: In 2011 purchasing power parity terms, Singapore’s per capita GDP is 44 times that of Solomon Islands.  The region accounts for roughly 45% of global energy use according to latest available data.  Over the past decade, the region’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions grew faster than the global average.  Government spending on health as a percentage of GDP has increased in about two-thirds of the region’s economies since 2000.  The average number of days required to start a business in developing Asia and the Pacific declined from 45 days in 2005 to 20 days in 2015. Source: ADB
  10. 10. 9 | P a g e Internet Development Report of Asia Pacific 2016: Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance |Rayznews Key Internet Adoption Barriers in Asia Pacific: Although Asian economy boomed in the last two decades but there are cultural, social and economic barriers in developing and least developed economies. The infrastructure, Policy, and other social issues like gender, digital divide, & other open standards issues are still a question of concern. A very low percentage of people in remote area have access and comparing it with women than it’s negligible. The social and the cultural aspect of lack of awareness of gender digital divide and women who are involved with ICT services certainly make a huge impact of how and where the ICT revolution is going throughout the AP region. Similarly, the ITU, Connecting the Un-connected states the Africa and Asia-Pacific are still faced with most significant challenges in overcoming Internet adoption barriers. Africa still faces challenges in relation to all Internet adoption barriers, including affordability and relevance, capability and infrastructure. Africa is the region with the highest rural population at 62%. It also shows the lowest levels of income and education as well as the highest Internet usage gender gap. Asia-Pacific also still faces significant Internet adoption barriers. The key barriers are relevance, infrastructure (particularly in rural areas and island nations) and affordability/low income. Moreover, Asia-Pacific has a relatively large gender gap. While at the country level there is very high variability in the data for a range of ICT indicators, women fare poorly across almost all regions and development levels: the GSMA estimates that 1.7 billion women in low- and middle income countries do not own mobile phones and women are on average 14% less likely than men to own a mobile phone. In terms of access, women are 50% less likely than men in the same age group and at similar education and income levels to be connected to the Internet than men. The key socio-economic drivers of Internet access for women are education and age. In terms of use, women are half as likely to speak out online and a third less likely to look for work than men. In this regard, the A4AI Affordability Report highlights lack of know-how and technical literacy, as well as the high costs to connect as the key reasons for not being online for women who live in urban areas. The MIS 2016 Report highlights a persistent gender gap in relation to Internet use, which is largest and has widened between 2013 and 2016 in Africa (from 20.7% to 23%) and the Arab States (from 19.2% to 20%).
  11. 11. 10 | P a g e Internet Development Report of Asia Pacific 2016: Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance |Rayznews Mobile Phone Internet User Penetration in Asia Pacific: This statistic gives information on the mobile internet penetration in AP from 2014 to 2019. In 2015, 49.8 percent of mobile phone users accessed the internet from their mobile phone. This figure is expected to grow to 57.2 percent in 2018. Source: © Statista 2017 Mobile broadband connections accounted for 45% of the total connections base in Asia Pacific by the end of 2015, a figure forecast to rise to 70% by 2020. There has been a dramatic shift in the technology splits from 2010 (when 2G accounted for well over 80% of connections) to 2015, when the share of 2G has reduced to 55%. 4G is forecast to more than double its share of connections to 37% by 2020, as operators continue to invest in 4G network build-outs and subscribers migrate to higher speed networks. The number of smartphone connections in Asia Pacific totaled 1.7 billion at the end of 2015, accounting for 45% of total connections in the region. China, India and Indonesia have been the main drivers of growth, helping the region double its overall smartphone base over the last two years. The region will add a further 1.3 billion smartphone connections by 2020, reaching a total of more than 3 billion, or two-thirds of the region’s total connections base by that date. Source: GSMA
  12. 12. 11 | P a g e Internet Development Report of Asia Pacific 2016: Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance |Rayznews Reports and Data Published: Internet has become one of the most powerful medium of communication and networking. Within 2017 we will be connecting the 4 billion but still in major parts of the world, internet and its rights are majorly limited within people of developed nations only. There is a huge confusion about internet rights and core values where in major part of AP region lacks standardization and human rights issues top the chart. Whether you talk about policy making and leadership still today the voices of diversity are marginalized and are out of reach due to many reasons. Some of the international organizations working in the field of core issues of research have highlighted few of the issues below: The Broadband Catalyzing Sustainable Development report launched by the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development on 15 September 2016 states that global broadband connectivity shows strong growth, with 300 million more people connected in 2016 than in 2015, putting the number of people online by the end of 2016 to 3.5 billion. However, more than half the world’s population (some 3.9 billion people) remains offline. The report highlights that offline populations, who are now found in more remote, rural areas, consist disproportionately of