Regional and global ICT initiatives related to COVID-19 in the Americas
Issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted various regulatory and policy initiatives affecting the Americas. These include regional actions as well as global initiatives from international organisations on information and communications technologies (ICT).
The initiatives include public policies, the sharing of best practice, recommendations to mitigate the economic effects of the emergency, and measures to strengthen the telecommunications sector as an enabler of teleworking, tele-education, e-government, e-commerce and the digital economy.
Cullen International’s latest report provides an overview of the lines of action and the scope of different ICT-initiatives launched by international organisations, development banks and associations in the Americas.
Most of the efforts in the region focus on data sharing and connectivity. Others prioritise digitalisation, especially of e-government, or propose post-pandemic lines of action:
- The Secretariat of the Inter-American Telecommunications Commission (CITEL) published recommendations to member states in six areas, focused on spectrum and connectivity.
- The Central American Telecoms Commission (COMTELCA) shared international good practices, including to free up more spectrum for communications.
- The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) launched an information-sharing platform that compiles voluntary national reports and indicators of sustainable development goals (SDGs).
- Actions taken by supranational organisations, such as the Andean Community and the Mesoamerican Project, mainly focus on information sharing.
- Other organisations such as Mercosur, the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC), the Central American Integration System (SICA) and the Pacific Alliance also assigned funds to research or in support of small companies.
- In addition, international development banks (CAF, IADB and the World Bank) have established emergency funds to support country initiatives.
- At a global level, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), World Economic Forum (WEF) and GSMA put together the ITU’s Global Network resiliency platform (#REG4COVID), the World Economic Forum’s COVID action platform, the Broadband Commission agenda for sustainable development, and other platforms and fora.
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