“Participation has always been the Achilles’ heel of eLAC2007”, the regional plan of action for the information society adopted by Latin American and Caribbean governments in 2005, says APC’s Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) policy coordinator, Valeria Betancourt. In 2006 APC developed a proposal for the inclusion of civil society participation in the eLAC2007 implementation process. The proposal was submitted to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), which is responsible for coordinating eLAC2007, and the eLAC2007 implementation mechanism, made up of the governments of Ecuador, El Salvador, Brazil and Trinidad and Tobago. It included measures to combat the lack of information and the absence of consultative channels, and became a formal input to the third eLAC2007 coordination meeting held in Santiago, Chile on 27 and 28 November 2006.
Several measures have since been adopted by ECLAC, including the production of a newsletter to provide updates on the status of implementation and meetings related to eLAC2007, and a foresight study that includes interviews with regional actors and a public survey about ICT-related issues, aimed at providing inputs for future regional action plans on the information society.
APC held a LAC regional ICT policy workshop in Montevideo, Uruguay in November 2006. The workshop brought together a group of around 30 people working with ICTs for development from different perspectives. It was a platform for policy dialogue between practitioners, advocates, researchers and academics around issues such as open access, internet governance, and mobile telephony for poverty reduction, among others. It also reviewed the situation of ICT policies in different countries in the LAC region, from civil society perspectives. The workshop offered opportunities for enhancing the capacity of members and partners to understand critical policy issues. New alliances were formed as a result of the workshop and older ones were strengthened. The workshop identified approaches, issues and initiatives around which regional collaboration could be cemented.
In all, the APC LAC policy programme was present at around ten key events in 2006. APC policy work has become highly respected in the region and the LAC ICT Policy Monitor project is considered as one of the key players and references for both civil society and public sector bodies and actors. Participation in events has also contributed to expanding and strengthening partnerships.