Evaluate and improve the policies and strategies for telecommunication universal service obligation

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Within the framework of the Smart Government project implemented by the Cabinet Secretariat of the Government of Mongolia and the World Bank, an assessment of the current status of telecommunication universal service obligations and the revision of policy documents have begun. The client of this sub-project is the Communications and Information Technology Authority and the contractor is the Canadian consulting company “Intelecon” with experience in providing consulting services in this field. The “Contract Initiative Meeting” of the project stakeholders was held today and a consensus was reached on the project requirements, goals, work plan and cooperation. It has been more than 10 years since the Universal Service Obligation Fund was established. During this period, Mongolia's telecommunications infrastructure has expanded and remote communities have access to adequate telecommunications services. It is planned to complete the delivery of communication services to the target group by next year. In recent years, mobile operators, CITA, and other public organizations, NGOs as well as private organizations have stated that it is time to update the goals, activities, and policy documents of the USOF.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


The E-Mongolia system has 1 million users

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Launched on October 1, 2020, E-Mongolia now has 1 million users in six months. E-Mongolia system includes 316 government services so far and the Government of Mongolia is preparing to digitalize 592 government services within its first 100 days and to make the services available in Mongolian and English. The system includes additional official decisions and statistics from the State Emergency Committee, Capital Emergency Committee, and the Ministry of Health, as well as a Covid-19 vaccination certificate. Vaccination certificates are available both in English and Mongolian. Citizens can get public services from www.e-mongolia.mn and mobile applications.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


A tale of two countries: How Benin and Mongolia are fast-tracking digital government

