CARICOM ICT Ministers to Discuss Regional Strategy at 36th Special COTED
CARICOM Secretariat - May 26, 2011 - When Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and officials with responsibility for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) meet in St Georges, Grenada on Friday 27 May, it is to discuss and approve among other things, the draft Regional Digital Development Strategy (RDDS) and the strategic objectives of the Implementation Plan.
The CARICOM Secretariat led the formulation of this strategy to guide the ICT activities and initiatives in the Region and to use ICT as a critical development tool to advance the Region on its path to an information and knowledge society.
The Ministers’ discussion will take place on the platform of the 36th Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) under which ICT falls.
Officials with responsibility for ICT will meet for two days to tackle a crisp yet comprehensive agenda on May 24-25, in preparation for the Ministerial meeting on Friday, 27 May 2011.
Commenting on the importance of the draft RDDS, Ms Jennifer Britton, Deputy Programme Manager, Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) noted that ICT “is one of the most important facilitators in strengthening the CARICOM Single Market and in ultimately creating a Single Economy.”
She noted that “the emergence of e-commerce, e-government, e-health and e-learning as critical mechanisms within the development process in this digital era, is evidence of the global embrace of ICT to improve efficiencies across a range of areas and sectors.”
In this regard, therefore, ICT ministers will also consider a governance structure which will be critical for supporting the implementation of the draft Regional Digital Development Strategy. They will also discuss for subsequent approval, the Draft Regional e-Government Strategy (2010–2014) that was developed in 2009 by a core group under the leadership of the Caribbean Centre for Development Administration (CARICAD). “This new strategy,” the ICT4D Deputy Programme Manager said, “builds on work done on the previous Strategy (2004-2007) and highlights eight strategic priorities for advancing regional governments in their quest for more accountability, transparency and service orientation.”
The COTED Meeting will also receive reports from regional and international organizations on several ICT programmes and initiatives in train; and will also examine the role and use of new media technologies in advancing the Community’s public information programmes.
The 36th Special Meetings of the COTED will be held under the auspices of the Prime Minister of Grenada, the Honourable Tillman Thomas, who has Lead responsibility for Science and Technology (including ICT) in the Quasi Cabinet of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM. Prime Minister Thomas is also the current Chairman of CARICOM.