Digital economy “is part of a new vision of development” Jose Clastornik, Director of Agesic

19/03/2013

In April, Montevideo will welcome the Fourth Ministerial Conference on the Information Society, a meeting that will seek to reinvigorate the regional action plan that considers that information and communication technologies (ICT) are tools for achieving Latin American and Caribbean development with greater innovation and equality.
Jose Clastornik, who will host the meeting in his capacity as Director of Uruguay’s Agency for Electronic Government and the Information Society (Agesic), says the Montevideo conference should be a turning point for achieving the goal for the next two years: universal access to high quality broadband in the region and the incorporation of ICT in productive activities, public services, education and health.
In his interview with Lacnic News, Jose Clastornik noted that in order to tackle Internet governance challenges from a point of view that has been reached by consensus “it is first necessary to join the debate and understand its importance.”

What are Uruguay’s expectations for this meeting?

2013 is a year of transition. We have begun the run-up to the deadline set by the international community for implementing the goals of both the World Summit on the Information Society and the Action Plan for Latin America (eLAC), while at the same time we are beginning to discuss strategy beyond 2015.

In our opinion, the Fourth Ministerial Summit is a milestone. The challenge for this meeting is to become the starting point of a two-year cycle that requires the region’s active participation in international forums, assessing progress, and projecting the challenges we must face in the future. Ultimately, we have the opportunity to raise the visibility of Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole, understanding and respecting each country’s peculiarities, in order to position our region. We have a solid eight-year process and major advances we can highlight on the international stage.

Has the region reached consensus on the challenges of Internet governance? What should be done in that regard?

To reach consensus it is first necessary to understand its importance and join the debate. In this sense, Internet governance was one of the topics discussed at the preparatory meeting for the Ministerial Conference held last October in Quito and the growing importance of discussing the subject was recognized. In addition, the need to consider the various existing approaches and models and encourage regional participation at international forums (such as ICANN and the IGF) in a coordinated manner, promoting capacity building and the construction of analytical frameworks, was also identified, as was the need to incorporate representatives of the eLAC Coordinating Board in the Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Internet Governance Forum (LACIGF).

Of course, we are aware that challenges exist not only in terms of network management but also, for example, in terms of privacy and information security, two issues requiring a joint view shared by the different actors that make up the Internet ecosystem which is, for instance, what we did at the World Conference on Privacy and Data Protection we organized in Punta del Este in October 2012.

How can we improve coordination between governments and the various Internet stakeholders?

Multistakeholder structures permeate different digital policy forums at global level (WSIS), regional level (eLAC), and even national level as in the case of Uruguay, where the Information Society Honorary Advisory Council is made up by representatives of government, academia, the private sector, and civil society organizations.

This articulation can be achieved by continuing to work together at these forums and others such as the IGF or ICANN, open discussion spaces that guide the actions of our governments on Internet related issues.

The book Digital Economy for Structural Change and Equality will be presented at the meeting. What are its main conclusions? Can the digital economy support the diversification of a country’s productive structure?

This is a book prepared by ECLAC which, in the words of Mario Cimoli, head of the production and business development division, argues that, in the current context where ICTs have been incorporated into our daily lives, the digital economy “is part of a new vision of development, acting as a catalyst to encourage long-term investment, diversification of the productive structure, and greater convergence in productivity levels throughout the economy.”

For more details on the Fourth Ministerial Conference on the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean, see http://www.agesic.gub.uy/innovaportal/v/2557/1/agesic/iv_conferencia_ministerial_sobre_la_sociedad_de_la_informacion_de_america_latina_y_el_caribe.html

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