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Benin and Mongolia do not at first appear to have many similarities. One is a relatively small, but densely populated country in West Africa. The other is a large, but sparsely populated country in Central Asia. Yet, citizens in both countries have something in common: since 2020 they’ve had access to hundreds of new public services online. In March 2020, the Government of Benin launched its national public services portal called service-public.bj which provides access to 70 transactional services like a passport or building permit applications. It also delivers clear and coherent guidance on over 500 other public services. Soon after this, Benin launched an e-learning platform for public university students and a website with the results of national public exams. Meanwhile, in Mongolia, the Government launched a platform available both online and through a smartphone app called e-Mongolia. E-Mongolia gives citizens access to the 181 most in-demand government services. Five months after its launch, e-Mongolia had been used by 700,000 people – that’s over 35 percent of its adult population. These new online services came at a perfect time, as governments tried to limit in-person interactions with citizens during the Covid-19 crisis. This article looks at how these achievements were made possible, as well as the common features behind these two countries’ digital transformation success stories. 1. Supportive political leaders and committed operational leaders In both countries, political leaders have put the digital transformation of public services at the core of their agendas. Patrice Talon, President of Benin since 2016, made this clear in his five-year action plan ‘Bénin Révélé’. He also names connectivity, digital literacy, and smart administration as key development areas. The same applies in Mongolia. The 40-year-old and recently appointed Prime Minister Luvsannamsrain Oyun-Erdene has affirmed that building a digital nation is currently the country’s top priority. But strong political support on its own is not enough. In Benin and Mongolia, much of the credit should be given to the women in charge of driving the digital transformation of their respective governments: Aurélie Adam Soulé Zoumarou and Bolor-Erdene Battsengel. Aurélie Adam Soulé Zoumarou is the Minister of Digital Affairs and Digitalisation of Benin. She was appointed to this role by President Patrice Talon in 2017. Since then, she has led a wide range of programs covering digital infrastructures, smart administration, and support for technology start-up companies. Bolor-Erdene Battsengels was appointed the Chairwoman of Mongolia’s Communications and Information Technology Authority (CITA) in July 2020. At 27 years old, she is the youngest person and first female to hold this position. For her first three months in CITA, she oversaw the implementation of the e-Mongolia platform. 2. Empowered central digital agencies The digital transformation of the governments of Benin and Mongolia also relies on an efficient governance model, where a central digital agency is empowered to drive change. The Information Services and Systems Agency of Benin (ASSI) is the country’s central organization in charge of executing flagship projects in digital government. It provides strategic and operational assistance to all government organizations and ensures the coherence of information systems and services across public administration. The ASSI is directly under the direct supervision of the Presidency. In Mongolia, the Communications and Information Technology Authority (CITA) is in charge of both ICT policymaking and its implementation and it is responsible for the development of e-Mongolia. The fact CITA is placed under the authority of the Prime Minister gives it great legitimacy in leading cross-government projects. In both countries, that direct link to government decision-makers has proven paramount to the success of these agencies, reaffirming their authority as well as allowing for swift transformation when necessary. 3. Existing connectivity and digital infrastructure Benin and Mongolia did not wait for the Covid-19 crisis to kickstart their digital transformation. The speed at which they were able to launch services in 2020 reflects the groundwork they laid in previous years. Likewise, the early adoption of digital services by citizens could not have been possible without the significant efforts demonstrated by both countries in terms of infrastructure development in the past few years. Since 2016, 2,000 kilometers of optical fiber has been installed across Benin which has helped the country more than double its internet coverage. And in order to reach citizens from all communities, they have set up a network of over 40 Community Digital Points, which are effectively public spaces where citizens can access computers and get online. Alongside connectivity infrastructure, Benin and Mongolia have invested in digital infrastructure. It is worth mentioning that both countries have based their data infrastructure on the open source data exchange solution X-Road. Mongolia started to use the X-Road model as early as 2016 to connect the information systems of all its ministries. But it took time to implement the system, and encourage data sharing across public administrations. 4. Engagement with citizens, and the private sector Both Benin and Mongolia have understood the value of working hand-in-hand with civil society and the private sector. In October 2020 – prior to the development of a national e-payment platform – the ASSI organized a discovery workshop with various players in the financial sector. It welcomed comments and ideas from private actors to inform the development and implementation of the platform. The Government of Benin was also receptive to help from the private sector and civil society actors when the Covid-19 crisis started. Start-up companies, SMEs, large corporates, academics, NGOs, and government agencies gathered in 2020 to create ‘Taskforce INNOV Covid-19’ and brainstorm on innovative solutions to the challenges caused by the crisis. In Mongolia, CITA engaged with citizens to prioritize the services to include in the e-Mongolia platform. They conducted a survey, available both online and on paper. They also tracked the time citizens spent queuing to access public services. They kept engaging with citizens while developing the platform, to make sure all information was clear, and that services were easy to use. In order to go fast, and keep momentum, CITA outsourced the development of the platform. However, they created a small project coordination unit in-house, to hold service providers accountable, and coordinate all stakeholders from the 28 government organizations involved. 2020: the year when previous hard work paid dividends Benin and Mongolia made tremendous progress in government digital transformation last year. But that’s the result of a long, slow process that started years before. They’d already laid the essential foundations they could build on, including recruiting and empowering committed leaders, putting the right digital governance in place, investing in digital infrastructure, and creating channels to engage with civil society and private sector actors. Compared with many countries, the Covid-19 crisis has not had such a significant impact on the digital transformation plans of Benin and Mongolia because they already knew where they were heading – the pandemic only confirmed they were going the right way. Claire Bedoui is Principal Consultant at Public Digital.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


Standing Committee on Security and Foreign Policy supported the ratification of the 10th Additional Protocol of the Constitution of Universal Postal Union

