At the third Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) – European Union (EU) Ministerial Forum on the Information Society, held in Rio de Janeiro on 22-23 November 2004, Ministers and their representatives committed themselves to increased efforts in tackling the social dimension of the Information Society. They also officially launched RedCLARA, the first Pan-Latin-American network for research and education. RedCLARA is directly connected to the Pan-European research network. It will therefore allow 600 university research institutions in Latin America to intensify cooperation with more than 3,500 institutions in Europe and many more around the world.



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The European Commission was represented at the Ministerial Forum by Mr Fabio Colasanti, Director-General for Information Society and also by representatives from the External Relations, EuropeAid and Development services. Mr Colasanti stated: “The concrete steps we have taken today will further strengthen the fruitful relationship between the EU and LAC countries. The European Commission thereby makes a major contribution to developing an inclusive and cohesive Information and Knowledge Society in both regions”. At the Forum, Ministers committed themselves to a regular Policy and Regulatory Dialogue between the two regions. In their “Declaration of Rio”, they also agreed to develop an Alliance for Social Cohesion through Digital Inclusion” to make a joint contribution to a global Information Society, the overall objective of the World Summit on the Information Society.

One of the highlights of the Forum in Rio was the official launch of the first pan-Latin-American network for research and education. This new network, known as RedCLARA and delivered by the ALICE (América Latina Interconectada Con Europa) initiative, is set to transform research collaboration and to deploy basic services such as health and education to the general public.

RedCLARA also provides a direct connection to the Pan-European research network GEANT, using a dedicated high-speed internet link. The direct link to Europe opens the way for researchers in Latin America to participate in European research projects in important areas of scientific research such as high energy physics, astronomy and biomedicine.

RedCLARA also opens the way for the use of modern technology in the areas of health and education. The social benefit of the network is demonstrated by projects such as T@lemed, whose innovative use of networks delivers specialist medical equipment and advice to native populations in remote places such as the Amazonian region in Brazil.

Data from medical procedures such as scans used in gynaecology or oncology is sent from remote clinics to hospitals in large cities for analysis by specialists. Where a second opinion is required, T@lemed again uses the network to send the data to expert medical consultants in Europe. The results are rapidly processed and sent back to the local clinic, and any necessary follow-up treatment can be arranged without further delay.

Both RedCLARA and its interconnection and T@lemed are funded by the @LIS (Alliance for the Information Society) cooperation programme of the European Commission.

Further information:

@LIS:

http://europa.eu.int/alis.IST

Research networks:

http://www.cordis.lu/ist/rn/home.html

RedCLARA:

http://www.redclara.net

3rd LAC-EU Ministerial Information Society Forum:

http://www.forumsocinfo.gov.br/forumsocinfo/english/forumsocinfo


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