poorer, minority, less educated, and often female, members of society. The report traces the progress made towards achieving the Broadband Commission’s targets for broadband. Progress has been mixed. There has been good progress made towards the first target on National Broadband Plans and policy-making and also on the affordability of broadband access (second target). The Commission’s target 3 on household Internet access and 4 on Internet access in Least Developed Countries will be achieved outside of the original time frame. Regrettably, there is a retrogression for the fifth target calling for gender equality in access to broadband Internet. The overall Internet user gender gap grew by 1% between 2013 and 2016, with still 202 million fewer women than men owning a mobile phone in 2016. The report also explores promising new uses and applications of ICTs for development (ICT4D), including mobile, satellite, the Internet of Things (IoT), Machine-to-Machine (M2M) connectivity and Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN). This serves as a reminder that new technologies and broadband can play a vital role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Focusing on the development of the ICT sector and the possibilities the World Bank released its annual World Development Report (WDR) 2016 -“Digital Dividends”. The report basically highlights how the Internet can be a force for development, especially for the poor in developing countries. While the report documents many profound and transformational effects of digital technology, it finds that the broader benefits have fallen short and are unevenly distributed. The report argues that to ensure that everyone benefits, technology adoption will not be enough. Countries will need to address the “analogue components”, for example by strengthening regulations enabling firms to connect and compete, adapting worker’s skills to the demands of the new economy, and ensuring that institutions are accountable.
  13. 13. 12 | P a g e Internet Development Report of Asia Pacific 2016: Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance |Rayznews According to the human rights group Freedom House, Global Online Freedom 2016, it has been on a steady decline over the past six years. Two-thirds of all internet users “live in countries where criticism of the government, military, or ruling family are subject to censorship.” The organization’s researchers also found dramatic growth in the number of countries that “required private companies or internet users to restrict or delete web content dealing with political, religious, or social issues”. Internet freedom around the world declined in 2016 for the sixth consecutive year.  Two-thirds of all internet users — 67 percent — live in countries where criticism of the government, military, or ruling family are subject to censorship.  Social media users face unprecedented penalties, as authorities in 38 countries made arrests based on social media posts over the past year. Globally, 27 percent of all internet users live in countries where people have been arrested for publishing, sharing, or merely “liking” content on Facebook.  Governments are increasingly going after messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram, which can spread information quickly and securely. The Internet Society has come out with its latest edition of Global Internet Report 2016 which focuses on the evolution and growth of the Internet. It specifically highlights large-scale data breaches, uncertainties about the use of our data, cybercrime, surveillance and other online threats are eroding trust on the Internet. According to the report, "An instructive parallel can be drawn with efforts to increase automobile safety over the past 50 years. With the advancement of Internet of Things (IoT) Autonomous cars will, of course, be controlled by a computer, and have communications built-in to communicate with the owner, and possibly with other vehicles for safety. As a result, of course, the computer can be hacked remotely, as already seen with the Chrysler Jeep. This can lead to a significant breach of data about the location and activities of drivers, not to mention the possibility of one or more cars being hacked and taken over. More broadly, many of our recommendations are valid for preventing or mitigating breaches of the full range Internet of Things devices. Not just for the data they are gathering with their sensors, but also for a security breach leading to personal or public safety risks, with autonomous cars a leading example of the risks. As such, we encourage the application of the findings of our report to the relevant issues arising from the Internet"
  14. 14. 13 | P a g e Internet Development Report of Asia Pacific 2016: Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance |Rayznews IGF 2016 Attendance & Program Statistics: The Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF 2016) took place in Jalisco, Mexico, from 6 to 9 December 2016. The meeting was attended by more than 2 000 onsite participants, from 123 countries, representing all stakeholder groups and regions. 45 remote hubs were organized around the world, with 2 000 stakeholders participating online. The largest number of online participants came from the following countries: United States, Mexico, Nigeria, Brazil, India, Cuba, United Kingdom, China, Japan, Tunisia and Argentina. According to ITU, CONNECTING THE UNCONNECTED, “To-date, 53% of the world’s population is still not using the Internet4. Research undertaken by ITU into the online and offline population shows that four-fifths of the offline population are located in Asia-Pacific and in Africa. While absolute numbers of offline individuals at a regional level show that Asia-Pacific bears the lion’s share, it is Africa that exhibits the greatest connectivity shortfall when examining the proportion of population that is not online. When grouping countries by their level of development5, the greatest connectivity shortfall is exhibited in Least Developed Countries (“LDCs”), where 85% of the population is still offline set against only 22% in Developed Countries.”