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]On Tuesday's meeting of the Parliament's Standing Committee on Security and Foreign Policy, the draft law on ratification of the 10th Additional Protocol to the Constitution of Universal Postal Union submitted by the Government was discussed. Ts. Nyamdorj, Member of the Government, Minister of Mongolia, and Head of the Cabinet Secretariat, presented the initiator's report of this law. The Universal Postal Union /UPU/ is a specialized agency of the United Nations that organizes and develops the postal sector in order to create favorable conditions for the development of international cooperation, as well as to provide technical assistance and support to the postal sectors in the Member States. It currently has 192 Member States, with its headquarters in Bern, Switzerland, and its Asia-Pacific regional office in Bangkok, Thailand. The highest governing body of the Union is the Congress, which meets every four years to discuss and approve amendments to the Constitution of the Union, which are ratified by member states internally. Mongolia became a Member State of the Union in 1963 and signed the Constitution of the Universal Postal Union in 1964 in Vienna, Austria, and then ratified by the Parliament of the People's Republic of Mongolia in 1968. Subsequently, the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th Additional Protocols to the Constitution were ratified in 2002 by the Parliament, the 7th was in 2006, the 8th was in 2011 and the 9th Additional Protocol was ratified in 2019. In September 2018, the Third Extraordinary Congress of the UPU was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and approved the 10th Additional Protocol to the Constitution of the Union. The Minister highlighted in his report that the adoption of this Additional Protocol is an important issue for ensuring the sustainable development of the postal sector, improving the quality and efficiency of services, expanding international cooperation, ensuring the free exchange of parcels, introducing new techniques and technologies, as well as strengthening further cooperations. In connection with the initiator's report, Parliament Members such as B.Enkh-Amgalan, N.Altankhuyag, and Kh.Badelkhan expressed their support for the ratification of the Additional Protocol to the Constitution of the UPU and asked for some clarifications and received answers from the Working Group. The 10th Additional Protocol of the Union established the Administrative Council for decision-making and the Postal Operations Council for permanent activities. It is now possible that the Members States to send the observers to this Council meeting. The Working Group mentioned that the postal organizations of Mongolia will be able to strengthen their relations and cooperation with the UPU, implement safety standards, introduce new techniques and technologies, and train and retrain specialists. Currently, there are about 70 postal companies in Mongolia, 44 of which are actively operating. The total revenue of the telecommunications and information technology sector in 2020 was 1.334 billion MNT, of which 1.6 percent was revenue from the postal service. According to the Parliament's Media and Public Relations Department, there were no comments from Parliament Members on the draft law and 68.8 percent of the Members present at the Standing Committee meeting supported the adoption of the draft law on ratification of the 10th Additional Protocol to the Constitution of the UPU.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


The draft law on cybersecurity was discussed in public

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Yesterday, the draft law on cybersecurity was discussed publicly. The draft law is scheduled to be discussed at the Parliament Session within 2021. S.Tengis, Head of the Secretariat of the National Committee for e-Development, B.Bilegdemberel, Head of the Information Security Division of CITA and other officials from General Intelligence Agency, State Registration Agency, National Data Center, National Statistics Office, Information Technology Center of Education, Association of Mongolian Banks, Information and Communication Network Company, Horiult LLC, Huawei Technology LLC, Security Solutions, Service, Consulting LLC, ICT Training Center, Zero Day LLC, And Systems LLC, Tridium and Security LLC, NUM, MUST have participated in the discussion. The draft law provides for an information security audit, which is a new regulation. Because cybersecurity measures include information, databases that contain it, accessible information systems, human resources, technical and technological measures, and policies, regulations, plans, organizational activities, and interdependencies that govern their interrelationships. The drafters of the law explained that this relationship was introduced in accordance with international standards, which require auditing with non-supervisory functions. The law defines the activities of an organization with critical information infrastructure and its specific rights and responsibilities to ensure cybersecurity, such as public health and vital facilities equipped with modern information technology-based integrated management devices are the main targets of cyber terrorism. The draft law is based on the laws on the protection of ICT infrastructure of some of the world's leading countries in terms of cybersecurity index / the Republic of Korea, Germany and Estonia/ and made a comparative study of legal environments and taking into account the practical situation in their countries. Although the “National Security Concept of Mongolia” defines information security as a component of national security, the legal environment, which is a key indicator of the cybersecurity index, has not been created and there is no organization is responsible for preventing and responding to national cyber attacks and violations. Mongolia was ranked 104th in 2017 and 85th in 2018 due to a lack of the above-mentioned issues. [gallery link="file" size="medium" ids="59953,59952,59946,59945,59944,59943,59942,59941,59940"] [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


