REMARKS: Digital Transformation a priority- Papua New Guinea Statement to CSW67

His Excellency Mr. Jason Peter, MP,
Minister for Community Development, Youth and
Religion of Papua New Guinea
to the
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Commission on the Status of
Women (CSW) 67th Session: General Statement Segment
8 March 2023, New York


Madam Chairperson, Excellencies and distinguished delegates;

I am honoured and pleased to, on behalf of the Government and people of Papua New Guinea, join this august meeting, for the first time in my capacity, as the Minister mandated to ensure and chart the way forward for a better, just, inclusive and secure future for our women and girls in Papua New Guinea, including in the evolving information and communication technology and digital sector.

Madam Chairperson, we are pleased with your election and commend you and the Bureau members for the manner you are presiding over your mandate. You have our

Madam Chairperson, under the leadership of my Prime Minister Honourable James Marape, Papua New Guinea is prioritizing digital transformation agenda that aims to harness the potential of technology to stimulate and grow the country’s sustainable development, trade, investment, health, education and capacity building needs whilst also taking the necessary measures to address the challenges of the digital age.

Our Fourth Medium Term Development Plan 2023 to 2027 (MTDP IV 2023 -2027) prioritises twelve strategic areas for our sustainable development. It includes Infrastructure investment and Development as Goal 2 which is underpinned by the Connect Papua New Guinea agenda; Goal 8 is on Research, Science and Technology, and Digital Government Information and Data Systems as Goal 9.

It is in this spirit that we set in place the Digital Transformation Policy in August 2020, followed by enacting the Digital Government Act 2022 and established the 2023 to
2027 Digital Government Plan.

Madam Chairperson, these strategic frameworks seek to completely digitize and automate all government systems and processes while extending access of telecommunication coverage to reach, by 2027, 90 percent of our population, including women and girls, who remain largely in our rural areas.

We are committed to harness the potential of ICT and the digital sector to enable our people, including women and girls, have access to simple, fast and clear services; ensure transparent and efficient government; increase government revenue generation through the uptake of small and medium sized enterprises and direct foreign investments, and grow the digital economy.

The efforts to digitize all government services will ensure an effective and coordinated whole-of-government delivery of public services whilst at the same time also help meet the objectives of the country’s sustainable development blueprint known as Vision 2050 and the 2030 Development Strategic Plan, and our commitment to the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.

Madam Chair, we also recognize that the evolving ICT and digital landscape must be gender sensitive and inclusive. It needs to also adequately account for the special needs of women and girls, including the ongoing challenges facing women and girls everywhere such as their safety and wellbeing.

For Papua New Guinea, gender equality and empowerment remain a core pillar and priority under our Constitution, laws, policies and strategic plans and under our international obligations, particularly the Beijing Platform for Action and the core human rights treaties. Whilst measured progress continues to be made in this important area, however, much more remains to be done, including in the evolving ICT and digital space.

We are committed to ensure that we not only provide an ICT environment that is conducive for our women and girls to have sufficient opportunity to use their talents to harness the benefits that flow from the ICT and digital sector such as quality education, affordable and accessible healthcare services and financial inclusion but also adequately support them meaningfully and effectively to reach their full potential in nation-building and at the same time protect them from cyber threats and harm.

Madam Chairperson, before I conclude, we want to pay special tribute to our development partners, including Australia, Japan, European Union, United States, New Zealand, the United Nations system and the Asian Development Bank for their technical and other assistance in empowering our women and girls through ICT and digital services in the small to medium enterprises. We are also grateful to other stakeholders in supporting the ICT and digital space in our country, including civil society organizations and the private sector.

Finally, we call for this meeting’s Agreed Conclusions, must meet the needs of all of our women and girls, including their better protection from ICT-related harm, which remain a growing serious concern for all of us. Let us not fail our women and girls, for they deserve better.

Thank you.