Building knowledge societies: Measuring digital transformation in Thailand from UNESCO's ROAM-X indicators
Information and knowledge have significant impacts on people’s lives. The sharing of information and knowledge particularly through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has the power to transform economies and societies.
A workshop on Measuring Digital Transformation in Thailand was organized by Thailand’s Office of the National Digital Economy and Society Commission (ONDE) on 27 and 28 May 2021 with the objective to build a holistic framework for measuring the country’s digital transformation and improve data governance.
UNESCO shared with the participants of the workshop its concept of Internet Universality to promote the vision of a balanced internet ecosystem based on the four fundamental principles called the ROAM-X principles. The vision advocates for an Internet that is based on human Rights, Open, Accessible and nurtured through Multi-stakeholder participation, with X addressing cross-cutting issues.
The framework consists of 109 core indicators that enable an assessment of the national Internet environment from a ROAM-X perspective and result in a set of recommendations for actions.
UNESCO’s Internet Universality framework offers additional perspectives to other international digital transformation frameworks such as OECD’s Going Digital Toolkit and World Bank’s Digital Economy Country Assessment. Applying relevant frameworks to ONDE’s on-going “Thailand Digital Outlook” research project will give a holistic view of the country’s state of digital development.
Experts on measurements and digital transformation from various international organizations attended the workshop together with more than 100 government officers from internet regulatory and monitoring agencies as well as professionals from the technology and telecommunication sectors such as Google and Thailand Management Association.
During the workshop, Misako Ito, Advisor for Communication and Information at UNESCO Bangkok, and Simon Ellis, author of the Thailand Internet Universality Assessment Report, presented the Key Findings and Recommendations arising from the assessment of Internet development in Thailand based on UNESCO’s ROAM-X indicators, with X addressing cross-cutting issues.
Thailand is among the nations that have taken advantage of the rapid evolution of ICTs. Its business sector is increasingly adopting digital tools such as AI, cloud computing and next generation’s digital platforms to enhance their efficiency. At the same time, Thai people’s changing lifestyles readily boost mobile and real-time digital activities such as e-commerce, fintech and online entertainment.
While internet and digital transformation have brought incredible benefits and opportunities to the society and the economy, the country also faces many challenges such as a growing digital divides, cyber threats, and online human rights violation.
Like other countries in Asia and the Pacific, Thailand could be 'at risk of being left behind the digitalization gains if the digital divide and other challenges related to freedom of expression, right to privacy and safety online are not addressed’, commented Shigeru Aoyagi, UNESCO Bangkok’s Director in his opening remarks.
The Key Findings and Recommendation of Thailand’s Internet Universality Assessment Report are available here.
Main photo credit: ©Getty Images/ metamorworks