• Cartagena de Indias, Columbia
  • Recap

Recap: EU-LAC Digital Alliance Days in Colombia – Partners Agree on Joint Areas of Collaboration Towards 2025 Summit

On 27-29 November 2023, the EU-LAC Digital Alliance Days in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, co-organized by the European Commission, the Spanish Agency for International Development (AECID), the Digital for Development (D4D) Hub, and key partners of the EU-LAC Digital Alliance, brought together over 150 senior government representatives from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), the European Union (EU) and its Member States, as well as civil society, academia, and private sector. The main purpose was to identify concrete areas to advance digital cooperation between both regions.

During the inauguration of the event, Félix Férnandez-Shaw, Director for Latin America, the Caribbean and Relations with all Overseas Countries and Territories of the European Com-mission’s DG-INTPA, highlighted a core guiding principle for the collaborative efforts of the Alliance: “We all think that technology should serve people and not the other way around.” His inaugural words followed those of Saul Kattan, Presidential Adviser on Digital Transformation in Colombia, and Miguel González Gullón, Head of the AECID Training Center in Cartagena.

A total of five high-level policy dialogues on Artificial Intelligence (AI), data governance, digital government, inclusive connectivity, and cybersecurity, were held, analyzing common challenges and opportunities in these areas, exchanging best practices and lessons learned. As a result, representatives identified the following joint areas for further collaboration: alignment of cybersecurity frameworks, implementation of innovative policies and strategies to achieve inclusive and secure connectivity, development of interoperable digital identity mechanisms, improved free and safe flows of data, and the adoption of strategies and policies to mitigate the risks of AI while seizing its potential opportunities. Another important step for further collaboration has been the determination of co-leading partnerships between the EU, EU Member States and LAC countries in the five thematic areas.

The EU-LAC Digital Alliance Days underlined the political determination of the partner countries to collaborate closely on key digital matters through shared dialogue and joint initiatives, fostering a human-centric digital transformation in both regions. In this context, the event marked an important milestone in the strengthening of the bi-regional digital partnership following the endorsement of a Joint Declaration at the third EU-CELAC Summit in July 2023 towards the next EU-CELAC Summit, to be held in Colombia in 2025. Moreover, a first follow-up dialogue on cybersecurity in February 2024 will be hosted by the Dominican Republic, with follow-up dialogues on connectivity and digital inclusion, data governance and e-governance taking place later in the year.

As a critical component to delivering the ambitions of the Global Gateway in Latin America and the Caribbean, the EU-LAC Digital Alliance forms part of the EU offer to build and boost trusted and sustainable connections with partner countries. The policy dialogue component of the TEI is co-financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).