Tashkent hosts the SCO Forum of Information Technologies and Innovation Development as part of the Information and Communication Technologies Week in Uzbekistan

SCO Forum of Information Technologies and Innovation Developmen

The SCO Forum of Information Technologies and Innovation Development was held on 26 September 2019 as part of the Information and Communication Technologies Week in Uzbekistan (ICTWeek Uzbekistan 2019) that took place in Tashkent from 24 to 27 September.

Welcoming the Forum participants on behalf of SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov, SCO Deputy Secretary-General Sherali Jonon said that "the second era of the digital revolution based on synergy of 5G artificial intelligence, robotics, and bio- and nano-technologies is integrating digital economy with the real sector. In the coming decades, we will witness an accelerated economic growth that will influence business methods and modify our mentality and way of life. The future will belong to those who are capable of using the huge potential of the IT industry effectively."

SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov's message said, in part: "Recognising the importance of innovations and the digital economy as the key factors in mid- and long-term economic growth, the SCO countries have developed, at the initiative of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, and adopted at the SCO Bishkek Summit in June 2019 the Concept for Cooperation between the SCO Member-States in the Sphere of Digitalisation and Information and Communication Technologies. The Concept has identified cooperation in the spheres of digital and telecommunication infrastructure, information security, e-government, smart cities, internet of things, big data handling technologies, artificial intelligence, blockchain technologies, intelligent control systems, new production technologies, robotics and quantum computing technologies has been identified as a priority for the SCO member-states.

"Quite indicatively, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of the Republic of Uzbekistan suggested to the SCO Bishkek Summit in June of this year that the member-states draw up a programme of interaction on cybersecurity and launch a mechanism of regular meetings of the heads of agencies responsible for IT development."

Speaking on behalf of Uzbekistan's Ministry for the Development of Information Technologies and Communications, Deputy Minister Kahramon Yuldashev dwelled upon key points regarding digital progress in his country. Uzbekistan is implementing projects to expand trunk networks and enhance their reliability, to develop wideband optical networks, and to introduce cutting-edge 5G communications. The Uzbektelecom national operator has established direct communication channels with major telecommunication operators in the SCO member-states. Work is in progress to cut the internet costs for operators and providers of telecommunications networks.

The first Technological Park for Software Products and Information Technologies has been set up to give all-out support to startups. Close cooperation has been established with a number of foreign universities, specifically, a branch of Amity University, India, was opened to train IT personnel. The E-Government programme is being carried out in accordance with a plan by way of introducing public information systems and creating effective feedback between the government and the population.

Vice-Minister of Digital Development, Innovations and Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askhat Orazbek said in his welcoming remarks that "our countries have identical views on the entire gamut of ICT security issues that the SCO is concerned with (data sovereignty, non-use of ICT as an international security threat, protection of people's rights and freedoms, and non-monopolisation of technologies)."

In this connection, he suggested that "SCO member-states and other stakeholders step up regional and international cooperation by exchanging best practices in such fields as digitalisation, information and communication technologies, innovations and information security, as well as by discussing prospects for the implementation of joint projects."

Those at the Forum were invited to attend the Digital Bridge 2019 International Technological Forum for young IT specialists and entrepreneurs scheduled to take place in Nur-Sultan from 24 to 25 October 2019.

Participants in the four plenary sessions at the Forum discussed the prospects for and problems of the digital economy and the use of big data. They also shared their experience regarding the development of e-government and smart city intellectual control systems and reviewed the SCO member-states' information security approaches.

Held annually since 2004, ICTWeek Uzbekistan is an important event in the field of IT and a venue for exchanges of experience and demonstrations relating to technological and innovation achievements.

Apart from the SCO Forum of Innovation Technologies and Innovation Development, the Information and Communication Technologies Week Uzbekistan included an annual exhibition of information technologies, ICTEXPO 2019, DIGITAL UZBEKISTAN Forum, MGov Award Conference, Softline Cybersecurity Day Conference, and a cybersports tournament.