The first meetings of public-private joint working groups were held

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Communications and Information Technology Authority has established public-private working groups in three areas: promoting the sector's products and services to international markets, establishing a shared vision fund, and improving the digital literacy capacity of the public. In this context, the first meetings of the working groups were held. G.Damdinnyam, Member of Parliament, Member of the Standing Committee on Innovation and  Digital Policy, B.Bolor-Erdene, Chairwoman of CITA, S.Tengis, Head of the Secretariat of the National Committee for e-Development, L.Enkhbat, Director of Digital Development Department of CITA and other representatives of educational start-ups have participated in the meetings. 1. Damdinnyam will chair the working group to improve the digital literacy capacity of the public. In his opening remarks, he said, “The Government of Mongolia is very active in supporting the digital transition. Expert advice on how to communicate this to the public in a simple and understandable way, and how to move towards creating a digital application that can communicate without fear other than talking on a cell phone, will be developed and approved as a program. A package of draft laws related to the digital transition will soon be discussed in the Parliament. We will continue to work together on how to incorporate those ideas into the laws.” Representatives of the private sector participating in the working group suggested that in addition to improving public digital literacy, increasing access to the Internet in rural and remote soums, and focusing on human resources in the sector. 2.2 million Mongolians are active users of the internet and social networks, 2.1 million are active users of social networks via mobile phones, 49 percent of the population receives financial services electronically, and 27 percent of the population uses Internet banking. But according to a survey, 32 percent of the population is digitally literate is not enough at present. Therefore, improving the digital literacy capacity of the public is an important issue in the digital age. The public-private partnership for digital literacy will consist of two parts: one to develop a plan to improve the digital literacy capacity of the target group and the other one is to develop a long-term policy to change the educational system by teaching digital literacy contents in kindergarten which will be introduced to the Ministry of Education. As a result, it is estimated that by 2024, cybercrime will be reduced by 50 percent, the information access capability of people with disabilities will be increased by 50 percent and ICT capacity will be increased by 50 percent. The Government supports the integrated vision of start-up companies The second working group /WG/ of public-private partnership is the establishment of a Shared Vision Fund. The working group will be chaired by G.Amartuvshin, Member of Parliament, Member of the Standing Committee on Innovation and  Digital Policy. Shared Vision Fund will work to support the integrated vision of startup companies. Representatives of the public and private sectors participating in this WG will be divided into 2 teams, one is to develop policy recommendations for building a start-up ecosystem and the other will focus on the shared vision fund. The Working group will submit its proposal within a month to the Government. Mongolian Embassies have attached in charge of information technology The third Working Group /WG/ of public-private partnership is to bring products and services in the ICT sector to the international market. The WG will be chaired by Kh. Gankhuyag, Member of Parliament and Member of the Standing Committee on Innovation and  Digital Policy. During the meeting, he said that a joint working group of the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Mongolia has been established to study the issue of making it possible to receive payments via PayPal and Stripe. At the same time, J.Zolzaya, the founder of Startup Marketing Space LLC, said that the working group will share its recommendations with the Embassies of Mongolia in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and San Francisco since those embassies have attached in charge of IT.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


Mongolia is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the establishment and development of mobile communication service

