By APCNews Montreal, 10 April 2013
Last week, APC attended the Fourth Ministerial Conference on the Information Society in Montevideo, Uruguay, organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. The event aimed to “examine the achievements and challenges regarding the regional information society … in order to contribute to the universalization of broadband, achieve a transactional and participatory electronic government, [improve] access to ICTs, promote regional integration through ICTs, and universalize access and expansion of new technologies for health and education.”
The conference was a key event in the eLAC process, which began in 2007 as an outcome of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). Then, APC took a leadership role in lobbying and advocating for a more sustainable multistakeholder participation at the regional level. Not long after, APC was chosen to represent civil society in the eLAC process as a civil society observer. Valeria Betancourt, APC’s Communications and information policy programme manager, travelled to Montevideo to participate in the conference.
In addition to attendance at the Ministerial Conference, APC and its project partners in “25 years of the Information Society in LAC” organised a pre-event titled Open Development: Exploring the future of the information society in LAC, as a space for “debating the policies that need to be in place to ensure that the technology will contribute to open societies and more dynamic economies in the region.”
A major outcome from the Ministerial conference is that representatives from 15 of the region’s countries signed the Montevideo Declaration, reaffirming their commitments laid out in previous processes and presenting a Plan of action to carry out specific activities. The Plan of action is particularly interesting to members as it outlines activities such as encouraging debate on internet governance, strengthening infrastructure roll out and promoting actions to ensure the exercise of human rights in the digital environment.
In addition to APC and representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay, other attendees include “observer agencies to the eLAC process (ALETI, APC, AHCIET and LACNIC), 10 United Nations agencies, 10 intergovernmental organizations, 13 non-governmental organizations, representatives from the European Commission, Japan, Republic of Korea and Turks and Caicos islands, plus over 500 participants.”