  15. 15. 14 | P a g e Internet Development Report of Asia Pacific 2016: Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance |Rayznews The potential use of ICTs in remote, low income communities creating better opportunity has always been prioritized in various development plans and projects. The basic problem that has been seen is technology-enabled 'solutions' are those that are imported and 'made to fit' into what are often much more challenging environments. The social economical status and the effectivness of local resource and knowldeged have been ignored where issues of human rights, gender equality and internet core values challenge the operation, creating gaps of governance process. The localization of internet goveranace process needs to be incorporated from developing basic core values to establishing social equatiable values of gender equality to creating better value for human growth and development. Each step has to be coordinated considering the larger picture of the global development rather than showcasing a weak plan of compomised set of goals. The focus on skills development and awareness has to be more concentrated where it needs to be prioritized with local intervention and knowledge development process. Migration of foreign expertise and knowledge without the adaptation process simply creates gaps and misinterpretation. These gaps can harvest extreme externalities which can be further developed into issues of alarming course of technological divide. AP region has been very vulnerable in terms of disaster and diversity. The prospect of creating and developing set of values for the proper growth and development has been a continuous work in view of adaptation and discourse of policy and open standards that are just passed on without priority of mitigation process. But the limitation of using foreign set of value is not a wise idea. To understand Asia we need Asian set of value and Asian leaders to rise with the core issues and problems. Internet governance process demands the different set of understanding and research for the diversity and beliefs we have. Even during 2016 the world saw a Social media users face unprecedented penalties, as authorities in 38 countries made arrests based on social media posts over the past year. Criminalization of FoE has been a major issues where LDCs and Developing countries are still struggling to accept values of open standards. Yes, technology can be a solution but we need proper core values to guide us and leadership to drive technology through the road of development and growth. With all the economical difference we need a collaborative approach of creating better understanding of technology and its uses. The current Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognizes the importance of integrating economic, social and environmental within a comprehensive global approach which needs collaboration from all sides. The Goals provide a unique opportunity for enhancing the role of ICTs leveraging the gaps creating better means of empowerment and leadership opportunity among various stakeholders and agencies in the region. The prospect of LDCs are more significant in every terms of benefiting from the SDGs intervention where we have already seen the issues of affordable and universal access to ICTs and broadband connectivity. This needs to be driven by local resources and knowledge grooming at grassroots level.
