Delegates from the countries attending the Eighth Ministerial Conference on the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean approved today in Montevideo, Uruguay the Digital Agenda for Latin America and the Caribbean (eLAC2024), which establishes a set of policy priorities and actions at the regional level for the next two years.
The Conference was organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), in its capacity as Technical Secretariat, in conjunction with the Government of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay, through the National Agency for e-Government and the Information Society (AGESIC).
In the Montevideo Declaration, which also resulted from this gathering, countries made a commitment to “continue strengthening regional cooperation activities in digital matters within the framework of the Digital Agenda for Latin America and the Caribbean by formulating a program of cooperation activities for the 2022–2024 period, facilitating dialogue, sharing of experiences, knowledge management and capacity-building.”
The eLAC2024 Agenda contains 31 goals organized into four pillars, and it includes a cross-cutting gender perspective. The first pillar of the Agenda is linked to infrastructure, connectivity and the development of skills and competencies. The second is related to the digital economy, entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainability, while the third incorporates issues such as inclusion and the digital transformation of the State. Finally, the fourth pillar refers to the forging of new partnerships and contemplates actions linked to trade integration, the regional digital market and cooperation.
Digital technologies are essential instruments for boosting countries’ productivity and growth and have significant effects in various areas that are critical to development, such as health, education and government services, the countries recognize.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes among its main targets significantly increasing access to information and communications technologies and striving to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in the least developed countries.
The first goal of the eLAC2024 Agenda approved by countries is precisely to “promote the availability of affordable and quality broadband connectivity to all people, with special emphasis on those in conditions of vulnerability, and on unserved and underserved areas, remote and border areas, and rural and semi-urban areas, considering complementary solutions such as community networks.”
The year 2022 marks 17 years since the adoption of the first Action Plan on the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean, in Rio de Janeiro in 2005. This plan aimed to consolidate a shared vision about the role of digital technologies for promoting development. The Ministerial Conferences on the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean have been conducive to renewing the regional agreements in this area.
At the meeting in Uruguay, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, presented the document A digital path for sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean, which proposes diverse measures and actions for moving towards an inclusive and sustainable digital transformation in the region.
In the Montevideo Declaration, countries thanked the Government of Ecuador for its leadership as Chair of the Ministerial Conference’s Presiding Officers and for its coordination of the Digital Agenda for Latin America and the Caribbean during the 2020-2022 period.
Finally, the countries also thanked the Government of Chile for offering to give continuity to the process of the Digital Agenda for Latin America and the Caribbean and host the Ninth Ministerial Conference on the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2024.
Participating in the Eighth Ministerial Conference were delegates from 14 countries in the region, six United Nations System agencies and 12 intergovernmental organizations, along with representatives of financial institutions, development banks and cooperation agencies, the private sector, academia and civil society.