Sat | Nov 17, 2018

Caribbean commits to spearheading digital ecosystem, e-Commerce

Published:Sunday | April 22, 2018 | 10:10 AM

BOGOTA, CMC – With the adoption of the Cartagena Declaration, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) says regional countries of have approved the eLAC 2020 Digital Agenda.

The Cartegena Declaration seeks regional cooperation to continue moving forward on inclusion, the digitalization of production and skills development among the population.

Latin American and Caribbean governments also approved the promotion of open government and governance “that stimulates collaboration between countries,” ECLAC said.

It said the declaration was approved in the framework of the 6th Ministerial Conference on the Information Society of Latin America and the Caribbean, which came to a close Friday.

Colombia was selected to preside over the eLAC conference for the 2018-2020 period, ECLAC said. In 2019, it said Ecuador will be the headquarters of the Preparatory Meeting leading up to the 7th Ministerial Conference to be held in Brazil in 2020.

In congratulating Colombia for having been chosen to preside over the eLAC process for the next two years, Mario Cimoli, acting Deputy Executive Secretary for the Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean, on behalf of Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena, underscored the importance of regional governments assuming the digital agenda as State policy, “with coordination from the highest level”.

ECLAC said this is in view that information technologies and communications are “a profound change in forms of production, communication and human relations that cannot be viewed in isolation”.

Cimoli emphasized the importance of integration and collaboration among countries to form large markets “and, thus, enable the development of solutions that integrate small- and medium-sized enterprises.

“Development is unthinkable without new technologies, which is why this work on the regional digital agenda is so important,” he said.

The Colombian Minister of Information Technologies and Communications, David Luna, said that his country assumes the ELAC presidency “with enthusiasm,” thanking the alliance with ECLAC in its new responsibilities.

“In ELAC, we are demanding about personal data protection and will work together as States for that respect to become a reality,” he said.

ECLAC said the eLAC 2020 Digital Agenda, adopted by the countries, is organized into seven areas of action: digital infrastructure; digital transformation and digital economy; digital government; culture, inclusion and digital skills; emerging technologies for sustainable development; the regional digital market; and governance for the information society.

In infrastructure, ECLAC said the countries agreed to promote public policies to develop broadband systems and viable alternatives for local and community access to networks.

In digital transformation and the digital economy, ECLAC said special focus was placed on support for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and entrepreneurship.

Latin American and Caribbean countries also agreed to promote open government initiatives and encourage digital service standards that facilitate government services, ECLAC said.

In culture, inclusion and digital skills, ECLAC said they proposed updating curricular content to prepare students and citizens to take on the challenges of the digital economy, the strengthening of big data analysis and massive expansion of access to digital services.

As for action on emerging technologies for sustainable development, ECLAC said regional countries agreed to promote digital financial services as a priority for developing inclusive financial systems.

Moreover, the countries expressed their rejection of the unauthorized collection and improper use of personal data, and agreed to promote appropriate mechanisms for the treatment of such data, ECLAC said.

It said regional countries also decided to continue developing a strategy for a regional digital market to increase cross-border e-commerce.

In addition, Latin American and Caribbean countries “expressed the need for digital policies that leverage emerging technologies coming out of the digital revolution and their impact on the economy and welfare,” ECLAC said.