  16. 16. 15 | P a g e Internet Development Report of Asia Pacific 2016: Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance |Rayznews Problems and Challenges of Least Developed Countries: More than half of the planet’s population lives in AP and six of the 10 largest countries of the world are in the AP region. Most importantly the region is playing an increasingly imperative role in the global economy of innovation and technology. But when we look at internet development and cooperation the growth and development fluctuates drastically according to countries. It’s high time when we move towards identifying the key indicators and work towards development and collaboration. During the research we identified few of the things that has been challenging AP leaders in voicing their issues and representation of LDCs. This includes wide range of issues from social economical to cultural to political to utilization resources to technology to policy which are more dependent upon economy and their practices. The major challenges are listed below: 1. Diversity: AP has a wide variety of people, culture and economy that range hugely upon its demographic and its territory. The different people practice different set of cultural values and traditions which result in lack of understanding and interpretations. Standardization is a major problem especially in terms of human rights and other technical issues. Diversity comes as a challenges in terms of language and core values where there are issues of acceptance of open standards and policies. 2. Gender issue: In AP region there is a huge gender gap where Women’s connectivity even to the available ICT services, facilities and infrastructure is mediated by various factors, which include their social and economic positions geographical locations. Gender perspective in ICT sector is a major challenge as there are growing concerns about deeper and wider exclusion of women in this region with further growth of the industry. Similarly, Women have relatively little ownership and decision-making authority in ICT sector. Women are underrepresented in decision making positions. 3. Lack of Infrastructure: As mentioned above, being the biggest and having the most of the population in the region. AP has a wide variety of terrain which has issues of poverty and open standards. The governing countries follow their own set of laws and policies. Most of these economies are economically challenged where basic infrastructure at times is a question of priority. Apart from this most of the countries in the AP are struggling to adopt the new technology due to their high cost and ambition. The technologies have been passed on but the relative knowledge and core values are struggling to facilitate the national internet governance process. 4. Cost of internet: Cost of Internet has been a major cause of how and why the reach has been so limited in AP. In most of the cases mobile internet are very expensive and their quality of service and data flow is highly questionable. It’s either very costly or very questionable of monopoly situation. Broadband has a limited reach and expanding but it has its cost with all the resources and technology used. 5. Cyber Security and Extremism: Cyber security and Extremism may seem to be different topic but looking at the current vulnerability and situation, Asia Pacific needs focused awareness program in context of how we are planning to deal with such issues. As the LDCs and Developing countries are vulnerable to policy and other counter mechanism they are prune to issues of falling prey to Extremism. Technology of today is not only has lessen the barriers of communication and
  17. 17. 16 | P a g e Internet Development Report of Asia Pacific 2016: Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance |Rayznews geography but on the same it also poses a huge threat of issues of discrimination and cyber terrorism. 6. Awareness at various level: When we talk about awareness, there is a vast level of knowledge and expertise required not just from technical point of view but from local level. Awareness campaigns have been running since past few years but it lacks focus in terms of how it penetrates people and their living attitude. Reality is awareness campaigns are just limited to reports and videos where the projects sustainability is majorly compromised. The campaigns are targeted to focused group which limits the reach and cooperation. AP has become a ground for developing organization as a funding field in both ways of earning and spending funds. 7. Low representation of minority groups: When it comes to representation most of the times the fellowships and memberships are prioritized by developing nations representatives and mostly upon networks. A great deal of politics goes around for promoting few people involved in the internet organization who travel in the name of developing world. These people are frequent common face who rule in major civil society organization and Internet community organization. Another aspect of the game is in most of the regional forum, Asia is represented by developed and developing states where the least developed nation have no voice 8. Criminalization of FoE: Social media is evolving as the next biggest thing of the century. All age people and groups use it in various ways to express themselves. Some use it personally, some professionally and some use it just for the sake of it. No matter how people use social media, its popularity is growing due to its accessibility, openness and flexibility. In such scenario Criminalization of freedom of expression is yet another problem that is evolving and is an issue of study and discussion. Especially in developing countries and LDCs due to lack proper policies and mechanism, the law is being misinterpreted in creating various unwanted situations. Law can be used in and against where manipulation and understandability plays a crucial role in maintaining standardization. Standardization of basic core values of society has been chartered by various international laws in securing basic rights of every individual which cannot be contested. 9. Internet Politics and Network: Internet of toady has fully grown to an opportunity and with the booming prospect. The community level organization which are working towards developing next generation leaders are more focused towards saving their own candidates for coming position and in the name of multistakeholder process selected people are given the opportunity highlighting favoritism and nepotism. The concept of Multistakeholderism has simply been used by powerful people who fails to cooperate and collaborate the issues of transparency and accountability at national and regional level. 10. Developed Mentality: This is more of a common problem in the Internet Governance Process where the developed world fails to see the remaining. It is a simple attitude of generalizing the situation and looking at the whole Asia within the parameter of standard value. With the diversity and range of economies, we have variety of issues, within the same country and different opinions and set of standards and belief. Most of the ICT-driven economic and social changes privilege people who are already in better position. Most of the economic growth has been uneven and concentrated in urban location within the countries.
