Caribbean Information and Communication for Development Action Plan Further Advanced

CARICOM, Guyana — Oct. 21, 2008 —  The work towards the development of an Action Plan which will augment the development of a regional strategy for Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) was advanced this week.     

During the week four Sub-Committees of the Regional ICT Steering Committee met in Barbados and now have a draft Action Plan which will be further refined at the next plenary meeting of the Regional ICT Steering Committee in November. The draft Action Plan and strategy will be completed for presentation to Ministers of Government responsible for ICT early in 2009.

During their deliberations, the sub-committees kept at the forefront the decision of the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society which has set 2015 as the time frame for which countries should have created the information society. Participants in the sub-committees updated on work being done in their respective countries and organisations towards the creation of the information society. Based on their reports several Caribbean countries are rolling out ICT initiatives at the community level with the establishment of programmes to provide the widest possible access to ICTs. Some delegates informed that they have had some success in delivering ICTs by partnering with Faith Based Organisations (FBO). The Steering Committee agreed that FBOs and Public/private partnerships must be embraced across the Region for the delivery of ICT. They also identified public education as being a key component of a regional ICT4D Strategy.

The Sub-Committees that met were: Access Connectivity and Internet Governance; Legal and Regulatory Framework; Business, Trade, Culture and Disaster Management and Capacity Building.

The group on Access, Connectivity and Internet Governance has set its goal as, advancing the growth of infrastructure for the information economy while the group on Legal and Regulatory Framework has set its goal as developing a legal and regulatory framework to facilitate ICT for social economic development. During the work of Legal and Regulatory group – the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) presented and advanced its position that regional governments should desist from enacting laws that would make it difficult for journalist to access and use information.

The group on Business, Trade, Culture and Disaster Management identified a goal for each sector. The goal identified for the business sector in relation to ICTs is to facilitate expansion, growth and competitiveness of regional businesses through increased adoption of ICTs while for Trade it is to provide for more effective trade (national, inter regional and extra regional) and increased global competitiveness for the Region through increased utilisation of ICT. In the area of culture the group identified the goal as to encourage the creation, storage and dissemination of cultural content through more effective utilisation of ICTs and for Disaster Management ICTs are to be utilized for the development of an interconnected network to provide effective support for integrated and comprehensive Disaster Management.

The group on Capacity Building identified two goals. These are to deliver the education and skills CARICOM target groups (citizens, businesses and governments) need to participate in the information knowledge economy and maximising opportunity for CARICOM citizen to benefit from the knowledge economy

The meeting brought together representatives from Member States of the Caribbean Forum of African Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM), Regional and international organisations, representatives of private sector and civil society and the CARICOM Secretariat.

The Regional ICT Steering Committee was established in 2004 and brings together a range of expertise and is organised in sub-committees. The Regional ICT Steering Committee serves as an advisory and support body to the CARICOM Secretariat identifying issues and providing technical advice and briefs relevant to ICT4D and the Information Society.

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