Free and open source software for development

UNESCO and the Uruguayan Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the occasion of the Free and Open Source Software Seminar entitled “Sovereignty, Development and Democratization of the Government and Society”, which took place on 12 September 2013 at the Ministry’s Reinaldo Gargano auditorium in Montevideo.

By signing this memorandum, both parties propose to open a pluralistic and candid debate on the role of free and open source software (FOSS) as a model for exchange and development of efficient and effective information and knowledge. According to Jorge Grandi, Director of UNESCO’s Office in Montevideo, “FOSS can play an important role as a practical instrument for development, because its free and open aspirations make it a natural component of development efforts in the context of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”.

In particular, UNESCO will cooperate with the Ministry on the implementation of a free and open source software policy. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the political will and appropriate skills to contribute to the progressive advancement and the implementation of a more democratic information system, promoter of national industry and sovereignty.

“Free software is part of our agenda and our future because the values ​​it represents are the same values ​​of Uruguay: equality, freedom, sovereignty, right to choose, democracy and development”, stated Foreign Minister Luis Almagro, while opening the ceremony. By creating critical mass and knowledge through this collaboration, Uruguay will contribute to a more dynamic and active regional exchange based on experience, thereby deepening the possibilities of South-South cooperation in the field.

The international Free and Open Source Software Seminar was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the support of UNESCO and the participation of relevant local and international actors to broaden the experience. This seminar took place in the context of parliamentary debate on the State's Free Software and Open Formats Act, with a view to providing valuable input and regional knowledge to this debate involving the legislators and the entire society. The information gathered through the sharing of relevant experiences constitutes a substantial step to the formulation of an institutional action plan.