We launched the findings of our research on ICT accessibility for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Myanmar on 21 August 2018 at ParkRoyal, Yangon. This was LIRNEasia’s first foray into systematically studying the subject, but will not be the last. Research from Nepal is to be released before the end of the year. We decided to embark on this study in Myanmar following questions on disability specific research from the audience at courses we conducted for Disabled Persons’ Organisations (DPOs) and Members of Parliament when we presented the findings of our broader research on ICTs in Myanmar. As a result, we conducted qualitative research with 101 respondents with visual, hearing and physical disabilities in May 2018.
Cybersecurity of developing countries is most at risk! Gartner projects that more than 20 billion IoT devices will be connected by 2020. The security of these Internet Of Things (IOT), relating to cyber security, in a broader sense hinges on service continuity and availability. Whether it be a DDoS attack that affects the availability or a malicious attack on the configuration that brings down the IoT device(s) or exposes private data, they all converge on the concept of cybersecurity. LIRNEasia partnered with Vanuatu Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, Prime Minister’s Office, Netherlands Radio communications Agency / University of Twente and the Internet Society (ISOC) in introducing the Raster Tool and engaging the participants in an IOT cybersecurity assessment exercise.
CEO Helani Galpaya was invited to speak in one of the panels at the Second European Multidiscriplinary Conference on Global Internet Governance Actors, Regulations, Transactions and Strategies held 26-27 April 2018 at Cardiff University, Wales. The theme of the conference this year was “Overcoming Inequalities in Internet Governance: framing digital policies and capacity building policies”. The conference was a peer-reviewed academic conference, but had two panels to which speakers were invited based on expertise. Helani spoke on the panel titled “Politics and Policy of Cyber Capacity Building” which had three other speakers: Emily Taylor (Chatham House), Panagiota-Nayia Barmpaliou (European Commission), Robert Collier (UK Cabinet, Foreign & Commonwealth Office). The panel was moderated by Andrea Calderaro (Cardiff University).
Helani Galpaya was invited as an expert speaker to the Intergovernmental Group of Experts (IGE) on e-Commerce and Digital Economy meeting which took place during UNCTAD’s eCommerce week. Helani’s presentation focused on the state of connectivity, use of mobile payment and level of eCommerce use in the Global South, as revealed by the AfterAccess surveys LIRNEasia, RIA and DIRSI have just completed. She was also an invited speaker at the first IGE in 2017.
Occasionally, I accept invitations to speak on subjects I am still exploring in my mind. The talk I am going to give today at an event called Festival of our Future falls into that category. Should I apologize for not knowing the full and complete answer on how to fix politics? Not really. This is from a book review written by one of the world’s leading political philosophers: In recent decades, American public discourse has become hollow and shrill.
The Consumer Affair Authority (CAA) of Sri Lanka held a National Public Private Dialogue to on making the digital marketplace fairer on the 15th-16th March 2018 to commemorate Consumer Day. Given the expected boom of eCommerce, and in light of the recent complaints received by the CAA the objective was to hear from both public and private stakeholders the pain points in order to develop a framework by which the CAA can assure consumer protection. ITC consultant and law professor, Michael Geist was entrusted with the task of pulling together aspects discussed during the two-days that ended in a workshop styled afternoon session. His recommendations will inform the Act that is currently being revised and form the basis of the framework requires by the CAA. The objectives and intentions of the convening that LIRNEasia was invited to participate in was apt and timely.
LIRNEasia was proud to partner on Sri Lanka’s first national symposium on Data for Sustainable Development. Held over two days (March 20-21), the event offered a unique platform to share LIRNEasia’s views and experience on the use of data for the SDGs, particularly in relation to our big data work. Sriganesh Lokanathan, Team Leader – Big Data research moderated the first session of the symposium, and was part of a panel discussion on day 2. I had the opportunity to showcase LIRNEasia’s experience on using Big data for SDGs at a session that was co-presented with UN Global Pulse. At the first session, Sriganesh moderated a panel that emphasized the importance of data to achieve the SDGs, and set the tone for the symposium.
