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We resolve to adopt the Digital Agenda for Latin America and the Caribbean (eLAC2020); to foster the digital ecosystem and the potential of the Internet to promote the sustainable development of the region by driving the digital economy, pursuing stakeholder engagement in an Internet governance that protects privacy.

These commitments are at the top of the list of resolutions established in the Cartagena de Indias Declaration, adopted on 20 April in Colombia during the Sixth Ministerial Conference on the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean. Delegates from 23 nations in the region endorsed the declaration, which also places emphasis on promoting access to public information, fostering information security, promoting a culture of trust in the use of digital media, and actively combating cybercrime.

“The eLAC 2018 meeting in Cartagena de Indias produced mixed results,” said Pablo Agustín Viollier, a public policy analyst at APC member organisation Derechos Digitales. “It was an event that offered little space for multistakeholder participation, without a single civil society representative as a main speaker in the plenary sessions, but the final declaration does acknowledge the importance of the participation of all actors in the internet ecosystem, and puts emphasis on the protection of privacy,” explained Viollier, who formed part of the APC delegation at the conference along with Julián Casasbuenas, the director of Colnodo and a member of the APC board of directors.

According to Casasbuenas, it is important to highlight that the observer recommendations put forward by APC were taken into account on aspects such as efficient spectrum management to reach remote areas; promotion of the use of reusable components and open source solutions; promotion of open government; expanding access to digital services and local content production, including content in indigenous languages; promotion of a digital culture that fosters the acquisition of digital skills and the innovative and responsible use of information and communications technologies (ICTs); promotion of a comprehensive approach to gender equality, open standards and technological neutrality; and guaranteeing privacy, the protection of consumers on the internet, access to public information, and freedom of expression, among others.

Of particular importance is the Declaration's recognition of the work of the observers who participate in the follow-up mechanism for the Digital Agenda for Latin America and the Caribbean, which, since its formal establishment in 2008, “has made significant contributions to the process, bringing to bear the vision of civil society, the private sector, the technical community and international agencies.”

Dafne Sabanes Plou, the LAC regional coordinator of the APC Women's Rights Programme, noted that “as a representative of civil society, APC has had the opportunity to bring the concerns of civil society organisations to the discussion table, especially around the issues of internet governance and digital inclusion. We have seen the incorporation of substantial objectives related to these issues in the final documents of the conference, and hope that the targets set for 2020 will be met.”

For Viollier, the Cartagena de Indias Declaration opens up “an opportunity for more meaningful participation in the future, enabling civil society to contribute more decisively to ensuring that future eLAC sessions are more focused on the protection of people's rights.”