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Colombia: Fourth BELLA II Strategic Dialogue on Meaningful Connectivity

Colombia: Fourth BELLA II Strategic Dialogue on Meaningful Connectivity

How to facilitate and promote the participation and co-investment of digital ecosystem actors, and how to apply the capabilities offered by the BELLA II project and RedCLARA to promote meaningful connectivity, digital transformation, and socio-economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean were the main questions that guided the fourth BELLA II Strategic Dialogue, which took place in Cartagena, Colombia, on November 29.

The meeting, attended by more than 50 representatives of governments, connectivity providers, companies, universities, research centers, financial institutions, and international cooperation agencies, was held within the framework of the European Union-Latin America and Caribbean Digital Alliance Conference, which took place from 27 to 29 November and resulted in the identification of new areas of bi-regional cooperation in the digital sector.

"The BELLA II dialogues help connect capacities, technologies, and resources to take digital transformation to the next level. For RedCLARA, the participation of all stakeholders in the digital ecosystem is essential to identify and promote co-investment projects that have a high social impact, contribute to the creation of new infrastructure, and reduce the digital divide," emphasized Luis Eliécer Cadenas, Executive Director of RedCLARA.

Cadenas explained that the reduction of the digital divide implies not only improving access to the Internet and technology but also developing the capacity to use this technology and higher quality in the way it is used so that it can generate economic growth. This is precisely what BELLA II seeks to promote not only significant connectivity, i.e. high capacity, quality, and security, but also connectivity with meaning, which translates into an impact on regional sustainable development.

The Executive Director of RedCLARA, the organization coordinating the implementation of BELLA II,  also explained the great potential and objectives of this project, funded by the European Union, which aims to consolidate and expand a digital ecosystem of science, technology, education, and innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean, enabling relationships and exchanges between companies, research centers, educational institutions, and national research and education networks.

Cadenas celebrated Colombia's entry into BELLA II through its advanced national network, RENATA, which was also announced during the Digital Alliance conference. This connection will allow Colombia to participate in a digital infrastructure that, through RedCLARA, already connects Ecuador, Chile, Brazil, and Latin America directly to Europe, and that, in the coming months and until the end of 2026, will seek to connect Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, and the countries of Central and South America and the Caribbean.

During the dialog, experiences and possibilities of using the capabilities of BELLA II and RedCLARA for the development of applications with social impact were also presented, e.g. by the winning group of the BELLA Hackathon: Copernicus Innovation Development.

The group presented the "Application developed in Google Earth Engine for the visualization of agroclimatic variables and their overlap with polygons of interest", a visualization platform developed by selecting the ERA5 - Land Monthly Aggregated - ECMWF Climate Reanalysis product from the wide catalog of products available from the Copernicus program. 


BELLA II receives funding from the European Union through the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), under agreement number 438-964 with DG-INTPA, signed in December 2022. The implementation period of BELLA II is 48 months.


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