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In 1995, within the framework of the policy to introduce mobile communication the Government of Mongolia announced a tender for a license to provide mobile communication services. Mobicom was selected in the tender, and the first mobile phone service operating company was established with the investment of Newcom of Mongolia and KDDI Sumitomo Corporation of Japan. The main requirement for a mobile service license was to establish a GSM mobile network in Ulaanbaatar within six months and to introduce a mobile network in Darkhan and Erdenet in two years. Mobicom fulfilled its contractual obligations and opened a mobile communication service based on GSM technology in Ulaanbaatar on 18 March 1996 and started providing services to the public. Mobicom's first network consisted of six base stations located at the Central Post Office, Institute of Physics and Technology, Mill House, and Aviation Hill. In the beginning years of the service, the cost of mobile phones and calls was high, but the first business plan to reach 2,000 customers was fulfilled in the first year due to the high demand for mobile services, which led to further price reductions. In 1997, the network was established in Darkhan and Erdenet under a license requirement. The introduction of prepaid services since 1998 has had a significant impact on mobile phone demand in the market. With the introduction of this service in 1999, it was possible to introduce SMS service, WLL wireless fixed-line service, and Global roaming service. It is a 2G or second generation mobile network for making calls, texting, and sending text messages. In 2009, it was a 3rd generation (3G) network, and in 2016, it was a 4th generation network (4G) has been introduced by Mobicom. Mobicom, the first mobile operator, now has grown into a corporation, became one of the leading companies in the telecommunications industry of Mongolia, and implements many social activities within the framework of social responsibility. We would like to congratulate the customers, staff, and management team of Mobicom on the 25th anniversary of the establishment of mobile communication in Mongolia.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


Today marks 40th anniversary of Mongolia’s first space flight

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Today /22 March 2021/ marks the 40th anniversary of the first space flight by a Mongolian. On the behalf of Communications and Information Technology Authority, we would like to congratulate J.Gurragchaa and M. Ganzorig, both Heroes of the Mongolian People’s Republic. It is believed that the beginning of modern space exploration of Mongolia began in the 1960s when our country joined the "Intercosmos" program for the peaceful exploration of space. Mongolian space flight was one of the goals of the Intercosmos program and J. Gurragchaa successfully fulfilled this goal by flying together with the Soviet cosmonaut V.A.Dzhanibekov and became the 101st astronaut in the world and the second cosmonaut in Asia. The Mongolian space flight was a major step in space research, the study of the Earth, the study of the planets, and the application of space technology in all fields. Astronaut M.Ganzorig made a valuable contribution to the development of remote sensing in Mongolia. Since the beginning of the development of telecommunications infrastructure in our country such as the establishment of Naran Space Station and Meteorological Station in 1970, the use of space technology has become an integral part of our daily lives. Generations of governments have been supporting the development of space communications. For example, Mongolia's long-term policy document “Vision 2050” approved by the Parliament Resolution No. 52 of 2020, the creation of national products and services based on space technology and the development of space communications. In “Vision 2050”, clearly reflects the creation of national products and services based on space technology, establish a new national satellite communications network, strengthen the capacity and infrastructure to study, own and use space technology, and use it widely in all socio-economic sectors. Furthermore, the Government is focusing on intensifying the implementation of the “National Satellite Program” approved by Government Resolution No. 137 of 2012 and aims to enable Mongolia to own and use space and benefit every citizen. In the future, we will focus on reforming the policies and legal framework of the sector, expanding cooperation with the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) and the United Nations space agency (UNOOSA) for strengthening human resources in the space technology of Mongolia.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


