Brussels, 01 Jun 2004
Leaders from the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean have agreed to launch a science and technology partnership with a view to encouraging collaboration within the EU's Framework Programmes for research.
The pledge was made at an EU-Latin America and Caribbean summit that took place in Mexico on 28 and 29 May.
'Considering the importance of science and technology for the economic and social development of our countries, and guided by the outcome of the ministerial meetings and of the bi-regional working group on scientific and technological cooperation, we agree to launch a partnership in science and technology with a view to including Latin America and the Caribbean as a target region for the EU Framework Programmes,' reads the Declaration of Guadalajara. The move is intended to contribute to 'deepening and developing bi-regional links and encouraging mutual participation in research programmes.'
Participants spoke of creating an 'EU-LAC Knowledge Area', which should reinforce scientific collaboration, as well as cooperation on higher education, innovation and information and communication technologies (ICTs).
Work has already begun on the creation of an EU-LAC Common Area of Higher Education, and participants agreed to extend the 2002 to 2004 Action Plan on this endeavour until 2008. The leaders' declaration invites ministers to meet this year in order to design programmes, projects and actions for the period up until 2008, and specifies that they should take into account proposals made by higher education institutions and university associations.
The EU, Latin American and Caribbean leaders agreed that bridging the digital divide should be a priority, and made a commitment to developing the necessary regulatory frameworks and enhancing the development of infrastructure and applications.
Participants also agreed to investigate the possibility of closer cooperation on satellite navigation, citing its potential benefits to users worldwide.
The summit also saw a commitment by the regions' leaders to explore new ways of producing energy, possibly focusing on methods involving hydrogen and fuel cells. The conclusions also call for an investigation into ways in which joint research projects in this field can be undertaken.
The next EU-LAC summit will take place in Vienna, Austria, in May 2006. To access the Declaration of Guadalajara, please visit: http://ue.eu.int/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pr essData/en/er/80644.pdf