Statement on World Telecommunications and Information Society Day 2017

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telecoms dayToday, the CARICOM Secretariat joins with the rest of the world to observe World Telecommunication and Information Society (WTISD) Day 2017.  This year’s theme of “Big data for Big impact” finds synergy with many of the CARICOM region’s plans and ideals.

In the past months, CARICOM Heads of Government, conscious that ICT can play an unparalleled role in linking people across the region, communities, driving collaboration across all sectors and improving service delivery to the poorest of the poor –    have shared a larger vision for leveraging technology for development through the development of a Single ICT space and the approval of the Roadmap to guide this process.

Additionally, Heads of Government have approved a Regional Action Plan for Statistics which will provide much needed attention and support to this much-overlooked but critical sector as we consider “Big Data” issues.  The Region is also about to launch a Human Resource development strategy 2030.

All of these regional programmes are encapsulated in the Regional Strategic Plan 2019 and are operationalised through channeling torrents of data into actionable information which can then be used to identify needs, provide services and develop sustainable programmes.

Already a number of CARICOM regional organisations and Governments have embraced the concept of a data ecosystem which supports national and regional goals. There is also growing awareness that data represents a new type of economic asset.  This regional ‘groundswell’ draws attention to many of the obstacles for public sector entities on the path to developing that eco-system.  These include the disruptive economic effects or potential misuse of data, privacy and security, data sharing and perhaps the most essential – the (lack of) human capital to support the eco-system.

The CARICOM Secretariat joins with the global call for renewed attention to the developing the human capital needed for to spur job creation and for managing, maximizing  and exploiting the data eco-system as part of the exploding ICT sector such as data scientists, statisticians, data miners, information designers and architects, software engineers.

The theme for WTISD-17 is in line with the CARICOM Secretariat’s work as a catalyst in helping the region unlock the potential of ICTs for private and public sector and civil society progress in achieving international sustainable development goals, with a focus on opening datasets, the active management of dissemination and demonstrating both the public good and business value that prudent data management can deliver for the countries of the Caribbean Community.

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