A people-focused summit | Opinion | The USA Print

One of the great challenges of the region is connectivity.

On March 24 and 25, in Santo Domingo, the XXVIII Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government will be held. The 22 countries that make up the Ibero-American Community, under the guidance of the Pro Tempore Secretariat, exercised by the Dominican Republic, have wanted this summit to focus on people, dealing with matters of high relevance and significant importance for the citizens of the region.

Over the last few months, and based on a proposal made by the Government of Spain, work has been carried out on the preparation of a Ibero-American Charter of Digital Principles and Rights. There is no doubt that this is a pioneering effort due to its process and significant due to its content. To begin with, there is no precedent in the matter of a multilateral initiative of this magnitude and it is hoped that the approval of the document – a matter that is the exclusive responsibility of the heads of State and Government – constitutes an inspiring milestone for the regulations that must dictate and apply the countries that sign it. It is true that it will not be binding, but its adoption will be a strong signal to the international community of the Ibero-American commitment to digital rights.

The digital revolution is generating profound changes in all activities and its impact can be seen from the field of personal relationships to the economic, educational, commercial and labor spheres. Hence the importance of placing the person at the center of the digital transformation and moving resolutely towards eliminating the gaps in coverage, access and use, paying special attention to those that affect women, children and adolescents. , the elderly and, in general, the most vulnerable groups. It is also essential to guarantee respect for privacy and identity, reinforce the importance of consent in terms of personal data processing and achieve the difficult balance of obtaining that States improve their services through the use of digital instruments, without discrimination. regarding those who cannot or do not want to make use of new technologies.

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The aforementioned effort is part of the preparations that will have their outcome in the next Ibero-American Summit. Likewise, the leaders are summoned to adopt an Environmental Charter, a Special Communiqué on International Financial Architecture and a Regional Strategy on Food Security.

Added to these matters is the importance of the necessary relaunch of relations between Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean, one of the priorities on the agenda for the second semester of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which will be held by Spain. The aforementioned bi-regional relaunch should bring progress in the political articulation between both blocs, in the trade negotiations that have been going on for decades, in the strengthening of investments in both directions and in the adoption of a new perspective on cooperation mechanisms and instruments. . That is, align the priorities of both blocks, often disconnected.

The backdrop of the Summit will be marked by the convergence in the region of great opportunities and important challenges. Among the former, we must mention the more traditional ones such as mining, based, for example, on the existence of the largest lithium deposits on the planet; energy, considering that renewables already represent a significant percentage of the regional energy matrix and that they are the passport towards the development of green hydrogen; industrial activity, stimulated by its insertion in the value chains that are being reconfigured and the rise of technology startups, some of which have grown to become powerful Latin American “unicorns”. Among the challenges, it is worth mentioning the need to resume a growth rate that leaves behind the stigma of the “lost decades”, which allows poverty to be reduced and inequality to be reduced; Another challenge is the imperative to improve democratic governance affected by phenomena of polarization and political fragmentation.

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For more than 30 years, without interruptions and often coping with complex situations in various countries, the Ibero-American summits have been a privileged place for dialogue and political articulation at the highest level, based on the inalienable principle of inclusion that constitutes the seal of identity of the Ibero-American Community. In them, the highest authorities have exchanged points of view, analyzed regional situations, examined global problems and expressed their points of view on a wide range of matters.

The mandates emanating from the summits have translated into an infinity of actions and concrete initiatives implemented by the countries themselves, supported by an institutional framework represented by the Ibero-American General Secretariat, and by a series of tools that make up a tangible, recognizable and appreciated cooperation system. .

In short, the next Summit in Santo Domingo will honor this valuable tradition and will contribute to the strengthening of the Ibero-American Community, which is called to be a space of prosperity, justice and equality for the people that make it up and that, based on the elements that give it cohesion, it is emerging as a gravitating actor on the international stage.

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