3rd Latin American and Caribbean Forum, Caracas, October 18-22

By Daniel Pimienta,
FUNREDES Head
[email protected]

As scheduled in the second LAyC Networks meeting held in Mexico last year, several representatives from national networks initiatives met in Venezuela to reinforce the regional integration mechanisms in that field.

As tends to occur around the Caribbean Basin, the organizers started somehow late (after INET93) but managed, by a final rush, to offer a well structured and committed event in every aspect. They have been justifiably congratulated for their overall accomplishment (same has occurred in the two previous meetings, in Rio de Janeiro and Guadalajara).

The forum offerred a well balanced mix of conferences (with Peter Deutsch, Sam Lanfranco and John Quarterman as main guests) and workgroup activities and concluded positively with some key diagnostics and orientations:

1) In the current state of the region, it is more effective and convenient to let every national effort be represented (and, if required, presented) than to look after methods supposed to determine which one should be granted the official label. Coherently, it has been decided to widely open the LAyC electronic forum to each initiative able to present itself.

2) It is essential that the time elapsed between each year conferences be efficiently used in order to realize the committed tasks. The creation of open electronic working groups on the main themes has been scheduled to make the process more result prone.

3) It is more important to insure that the mechanisms are in place to allow an open participation and an efficient follow-up within the working groups than to select or elect "representative groups".

4) It is of utmost importance to establish open archiving mechanisms so that can be stored and retrieved all the documents of regional interest (bilateral or subregional agreements between networks and with other players).

5) The themes to be treated should go beyond technical aspects and focus should be brought in managerial matters. In particular, tariffs, PTT agreements, network use policies and national network fair competition rules has been identified as important subjects.

6) It has been agreed that the Venezuelan organizers will act as a transitory steering committee in order to make operational these recommendations. They will provide the working environment and pass that responsibility to the next Forum Committee before the next conference (Argentina has been accepted as the next host).

I take the opportunity to call the network initiatives which have not been yet participating to the process to identify themselves writing to [email protected] so that to be incorporated to the LAyC electronic forum ([email protected]) and be invited to join electronic working groups.