UNESCO finalizes a series of consultations on Internet Universality Indicators in Latin America


In partnership with several Latin American partners, UNESCO Montevideo Office concluded on 5 March 2018 a sequence of debates related to its draft indicators.

Four working groups got down to business at the premises of UNESCO Category II Regional Centre of Studies for the Development of the Information Society (CETIC.br) last week. They were undertaking a detailed assessment of the draft indicators for UNESCO’s concept of Internet Universality.

CETIC.br operates under the umbrella of the Nucleus of Information and Coordination of Dot BR (NIC.br), based in São Paulo, Brazil.

The meeting was a regional consultation held in partnership with CETIC.br, the Latin American Network of Electronic Government (Red Gealc) and, the eLAC Secretariat, and took place on  2 March.

Regional LAC consultation in São Paulo Brazil, working group discussions, photo by Ricardo Matsukawa. © Cetic.Br

Split in the same groups in which the indicators are organized, Rights, Openness, Accessibility and, Multistakeholderism (R.O.A.M), representatives from national statistical institutions, digital governmental authorities,  various ministries, civil society organizations and academic institutions gave close attention to the draft.

Participants included representatives from 11 Latin American governments (Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, Panamá, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela).

The four working groups highlighted the importance of the tool that UNESCO is developing, and offered suggestions to improve the quality of the indicators - clarifying concepts, reducing ambiguity in some cases, simplifying the approach in others.

The participants also underlined they will stimulate other players in their respective countries to join the online consultation before it closes on 15 March.  UNESCO plans to pre-test and pilot a revised version of the indicators, before finalising them for presentation in November to the Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).

As part of encouraging governments to make inputs to improve the quality of the draft indicators, the UNESCO Offices in Montevideo and in Havana held a working meeting on 5 March with the Cuban Vice Minister of Communications and the President of the UNESCO National Commission in the country. During this meeting, the interlocutors highlighted that their teams will study the draft indicators and will send contributions to UNESCO Secretariat.

From left to right: Amb. Oscar León González, president of the UNESCO Cuban National Commission; Isabel Greenup Lozada, Director of International Relations and International Trade, Cuban Ministry of Communications; Lidia Brito, Director, UNESCO Office in Montevideo; Wilfredo González Vidal, Vice-Minister, Cuban Ministry of Communications; Katherine Muller-Marin, Director, UNESCO Office in La Habana; Guilherme Canela, UNESCO Regional Communication and Information Adviser, Montevideo Office; Elena Napoles Rodiguez, National Communication and Information Officer, La Habana Office. © UNESCO Cuban National Commission

These engagements close a series of meetings in which UNESCO Montevideo Office has taken the opportunity of Internet related gatherings to organize previous phases of the consultation process as well as to raise awareness for the online consultation on the current draft indicators.

During the 2017 LAC Internet Governance Forum (LACIGF), which took place in Panamá City, between 2 and 4 August, representatives from Governments, Civil Society Organizations, IT Companies, Academics and other experts joined the first phase of the UNESCO consultation in which they offered inputs and supporting documents.

These contributions were considered by UNESCO while preparing the first draft of indicators. Participants from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, México, Panamá, Paraguay, Uruguay and, from Global Internet Companies and International Inter-Governmental Organizations were involved in developing this feedback.

Panel during 2017 LACIGF, © LACIGF

Another opportunity to consult on the indicators in 2017 was the annual workshop “Por una mejor regulación de internet en América Latina ​–​ #CELE17” (For a better Internet regulation in Latin America), organized by the Argentinian freedom of expression think tank Centro de Estudios en Libertad de Expresión y Acceso a la Información, CELE (Centre of Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information).

This took place at Palermo University, Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 6 to 8 of September, 2017, and was another opportunity to consult with governmental, judicial, academic, private and civil society organizations from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela as to the main topics UNESCO should consider in building this new tool.

Working breakfast during CELE2017 Regional Workshop, 7 September 2017. © CELE

The International Seminar on Freedom of Expression, Children’s Rights and Media, which took place in Lima, Peru, from 2 to 4 October 2017, and was organized by a multistakeholder alliance of Children, Media, Academic and Governmental (regulators) organizations was another moment to raise awareness regarding the indicators consultation – and to get views about the Internet and young people in particular.

Panel during the International Seminar on Freedom of Expression, Children’s Rights and Media, Lima, Peru, October, 2017. © Concortv

Finally, at the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-17) convened in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 9 to 20 October 2017, organized by the ITU and the Argentinian Government, UNESCO was also able to signal the possibility of contributing to the indicators consultation process.

WTDC 2017, October 2017, Buenos Aires, © ITU