(12 October 2012) At the Preparatory Meeting for the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Information Society for Latin America and the Caribbean, held on 11 October in Quito, Ecuador, ECLAC announced that the region's countries had approved a new subsidiary body that will become operational in 2013: the Conference on science, innovation and information and communications technologies.
The creation of the conference was approved by the region's countries at the end of August during the thirty-fourth session of ECLAC, which was held in San Salvador, El Salvador. ECLAC will act as the subsidiary body's technical secretariat.
The Preparatory meeting in Quito was opened by Ronal Barrientos, Head of the National Office for Electronic Government and Information Technology in Peru, as the country is currently Chair of eLAC2015, Jaime Guerrero, Minister of Telecommunications and Information Society (MINTEL) in Ecuador and Mario Cimoli, Director of the ECLAC Division of Production, Productivity and Management.
The meeting brought together 35 delegates responsible for digital policymaking from 17 of the region's countries, as well as observers from the private sector (ALETI and AHCIET), the technical community (LACNIC and ISOC), civil society (APC) and cooperation agencies (IDRC).
Minister Guerrero opened the event by stating that information and communications technologies (ICTs) are instruments of economic development and social inclusion for Latin American and Caribbean countries, and he highlighted the need to continue encouraging processes relating to the information society in the region.
Mario Cimoli emphasized that Latin America and the Caribbean is currently at a turning point, and that governments have the opportunity to understand the importance of ICTs for economic development, social inclusion and equality. He clarified that, despite the progress that the region's countries have made in terms of the information society, they are moving forward more slowly than they need to in order to take the next step and catch up with more developed countries in this sphere.
At the Preparatory meeting, delegates aligned their priorities in the lead-up to the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Information Society for Latin America and the Caribbean, which will be held in Montevideo, Uruguay, in April 2013.
Prior to the Preparatory meeting, the international seminar on the eLAC2015 Regional Plan and the Advancement of Digital Policies in the Region was held on 10 October. Participants analysed digital strategies and regional competitiveness, cooperation prospects and opportunities for digital development in the region, connectivity models in public networks, gender perspective in digital agendas and the management of technological waste.
The Third Plan of action on the information society for Latin America and the Caribbean, eLAC2015, was approved at the third Ministerial Conference in 2010 in Peru.
At the seminar opening, Peter Schwaiger, Business Affairs Representative, EU Delegation to Ecuador, restated the European Union's commitment to digital development in Latin America and the Caribbean in order to reduce inequalities using ICTs and promote the region's place in a globalized world by means of the ECLAC @LIS2 project, which is jointly financed by the European Commission.
Mario Castillo, coordinator of the ECLAC @LIS2 project, stated that progress in digital economies required comprehensive policies that are aligned with competitiveness and productive development. According to Mr. Castillo, this is why ECLAC used its thirty-fourth session to launch a proposed structural change for equality, which aims to renew development strategies by incorporating technological change.
The seminar, which brought together 140 people, was also attended by Minister Guerrero of Ecuador, Deputy Ministers of Strategic Sectors, Information Society and Information and Communications Technologies, as well as the Deputy Minister for Technologies from the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Telecommunications in Costa Rica.
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