  18. 18. 17 | P a g e Internet Development Report of Asia Pacific 2016: Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance |Rayznews 11. Lack of effective awareness program: From the past and present a lot of awareness programs have been running. The programs are limited within the project period till the time it is funded. As soon as the funding is over things stop. This has been a major issues especially regarding the sustainability and impact. The funding organization are also more report focused and the projects are also funding focused so it simply works to create a limitation within the community. 12. Role of Government: Technology has always been a big challenge for the Governments of AP as the region is working towards finding solution for stable economy. The government has to be more focused and strategic about the new technology, its investment and impacts. Though there has been significant development and awareness campaign but in majority of the countries of the AP the government simply plays the role of a regulator which at times hinders the overall process of internet Governance. As such it should be strengthening the overall governance process by playing the facilitating role where it simply creates obstruction in the name of social welfare. The transitions of role of government from regulator to facilitator is significant in creating a true multistakeholder environment where values and peoples voices can be addressed. 13. Role of Media: The new technologies are more efficient and smart in terms of reaching people within the shortest time, media still has a defining role to disseminate information and communications among the public in developing and least developed countries. The new technologies are possibilities of allowing interesting social opportunities from peer communications, easy content management and dissemination, storage, low-cost reproduction, manipulation and distribution of information but the role of tradition media are also immense due to its reach and collaboration of social development and geographic territory. Especially in AP where majority of the population is illiterate and Poverty strives as huge concern, the role and objective of Media is very strong. Media has always been a definite stakeholder in terms of society and public policy. Its scope and objectives are not just limited to its work periphery but it acts as an immense part of society that is responsible for creating better values of social welfare and development. Looking at its growth from traditional approach to the current use of technology, media has been very comfortable in terms of migration and adaptation but when it comes to leading the issues and problems of internet governance, media slides back in a lame role of providing support for the dialogue process. 14. Multistakeholderism, its interpretation and adaptation: AP is a big region with various economies. Open standards has always been a great challenge where it is interpreted in the desired way. Similarly, multistakeholder also has its own ways of interpretation. Especially in AP region multistakeholder is a coordinated effort of selecting multiple stakeholders without the freedom and acceptance of open call and transparency. A major challenge is Multistakeholder also represent transparency and open system which is hugely compromised at times. 15. Report Mentality: This is one of the major problem of the development community where funding are done for various capacity building, awareness and further other organization but with the limitation of time and strategic direction internet community organization are limited to reports and updates. The program or project runs till the time there is funding and as soon as the funds are cut off, everything stops.
  19. 19. 18 | P a g e Internet Development Report of Asia Pacific 2016: Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance |Rayznews 16. Limitation of network and collaboration: The internet events and world works with the dynamics of network communication. If you do not have the right channel then even a right person in left behind. It’s a very sad situation but various user groups and communities are establish to promote self-ideologies and strategies. Looking at bigger picture even in the IGF process the participation and limitation of MAG membership from least developed countries has been to a minimum. 17. Cooperation and collaboration of internet organizations: Looking at the current funding capacity of internet organization it seems very hard how and why, the target group of people are not being reached or why the awareness programs are not successful. The recent SDGs and other funding options are working individually which results in major of the funding option available for only one issues or most of the organization are working in the same field. More collaboration and cooperation is required in a regional and strategic option where there needs to be a map and goals needs to be set up. 18. Internet still governed by technical community: Still today in most parts of the Asian Pacific countries internet is still considered to be managed within the technological community only. There seems to be no scope for open standards and highlights a limitation of public governance in the name of cooperation and collaboration. The limitation of collaboration and cooperation creates a very narrow path for standardization and collaboration. 19. Lack of standardization and identification of internet core values: Standardization is a major challenge in lower economies and their adaptation process. There is a big gaps in adaptation of internet core values and these economies are adapting new technologies creating a situation of vulnerability and chaos. 20. Lack of transparency and accountability: Multistakeholder has been the key word for the Internet Governance process but the basic core values of Multistakeholderism are transparency and accountability. One thing we have to understand is multistakeholderism is a process that is driven by the transparency and accountability. No matter how multistakeholder a process is if there is no transparency and accountability, it’s not a multistakeholder process.
