Meeting to help set stage for harmonized regional framework for e-business
Geneva, 2 October 2008 - UNCTAD will hold a 6-10 October workshop on cyberlaws for States members of the Asociacion Latinamericana de Integracion (ALADI) to help them take advantage of the economic potential of e-business and to advance plans for a regional harmonized legal framework for Internet-based commerce.
Twenty-five participants are expected from nine of ALADI´s 11 member States. The meetings, to be held in cooperation with the ALADI Secretariat, will address various legal issues and will consider options for harmonization and law reform. The sessions will include a comparative review of existing laws in the region.
Those to attend have all completed a distance-learning training course on "The Legal Aspects of Electronic Commerce" delivered by UNCTAD from 11 August - 5 September 2008 for 99 participants from ALADI member States. The distance-learning course presented the options available to policymakers when preparing a supportive legal environment for the development of e-government and e-commerce services.
Effective cyberlaws are of increasing importance for the region. According to a data survey conducted by the National Institute of Statistics of Argentina, 96% of enterprises in the manufacturing sector are now using the Internet. Internet penetration in ALADI countries grew from 5% of the population in 2000 to 20% in 2007, and governments are designing policies to take full advantage of the economic potential of information and communication technology (ICT).
The workshop is the latest UNCTAD/ALADI project, based on a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations signed in 2005. The objective of the agreement is to help policymakers and lawmakers from ALADI countries to master the legal complexities of ICT and to prepare for Internet harmonization that can boost domestic, regional and international trade.
Previous UNCTAD activities in this area include delivering training modules on the legal aspects of e-commerce and the presentation of a workshop on the harmonization of cyberlaws. As a follow-up to these activities, the Buenos Aires workshop will advance the process of regional harmonization by discussing the main legal issues to be considered based on existing drafts or cyberlaws in ALADI countries.
These activities are being carried out by the UNCTAD Science, Technology and ICT Branch and by the TRAINFORTRADE programme (http://learn.unctad.org/) in cooperation with ALADI and with the support of the Government of Spain.
Similar activities are being carried out in Africa and Asia. With this capacity-building programme on ICT and law reform based on the TRAINFORTRADE methodology, UNCTAD intends to contribute to the advancement of the information economy by linking the development of harmonized legal infrastructure with trade initiatives and other regional ICT programmes. UNCTAD also seeks through the programme to promote human resource development as a key element for growth and economic progress through a process that encourages national and regional "ownership".