Joint Statement China-CELAC Cooperation Forum on Digital Technology to Combat COVID-19
2021/02/06

We, the representatives of the People's Republic of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Countries, on February 2, 2021 (February 3, Beijing time) held the China-CELAC Cooperation Forum on Digital Technology to Combat COVID-19 aiming to promote exchanges between China and the CELAC countries in the field of digital technologies, with a view to strengthening international cooperation in response to the pandemic, and joining hands to meet the challenges associated to it.

1. We are deeply concerned about the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, both China and the Community of Latin American and the Caribbean States are facing the arduous tasks of protecting the lives and livelihoods of our peoples, reducing social inequality, combatting the pandemic, and stabilizing the economy. We have therefore come to the realization that it is only through unity, solidarity and multilateral cooperation, that we can more efficiently overcome the difficulties.

2. We affirm the critical role of the relevant UN agencies represented by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in the fight against the pandemic. The WHO has mobilized international health forces to address and respond to the pandemic, established numerous labs, intensify its efforts to establish a global health- monitoring network, and accelerated vaccine research, development and innovation in diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19. From its mandate, the ITU has launched the Global Network Resiliency Platform (REG4COVID) to assist governments and the private sector to improve cyber resilience, share information, experiences and knowledge about digital security to strengthen trust in the digital environment and ensure the normal operation of networks and telecommunications services throughout the pandemic.

3. We recognize that the pandemic crisis has highlighted the fundamental benefits of the use of digital technologies to respond to the challenges posed by the pandemic, conduct everyday activities and restore economic growth. China commends the open attitude adopted by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, in capacity to do so, to use digital means to prevent and control the pandemics well as to undertake international anti-pandemic cooperation. The Community of Latin America and Caribbean States appreciates China's notable achievements in using ICTs to address challenges posed by the pandemic in terms of prevention and regulation efforts while advancing in economic and social development.

4. We will work to strengthen cooperation between China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Countries in the use of digital technologies to combat the pandemic. In particular, the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean appreciate the willingness of China to share its experiences in the use of digital technologies for pandemic monitoring and analysis; virus traceability; prevention, control and treatment; resource allocation, and other related areas. We will work together to advance efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic: promote economic recovery, and strive for the achievement of new partnerships of equality, mutual benefit, innovation, openness and benefiting the people in the new era.

5. We note that information and communication technologies and new infrastructures related to them can play a key role in addressing and responding to the challenges posed by the pandemic. We encourage the advancement of new infrastructure construction, tapping into the potential of digital technologies, the promotion of research and innovation in emerging technologies, and support an open, free, secure, fair, equitable, and non-discriminatory international environment for global digital development, while addressing the challenges related to personal privacy, data protection, intellectual property rights, and information security, that contributes to the responsible, lawful and peaceful use of cyberspace and the balance between data flow and privacy protection. We reaffirm the role of digital technologies for development. We reaffirm the role of data for development and we encourage the development of technologies, digital solutions and policies related to protection and open data platforms; digital innovation, the establishment of research and development institutions, and the use of data science to enable better decision making and predictive analysis. We agree to the further promotion of exchanges between enterprises and technology communities in the post- pandemic era and to foster new opportunities for digital development.

The video conference was attended by the representatives of the following countries: China, Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela.

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