  20. 20. 19 | P a g e Internet Development Report of Asia Pacific 2016: Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance |Rayznews Conclusion: The next billion is certainly joining the internet and its coming from the AP region. With this reality we have to accept that still today the vast majority of populations are still deprived of basic rights. Given the absence of basic infrastructure, cheaper technology, knowledge, ICT skills and dominance of English as medium of navigation and content, a significant portion of peoples in the AP are deprived of their internet rights. These obstacles pose more hinder for people living in LDCs particularly in rural areas in term of reaping benefiting from ICTs since they are more likely to be facing challenges of education and gender. Even when they are literate they lack necessary literacy and hold lesser economic power to be engaged in ICT related professions and occupations. The recommendation are listed below: 1. Further aggressive awareness & capacity campaigns are needed in terms of least developing countries of AP Region 2. Developing nation and contemporary economies need to be segregated and separated from lower economies 3. Problems and issues of minority groups and least developed nation needs to be highlighted with effective promotion of knowledge, awareness and opportunity 4. More fellowship in context of Internet governance forum (IGF) should be granted to lower economies 5. Internet organization needs to focus better strategic and policy aspects for least developed countries 6. Various internet governance process and mechanism needs to target specific groups 7. Effective planning and research need to be set-up for AP region 8. Social media intervention are highly recommended 9. Better research and surveys are required 10. Multistakeholder and Open standards integration for LDCs and Developing states 11. SDGs needs an open and collaborative approach for technological sharing and development 12. Open internet governance process like Internet Governance Forum needs strategic intervention for LDCs in AP region 13. The growing trend of awareness of extremism and online security of countering cyber terrorism needs specific planning and strategies A multistakeholder environment means not just the encouragement of equality, cooperation and collaboration but on the same it focuses better integration of safeguarding people’s rights and responsibilities with a globalized economy and participation. Technology should be adopted not just as a limitation, but to provide the most appropriate governance solution. If you compare and look at the current numbers and trends in AP, over one billion people live in extreme poverty, and 75 percent of these are in rural areas where they have no access to basic facilities and rights. Within Asia, 40 percent of the population lives with incomes below US$2 per day. In this context, the reach and access of people living below the poverty line and their rights are not just subjected to questions but it highlights the current governance process of how we can integrate to create a better governance process. Multistakeholder or representation of such groups can be an effective possibility of growth and development where Internet represents a new age of development and growth.
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  22. 22. 21 | P a g e Internet Development Report of Asia Pacific 2016: Shreedeep Rayamajhi | Learn Internet Governance |Rayznews Society, I. (2015, 06). The Internet and Sustainable . Retrieved from Society, I. (2016, November). Retrieved from Global Internet Report : Statista. (n.d.). Mobile Penetration Data Prediction . Retrieved from pacific/ Stats, I. L. (2017, 01 30). Retrieved from Internet Live Stats: users-by-country/ UNDP. (2016). Retrieved from Human Development Index Report 2016: Information about the Researcher: Shreedeep Rayamajhi Link: Email: | Website: Learn Internet Governance (Learn IG) Link: Learn Internet Governance is a Collaborative Community Development Program (CCDP) which focuses on using local resources, knowledge and best practice to reach out to the public. It is an open knowledge sharing platform creating better learning opportunity. Rayznews Link: RayZnews is an Internet Organization based in Nepal that lobbies the un-heard voices of people and caters a wide variety of news happening globally. We believe in featuring or highlighting stories and voices against censorship, impunity, injustice, human rights, FoE issues, Gender Equality, Digital rights, open standard etc. Our mission is to raise awareness and to help people understand their digital rights in highlighting DIGITAL EQUALITY wherever necessary.