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In 1999, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) dedicated a series of high-level meetings for their 2000 Period of Sessions to the theme “Development and international cooperation in the XXI century: the role of information technology in the context of a global knowledge-based economy.” In response, the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, convened by the Government of Brasil and ECLAC in July 2000, signed the Florianopolis Declaration, which focused on the use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) for development.
As part of the international process of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which took place in two phases (Genève in 2003 and Tunis in 2005), the region’s authorities intensified their efforts to create a regional perspective on the development of information societies. Various meetings held between 2001 and 2003 by the regional network of the United Nations’ Working Group on ICTs emphasized the importance of collaboration between stakeholders interested in confronting this challenge. Moreover, the Agenda for Connectivity in the Americas and the Quito Plan of Action (August 2002) insisted on the need to design realistic national strategies and action plans.
The Bávaro Declaration (January 2003) was an important step in the establishment of the fundamental principles for Latin America and the Caribbean in their transition towards information societies, given that they helped to identify the main characteristics of this phenomenon in the region. Since its approval, the analysis of Internet governance and open-source software were officially incorporated in the WSIS process for the first time, as issues that have come to take on great importance during this meeting and subsequent events.
The region has taken as its strategic guide the Geneva Declaration of Principles and the Plan of Action adopted at the WSIS, which lays down targets to be met by 2015, together with the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. Building on the existing political consensus, the region’s governments put forward proposals at the meetings of the Preparatory Committee for the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society for the development of an Action Plan for Latin America and the Caribbean for the 2005-2007 period.
In 2005, during the preparatory meetings for the second phase of WSIS and the Regional Ministerial Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean in Rio de Janeiro, many years of dialogue on the relationship between ICTs, economic growth and equity culminated in the Rio de Janeiro Commitment, which comprises the Action Plan for the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean, known as eLAC2007.
The second step was taken in 2008 in El Salvador, with the approval of the second Action Plan, eLAC2010; as today, the process is in its third phase with the implementation of the eLAC2015 Plan, adopted in Lima in 2010. To give continuity to this process, in April 2013 was held in Montevideo, Uruguay, the Fourth Ministerial Conference on the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean, in which the Declaration of Montevideo and the Roadmap from 2013 to 2015 were adopted.