2.2.1 Latin American and Caribbean Countries (LAC)

The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) supports the Strategy for the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean (“eLAC”). A long-term vision aligned with the MDGs and the goals of WSIS (Figure 2-1), eLAC provides short-term action plans containing qualitative and quantitative goals. These plans, which comprise the region’s Plan of Action for the Information Society, have served to promote integration and cooperation in the area of ICTs, and also have acted as a link between international-level goals and the needs and priorities of the region and its countries.31

In 2005, the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries signed the Rio de Janeiro Commitment, which determined that ICTs should be used to achieve the MDG goals in that region. It also renewed the region’s commitment to expanding cooperation among all countries through the exchange of experience, knowledge, and technology. The Commitment called for development of "e-applications" and "e-education" solutions. In addition, it emphasized the need to create government programmes to provide indigenous peoples with access to ICTs, taking into account the special situation of those groups.32

The Rio Commitment led to the definition of eLAC 2007, the regional plan of action for the 2005-2007 period, which outlined 30 goals and 70 activities, divided into five "cluster" areas:

(1) Access and digital inclusion,

(2) Capacity building and knowledge creation,

(3) Public transparency and efficiency,

(4) Policy instruments, and

(5) Enabling environment.

The access and digital inclusion cluster established goals and activities for online schools and libraries, including an objective to:

“Double the number of public schools and libraries that are connected to the Internet, or connect one third of them, if possible via broadband, particularly those located in rural, isolated or marginal areas…”33

This goal was supposed to be achieved by mid-2007 but remained unfulfilled in most countries. The Monitoring eLAC 2007 Report shed light on the status of the spread of ICTs, according to the goals and activities established in eLAC 2007. It pointed out that there had been significant progress in the region in developing "information societies" in each country. Fifteen out of the 27 monitored action areas showed acceptable or strong growth. The remaining 12 action areas showed moderate to insufficient advances. Areas of action in which progress was strong and notable were:

  • Digital access and inclusion in community centres and local government;
  • Capacity-building and knowledge creation in research and education networks;
  • Governmental transparency and efficiency in e-government and e-education;
  • The development of indicators and measurement as policy instruments; and
  • Monitoring of WSIS and the execution of eLAC2007.34

In 2008, as a consequence of WSIS 2005 and to follow up on the Rio de Janeiro Commitment, LAC countries signed the San Salvador Commitment, further cementing the region’s commitment to using ICTs as instruments to support economic development and social inclusion. The San Salvador Commitment, called for increasing efforts to achieve the region’s priorities in education.35 It also reiterated the need to include all stakeholders -- the private sector, civil society, and scientific and academic communities -- in the creation of the Information Society, as well as in seeking financial mechanisms to help realize the region’s ICT goals and targets.36

eLAC 2010, which followed the San Salvador Declaration, delineated the ICT goals and targets for the region between 2008 and 2010. It provided 83 goal-oriented activities for six priority areas in the region: (1) education and training, (2) infrastructure and access, (3) health, (4) public administration and e-government, (5) the productive sector, and (6) policy instruments and strategic tools. With education as a top priority for the region, the eLAC 2010 plan established specific goals and activities for achieving better accessibility and capacity levels in the region, including a goal to:

Connect 70% of public educational institutions to the Internet, preferably via broadband connections, or triple the current number.37

The process continued with the adoption of the Lima Declaration and the definition of eLAC2015, which contains eight thematic areas, 10 lines of action, six priorities and 26 goals, including developing and implementing ICTs for inclusive education. Providing universal access to ICTs for education, and expanding their use in this field, is defined as a priority under this action item.38

The Plan particularly provides that:

The policy for maximizing use of digital technologies in the context of education must be viewed as a policy of State. This policy must include advanced training for teachers in technological, cognitive and pedagogical areas, the production of digital contents and interactive applications, innovative teaching and learning methodologies and the use of cutting-edge technological resources, including the provision of broadband and other systems with the potential to transform teaching.39

In terms of connectivity, Goal 23 of the Plan calls for efforts to:

Connect all educational establishments to broadband and increase their computer density, while promoting the use of convergent educational resources such as mobile phones, video games and open interactive digital television. In this connection, foster public policies that support collaborative teaching and research activities carried out over national and regional research and education networks. In particular, promote support for the CLARA network and CARIBnet in managing and obtaining passive infrastructure, thus strengthening the regional network for science, technology, research and innovation.40

Figure 2-1: The Link between eLAC and International Initiatives

http://www.cepal.org/elac2015/noticias/paginas/3/44103/CUADRO1ingles.jpg

Source: ECLAC

31 eLAC – Strategy for the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean, available at: http://www.eclac.cl/socinfo/default.asp?idioma=IN
32 Rio de Janeiro Commitment, Regional Preparatory Ministerial Conference of Latin America and the Caribbean for the Second Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, June 2005.
33 San Salvador Commitment, Second Ministerial Conference on the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean, February 2008.
34 San Salvador Commitment, Second Ministerial Conference on the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean, February 2008.

35 Plan of Action for the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean eLAC 2007, http://www.eclac.org/cgi-bin/getProd.asp?xml=/socinfo/noticias/documentosdetrabajo/5/21685/P21685.xml&xsl=/socinfo/tpl-i/p38f.xsl&base=/socinfo/tpl/top-bottom.xsl.
36 eLAC – Monitoring, available at:
http://www.eclac.org/cgi-bin/getprod.asp?xml=/socinfo/noticias/paginas/7/32567/P32567.xml&xsl=/socinfo/tpl/p18f.xsl&base=/socinfo/tpl/top-bottom.xsl
37 “San Salvador Commitment,” in Second Ministerial Conference on the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean, LC/R.2144, (San Salvador, 2008) http://www.cepal.org/socinfo/noticias/noticias/3/32363/2008-2-TICs-San_Salvador_Commitment.pdf .

38 “eLAC2015 Plan of Action” available at: http://www.cepal.org/socinfo/noticias/documentosdetrabajo/5/41775/2010-820-eLAC-Plan_of_Action.pdf

39 “eLAC2015 Plan of Action” available at: http://www.cepal.org/socinfo/noticias/documentosdetrabajo/5/41775/2010-820-eLAC-Plan_of_Action.pdf

40 “eLAC2015 Plan of Action” available at: http://www.cepal.org/socinfo/noticias/documentosdetrabajo/5/41775/2010-820-eLAC-Plan_of_Action.pdf

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