In the face of the fourth industrial revolution, the settling of disruptive technologies and the non-stoppable pace of digitalisation it is timely to question the role that regional mechanisms/institutions play as enablers and governance instances of these technological developments. This is not only because of the economic and welfare benefits arising from them but also for the need to address the tensions and dilemmas they pose to traditional economic systems, patterns of production and labour.
Aware of this context and the challenges it presents, the PA recently launched a roadmap for its Digital Agenda focusing on four main pillars: (i) digital economy; (ii) digital connectivity; (iii) digital governments; (iv) digital ecosystems. The PA proposes an ambitious goal towards the creation of a regional digital market. The PA members commit themselves to the development of an internationalisation strategy for their IT industries and digital entrepreneurs. The content and scope of this strategy on a regional level is yet to be defined.
The exploratory roadmap in the area of digital connectivity cooperation also prescribes actions for the effective transition to IPv6 (ultimate generation internet protocol). These include technical advice from Internet Society and LACNIC (Latin American Network Information Centre) towards making the transition possible for the public sector of the PA members. It also provides for actions aiming at reducing international roaming rates with a view to make them equivalent to local rates. Works on this front aim to include efforts to strengthen the infrastructure at the regional and sub-regional level. PA members commit to looking for ways to develop the necessary infrastructure for establishing IXPs (internet exchange points) within the region to allow for regional interconnections. These investments are required to reduce final users’ costs and improve transmission speeds. Efforts in the digital connectivity realm also involve looking at ways to establish new high-speed access networks to promote the digital economy.
Regarding digital government, the PA focuses its works on open data, improving public services to citizens and businesses, and promoting the use of shared services. Actions in this front refer to technical cooperation between PA members and the exchange of experiences and practices.
The digital ecosystem pillar provides for the promotion of (national) policies on security and consumer information privacy, as well as cooperation among the CERTS (computer emergency response teams)/CIRTS (computer incident response teams) to enhance national strategies on digital security. PA parties commit to developing a strategy to facilitate coordination among regional network information centres (NICs) that ultimately could achieve common policies for the management of domain names.
“At the moment the type of actions proposed in this roadmap are modest and refer primarily to the exchange of information and best practices, regional workshops, development of technical cooperation and technical studies. Hopefully, the results of this exploratory roadmap will create a more precise and more robust path as to what policies could and want to be achieved on a regional scale. With no doubt, the digital agenda should be at the forefront of the 2030 vision that the PA is discussing at the moment.”