ITU Asia-Pacific formulates regional digital priorities

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] The second in the series of six preparatory meetings for the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-21) took place on 9 and 10 March 2021. Held virtually, the Regional Preparatory Meeting (RPM) for Asia and the Pacific gathered 158 delegates from 33 countries to ensure regional coordination ahead of WTDC-21, set to be hosted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 8-19 November 2021. WTDC-21 is expected to develop innovative approaches and new models of collaboration for connectivity and digital solutions in this final Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015. This is a good opportunity to consolidate and express regional priorities as Asia-Pacific, which will contribute to the discussion at the WTDC-21,” noted Masanori Kondo, Secretary-General of the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT). Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau said: “I believe the next WTDC has the potential to be hailed as a landmark conference in rewriting the global connectivity agenda, and our enhanced preparatory process has been developed to support this ambitious vision. By bringing together the Member States, the private sector, financial institutions, such as regional development banks, and key civil society organizations, WTDC-21 offers us a unique opportunity to harness a swelling tide of political will around connectivity and to build long-lasting partnerships that advance our digital transformation agenda.” Proposed regional priorities WTDC-21 aims to forge a global plan for digital development over the next four years, providing future direction and guidance to the ITU Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D). Participants at RPM Asia-Pacific proposed several key priorities for the years 2022-2025: Addressing the special needs of least developed countries, small island developing states including Pacific island countries and territories, and landlocked developing countries; Harnessing information and communication technologies to support the digital economy and create inclusive digital societies; Fostering the development of infrastructure to enhance digital connectivity; Enabling policy and regulatory environments; Contribute to secure and resilient information and communication technology (ICT) environment. “I am humbled by your trust in me. I am also grateful to you for a very successful RPM and for a clear elaboration of our regional initiatives, in which we emphasize the needs of developing countries, the least developed countries (LDCs), the small island developing states (SIDS), and landlocked developing countries (LLDCs),” said the RPM Asia-Pacific Chair, Dr. Ahmad Reza Sharafat. Preparations by Asia-Pacific countries for WTDC-21 will continue within the framework of the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT), where stakeholders will continue preparing contributions for ITU Inter-Regional Preparatory Meetings and finalizing their Asia and the Pacific Common Proposals for WTDC-21. Launch of Digital Trends in Asia and the Pacific 2021 A report released at the regional meeting, Digital Trends in Asia and the Pacific 2021, provides an overview of trends and developments in ICT infrastructure, access and usage trends across the region, which includes 38 ITU Member States and is home to a population of 4.2 billion people. The report finds that just over 96.1 percent of the population is now within reach of a 3G mobile signal and that 94.2 percent is within reach of a long-term evolution (LTE) mobile broadband signal. Only a decade ago, some countries in the region had no 3G or 4G infrastructure in place. Despite these developments, a significant gender gap and a rural-urban divide persist. In 2019, only 41.3 percent of women across the region used the Internet, compared with 48.3 percent of men, the report shows. Moreover, only 37 percent of rural households had access to the Internet in 2019, compared with almost twice as many urban households (70.4 percent). The report further finds that, despite progress made since the last World Telecommunication Development Conference in 2017, some long-standing challenges remain, and new challenges have emerged over the past three years. These have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and require concerted and focused action. Meeting participants reported on the implementation of SDGs in the sector, as well as of the WTDC-17 Buenos Aires Action Plan, associated regional-level initiatives, and the World Summit for Information Society (WSIS) Plan of Action. “Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the ITU Regional Office has delivered technical assistance and continued the implementation of the regional initiatives to connect the unconnected,” noted Atsuko Okuda, ITU Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific region. Generation Connect regional action plan, 2022-2025 In parallel with the regional preparatory meeting, the generation Connect – Asia and the Pacific Youth Group presented the draft Generation Connect Asia and the Pacific Action Plan 2022-2025, which outlines key interests, perspectives, and concerns of young people regarding the opportunities and challenges presented by digital technologies. The group comprises 26 young people from the region, selected after a competitive selection process. The Generation Connect initiative promotes meaningful youth engagement and participation in the WTDC-21 process and at the Youth Summit to be held on 6-7 November 2021. The network of Women for the ITU Telecommunication Development Sector The meeting unveiled the Network of Women (NoW) Asia-Pacific for the ITU Telecommunication Development Sector, an initiative that aims to build a community to support female delegates, expand their network, and advocate and share experiences and knowledge with other female delegates. The Network of Women for WTDC-21 Asia and the Pacific aims to promote the active participation of women in ITU activities, including in the tech sector in general. “The Government of Mongolia gives great importance to the ICT sector and digital transformation,” said Bolor-Erdene Battsengel, Chairwoman of the Communications and Information Technology Authority (CITA) of Mongolia. “We want to ensure that the benefits of digital transformation are fully recognized by citizens and public and private sectors and that they contribute to the empowerment of women in the ICT sector.” ITU International Centre of Digital Innovation In a discussion focused on ITU’s International Centre of Digital Innovation (I-CoDI), the Indian delegation presented a national initiative to promote digital innovation in connectivity and highlighted a series of upcoming webinars on innovative applications and connectivity options. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


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