Now that the telecom markets in emerging Asia have matured and now that the potential of easily deployable apps is within reach because of the fast spreading smartphones, we must make access by the disabled a priority. The key to independent living is technology. Our current work in Nepal, supported by the Ford Foundation, has accessible and inclusive access as the principal focus. The workshop held 16-17 March in Kathmandu sought to prioritize the problems amenable to ICT solutions. This will feed into a pre-hackathon being organized March 18-19 at the Tribhuvan University Institute of Engineering, Pulchowk Campus: Here are some reflections on problems faced by the disabled in Nepal which are amenable to ICT solutions.
I was invited to speak at the launch of the UNDP-funded DataSmart initiative of the Ministry of Disaster Management, where some work is being done by Sarvodaya Fusion. I talked about the need not only to collect data, but also to ensure that it produced the right kind of information that could be translated by the beneficiaries into action that saved lives and protected assets and livelihoods. We need to think beyond generalized disaster warnings to provide people in particular locations with specific, actionable information that they could use, such as the river will crest in this particular location at x meters at this specific time. I went on to talk about the need to have more granular rainfall data that could be fed into models that could yield the kinds of actionable information people living in our river valleys could use. The attenuation of microwave transmissions caused by rainfall is built into the operation of the ubiquitous mobile networks.
The work on building trust-enhancing mechanisms for electoral demarcations has been an important component (not applied in the case of local government elections). On the 13th of February, Team Leader Sujata Gamage shared her research with colleagues at the Trivedi Centre for Political Data at Ashoka University.
With the support of International Development Research Center (IDRC) of Canada, LIRNEasia in partnership with Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) and Vihara Innovation Network studied Online Freelancing: Challenges, Opportunities and Impact in India. The dissemination workshop of the findings of this research was held on 27th of December 2017 at the India Habitat Centre, India. Government and private sector officials of skill development and employment generation organizations participated at this workshop. Dr. K.
It is natural to think of state entities as the key actors in south-south cooperation (SSC) for improving public-service delivery. But as the highlighted example of Bangladesh’s Union Digital Centers (UDCs) shows, non-state actors can play important roles in public-service innovation. If true innovation is the objective, it would behoove the UN Office for South-South Cooperation and other interested parties to cast the net wider to include innovative organizational mechanisms as well as government innovations.
Workshop on ICT Accessibility for Persons with Disability Event for disabled people’s organizations and media 12-13 December 2017 Yangon, Myanmar Myanmar Independent Living Initiative (MILI), established in 2011, is a self-help organization led by disabled persons that has been working at various levels and fighting for equal rights, inclusion and independent living of people with multiple types of disabilities in Myanmar. MILI promotes disability access in employment, education, health, disaster-risk reduction, social-enterprise, social, political, electoral and public sectors. LIRNEasia is a pro-poor, pro-market think tank established in 2004. It has been working on catalyzing policy change through research to improve people’s lives in the emerging Asia Pacific by facilitating their use of hard and soft infrastructures through the use of knowledge, information and technology. Myanmar ICT Development Organization (MIDO), established in 2012, uses Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a tool for the development of the country by narrowing the digital divide in Myanmar; using ICT for the country’s development and the safeguarding of human rights; and encouraging the emergence of good Internet policies for ICT users.
I will be participating in a panel on using technology for governance at the Global Technology Summit on 7-8 December 2017 in Bengaluru. This is an annual event organized by Carnegie India. Problems associated with policy implementation can be potentially solved through partnerships with the private sector and the use of technology. But to gain maximally from such efforts, both policy makers and executors have to realign their vision and understand the technology space for what it is: a vibrant zone of activity, willing to test, experiment, fail, and learn. This fundamental shift in approach from existing governance models presents both huge opportunities and challenges, as this panel probes.
Helani was in the first panel titled "Alphabet Soup" which introduced concepts of Internet Governance and the connection between IG and media development.
CEO Helani Galpaya was invited to speak at the Intersessional Panel of the UNCSTD. Her presentation was based on three themes at LIRNEasia.