AESCON3: Shaping Asia-Europe Pathways for Human-centric and Resilient Digital Connectivity

June 14-15,  2023 

The Asia-Europe Sustainable Connectivity Scientific Conference (AESCON) has long served as a relevant platform for experts from the European Union (EU) and Asia to convene and collaborate on expanding sustainable connectivity opportunities and cooperation prospects between the two regions. With a commitment to fostering an open dialogue, AESCON has successfully reinforced the connectedness of the EU-Asia scientific network.

The third edition of this significant event, AESCON3, took place on June 14-15, 2023, as an online conference. It was organized by the European External Action Service (EEAS), the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), the Sejong Institute, and the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). These organizations joined forces to bring together practitioners, academia, and think-tanks from Asia and Europe to engage in discussions on sustainable digital connectivity and cooperation prospects between the two regions. Mrs. Mireia Paulo was invited to participate in the first panel related to digital partnerships where she talked about cross-border data flows.

Photo credit: AESCON.

Photo credit: AESCON.

The focus of AESCON3 was Digital Connectivity, an area of paramount importance for both Asia and Europe. The conference aimed to explore the intersection of human-centric and resilient digital transformation, taking into account the rapidly evolving global geopolitical and geoeconomic landscape. Over the course of two half-days, AESCON3 featured four-panel discussions, which served as platforms for mobilising diverse Asian and European expertise.

The first panel discussion revolved around the theme of “Digital Partnerships between the EU and Asia.” Esteemed experts and scholars from both regions came together to explore the collaborative potential in the digital realm. They examined successful case studies and identified areas for further cooperation, with a particular focus on sustainable and inclusive practices.


The second panel discussion delved into the “Global Geopolitical and Geoeconomic Landscape: Implications for Digital Connectivity.” Acknowledging the fast-paced changes in the global arena, the panellists critically analysed the implications of these shifts on digital connectivity efforts between Asia and Europe. They highlighted the need for adaptability and resilience in the face of evolving geopolitical dynamics.

During the second day, the third panel discussion explored “Human-centric Approaches to Digital Connectivity.” Recognising the importance of placing human beings at the center of digital transformations, experts deliberated on strategies to ensure inclusivity, privacy, and security in the realm of digital connectivity. They emphasised the role of policy frameworks and user-centric design in shaping a sustainable and people-oriented digital future. Lastly, the fourth panel discussion focused on “Resilient Digital Infrastructure and Cybersecurity.” Panellists examined the challenges posed by cybersecurity threats and the significance of robust digital infrastructure to ensure reliable connectivity. They explored innovative approaches to address these challenges and underscored the necessity of international cooperation in combating cyber threats.

Throughout AESCON3, the conference participants engaged in dynamic and insightful discussions, sharing their expertise and perspectives on sustainable digital connectivity. AESCON3 marked another significant milestone in fostering cooperation and dialogue between Asia and Europe. As the digital landscape continues to evolve rapidly, it is crucial to maintain an open and collaborative approach to address the challenges and opportunities that arise. AESCON3 exemplified the commitment of the EU and Asian nations to shaping human-centric and resilient digital pathways, ensuring a connected future that benefits societies on both continents.