In the Mexico City Declaration signed today at the closing session of the Fifth Ministerial Conference on the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean, countries in the region renewed accords for the eLAC process, which began 10 years ago, approving the Digital Agenda for Latin America and the Caribbean eLAC2018, which establishes five areas of action and 23 objectives.
In her closing speech, the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, emphasized that “this regional digital agenda should become the backbone for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to 2030.”
The Mexico City Declaration was signed by representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The countries agreed to continue strengthening regional cooperation on digital matters with projects that have a regional scope and activities oriented towards promoting innovation, digital training and the dissemination and transfer of new technologies and good management practices. In addition, they will work to promote and respect all rights in the digital environment and encourage the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to build peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development with equality.
The signatories also declared their commitment to the governance of the Internet and the information society based on processes that include multiple interested parties, which are democratic and guarantee significant and responsible participation by all actors, including governments, the private sector, civil society, academic and technical communities and users.
Internet governance was also highlighted by Alicia Bárcena as an essential element in the agenda on the information society. “The international management of the Internet must be multilateral, transparent and democratic and have the full participation of governments, the private sector, civil society and international organizations,” ECLAC’s Executive Secretary sustained.
In addition, the countries manifested in the Mexico City Declaration their determination to improve regional capacities in order to take advantage of the digital revolution to expand and promote access and infrastructure, the digital economy, e-government, information society governance, social inclusion and sustainable development.
The eLAC2018 digital agenda proposal seeks to develop the digital ecosystem in Latin America and the Caribbean for strengthening, through a process of integration and regional cooperation, the policies that foster a society based on knowledge, inclusion and equity, innovation, and environmental sustainability.
In that sense, Alicia Bárcena contended that the region must evolve more quickly towards an inclusive digital economy, moving from the Internet of consumption towards an Internet of production that allows for increased productivity. “This implies profound changes in the modes of production and consumption. Production modes that must be much more productive and more environmentally sustainable,” she said.
Another speaker at the closing session was Alejandra Lagunes, Mexico’s Coordinator of the National Digital Strategy, who described the eLAC2018 digital agenda as a “strategic document” that shows that “the Latin American and Caribbean region is more united than ever to transform our nations through the use of information and communications technologies.” She added that “technology can indeed change the lives of the 600 million people who live in our region.”
In addition to government officials, other participants in the meeting included 12 observing civil society organizations, 11 United Nations bodies, 14 intergovernmental organizations, 22 non-governmental organizations, and representatives from the European Commission, the United States, Guyana and Russia. In total, more than 400 people attended the event.
The fifth ministerial conference on the information society was organized by ECLAC in its role as technical secretariat of the eLAC process and the Mexican government. The next preparatory meeting for the conference will take place in Santiago, Chile in 2017, and the sixth ministerial conference will be held in Colombia in 2018.