Caribbean Forum on the Information Society
Friday, 22 July 2011 00:59

The Caribbean Forum on the Information Society (CFIS) was convened by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) Sub regional Headquarters for the Caribbean on 26 – 27 October 2004, as part of its preparatory process for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The meeting took place at a time of increasing activity in Information Communications Technology (ICT) development and following another event, the CARICOM meeting of ICT Ministers. 

Amidst major mandates and initiatives of several intergovernmental agencies, research institutions and specialized international agencies, approximately 70 ICT practitioners and representatives from member countries of the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC) came together to formulate common positions and identify stakeholder interests regarding the development of an Information Society in the Caribbean. Further, the forum sought to respond to specific mandates of ECLAC regarding the WSIS and Internet Governance. In so doing, ECLAC determined to strengthen its unique contribution to the body of work in progress.

One of the items on the Agenda in the context of ICT was the issue of ownership and wealth creation. It was observed that throughout the Caribbean there have been significant experiences and approaches in the development and delivery of content. One important focus has been the development of applications for significant social and economic transformation including wealth creation. 

A main challenge facing the region in the delivery of content and “wealth creation from content” is the method of documentation and methods of preservation of content. There is need to digitise the vast volumes of material stored in analogue and other traditional formats in order to facilitate their manipulation as part of the ICT – based information society. 

At the meeting it was agreed that the region held a vast reserve of intellectual property and culture products that could be leveraged at the global level for economic gain and social development and that there were many outstanding and relevant content creation enterprises within countries with the potential for replication elsewhere in the region.

Sanch Electronix Limited, one of a very small group of companies involved in the recording of Caribbean indigenous music, has been able to overcome the above challenge i.e. the methods of documentation and preservation of content. The company records steelband orchestras on - location and has employed advanced technology to capture every nuance of the instruments in the recordings. The information is stored on a digital recorder and may be monitored and played back. The company has a national and international focus in its marketing strategies and efforts are now being made to promote its extensive catalogue of works at media conglomerates in the USA as well as in Latin America. 

The full report on the Forum could be found at ECLAC Port of Spain’s website

Joanne Mora
Technical Cooperation Assistant
Science and Technology Unit
Port of Spain
868 623 5595 ext 2210