Australia-Pacific Connections for a Digital Future
Pacific Connect Network Dialogue
‘Technology enabling inclusiveness’
29-30 July 2019, Suva, Fiji
- We, the participants of the Pacific Connect Network Dialogue on Technology Enabling Inclusiveness, met on 29 – 30 July 2019 in Suva, Fiji at the invitation of HFC Bank Fiji and the International Centre for Democratic Partnerships (ICDP) with the support of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
- We would like to thank Mr Rakesh Ram, CEO, HFC Bank for sponsoring the dialogue and his executive team for their hospitality and participation. We thank Dr Ian Watt AC, Mr Setareki Macanawai and Mr Peter Fritz AM for their skilful facilitation of the sessions and speakers Anna Wright, Founder, Bindimaps and Kylie Mines, CEO, Motivation Australia for their inspiring presentations which set the tone for action.
- We congratulate the organisers on assembling an impressive group of participants from Fiji and Australia. Participants had diverse backgrounds and experiences across a range of sectors, including, storytelling, occupational therapy, training and development, assistive technology, telecommunications, marketing and advertising, online marketplaces, software development, entrepreneurship, disability policy development, GeoSpatial Science, Accessible Tourism products and social impact.
- We applaud Australia’s step-up in engagement with the Pacific and its commitment to build stronger, long-lasting relationships with Pacific Island nations. We believe that Pacific Connect and the ‘Second Track’ process offer opportunities to collaborate and build personal rapport in an informal, consultative environment that encourages positive, fresh thinking and a personal interest in achieving practical results. ‘Second Track’ offers a safe and neutral platform to share stories and experiences, extend networks, broaden opportunities for professional and personal development, and seek projects and ideas to change lives.
- We acknowledge that people must have a reason to connect and stay connected in order to build enduring relationships. We think that translating ideas into concrete projects is the best way to achieve this. We are inspired by the success of previous Pacific Connect Dialogues and projects such as ‘Every building is a classroom’ in the Solomon Islands and the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Pacific Hub in Samoa, as they demonstrate what can be achieved through sustained collaboration.
- We agree that digital technologies play an increasingly important role in people’s lives and have the potential to transform the livelihoods of Pacific communities.
- We considered several areas for action which Dialogue participants could pursue collectively or in subgroups and we have slated the following projects for immediate action:
- Establishing a supply chain for assistive technology – Testing Commercial Sector Interests
- Banking Forum – Providing better access for people with disability
- Digital Marketplace – Fiji Finds
- Accessibility Mapping – Mobile Me Map event
- Reducing inequality – ICT education
- Jobs generation – cottage industry, internships
- Sensory Kits – Emergency response and aged care support
- We will develop these ideas and opportunities through further meetings, ICDP’s Slack forum and a dedicated Facebook page for the Pacific Connect Community. We appreciate the importance of clear objectives and firm timelines and will mobilise existing resources and adapt best international practice where possible. While not every idea from the Dialogue may come to fruition, we hope that the time and effort spent on their development will strengthen our personal links and form a foundation of longer-term relationships.
- We believe the Dialogue substantially met our expectations in terms of topics of importance to the Pacific, providing a forum for open and honest discussion, expanding our networks and contacts and as an enabler for developing joint tangible projects to take forward. This was already apparent in the dialogue and afterwards.