Where do Latin America and the Caribbean Stand in Relation to the eLAC 2007 Plan of Action? Evidence from Available Information
Benchmarking and monitoring any multi-country, multi-thematic Plan of Action is a necessary but extremely difficult task. Quantifying goals set forth in a regional Action Plan related to a new and innovative subject such as information society development is even more challenging. Goals may not be objectively measured, subjects may be very recent, indicators may not have been developed and/or information may simply not exist regarding the status of, and advancements in, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is for this reason that paragraph 28(f) of the Plan of Action of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) stated that ĻAll countries and regions should develop tools so as to provide statistical information on the Information Society, with basic indicators and analysis of its key dimensions. In light of the fact that Latin America and Caribbean countries have agreed, through eLAC 2007, to take up the challenge of effectively using ICTs for development, their policy goals cannot be held up by a lag in the area of statistics. There is a strong interdependence between implementing policies to achieve agreed targets and monitoring them, but this link has only partially been realized. Despite the fact that indicators are scarce and evidence anecdotal, efforts to make the necessary assessments must be initiated. Policy makers recognize this: target 26.1 of eLAC2007 states explicitly the need to develop ICT indicators, differentiated by socioeconomic characteristics, leading to the capability of all actors involved with the information society to monitor, access and utilize technology. The information presented in this document is incomplete. OSILAC compiled data from different sources and countries, available from public sources such as the Internet, studies, news media and project reports, among others. In some cases, the source of potential statistics, such as a national authority, lacks the resources to publish available information. Nevertheless, baselining, benchmarking or monitoring developments associated with the eLAC2007 Plan of Action is fundamentally important for supporting policy actions designed to meet the planned objectives. Thus, this exercise is merely an initial attempt to define, wherever possible, where the region stands and what challenges lie ahead.