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Tightening ties: BELLA's terrestrial connectivity between Brazil, Argentina and Chile was officially launched

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The connectivity of the terrestrial section of the BELLA Programme (Building the Europe Link to Latin America) between Porto Alegre (Brazil), Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Santiago (Chile), was officially inaugurated this Wednesday, January 26, in an event held virtually with the participation of authorities from the European Union (EU), governments of the participating countries and of the national research and education networks (NRENs) in Latin America.

The launch ceremony was attended by the EU Ambassador in Chile, León De La Torre, the Deputy Director General of the EU's DG International Partnerships (INTPA), Myriam Ferran, the Deputy Director General of the EU's DG Connect, Thomas Skordas, the Secretary of Innovation at the Ministry of Science and Technology of Brazil, Paulo Alvim, the Director of the National Agency for Research and Development of Chile (ANID), Aisén Etcheverry, the EU Ambassador in Brazil, Ignacio Ybañez, the EU Ambassador in Argentina, Amador Sánchez Rico, the Executive Director of RNP, Nelson Simões, the Executive Director of REUNA, Paola Arellano, the Director of the Interinstitutional Laboratory of e-Astronomy (LIneA) in Brazil, Luiz Nicolaci da Costa, the manager of the Copernicus Program in Chile, Florencio Utreras, and the Executive Director of RedCLARA, Luis Eliécer Cadenas.

The inauguration of the connectivity represented a historic milestone for the development of science, education, technology and innovation on Latin America and its relationship with Europe. The stretch in question has 6,070 km of terrestrial telecommunication infrastructure, with capacities of up to 600 Gbps that will benefit more than 1,550 university campuses and research centers in Chile and Brazil, leaving the route ready for the future connection of Argentine institutions. This new connectivity will also bring many benefits to the Copernicus Programme in Chile and to astronomical research in Brazil.

In his opening speech, Luis Eliécer Cadenas compared BELLA to a digital embrace between the countries. “I like to imagine that this is an embrace that strengthens our ties in all areas, including, through RedCLARA and its members, science, technology, education and innovation, all fundamental for the economic and social development of our societies”, celebrated the Director of RedCLARA.

The Deputy Director General of the EU's DG International Partnerships (INTPA) (BELLA-T's co-financing institution), Myriam Ferran, described the alliance between the European Union and Latin America through BELLA as a model to follow: “We share not only the same values, but the challenges and goals of this digital age. We will work side by side for a digital society and economy that puts the human being at the center. We believe that the digital is the key to promoting innovation and for that reason we are very grateful to RedCLARA and the Latin American NRENs for having embraced the challenge with us”.

In the opinion of Nelson Simões, Director of RNP, the success of BELLA was only possible due to the joint effort between NRENs, national governments and the European Union: “This infrastructure would not be possible only with national academic networks. These networks became relevant because they were able to materialize and demonstrate the results of public policies. Without our governments investing in quality education and collaborative research, there would be no emerging technology or organization capable of advancing science and education for all”.

Simões also attributed the project's success to academic networks' investments in internalizing their countries and, in a great portion, to the collaborators who develop and make their technical skills available along the way. “Thanks to our extraordinary teams, we were able to share, together with GÉANT and RedCLARA, the construction and formation of BELLA-T and integrate, as never before, communities from Europe to Latin America”, he stated.

For the EU Ambassador in Argentina, Amador Sánchez Rico, BELLA will allow the country, once it has joined the Programme, to advance in initiatives in artificial intelligence, blockchain and IoT, in addition to climate sciences, health and telemedicine. The executive director of the Chilean NREN, REUNA, Paola Arellano, highlighted the importance of the new connection for her country and for the region: "Latin America and Chile, in particular, are huge natural laboratories; for example, Chile hosts 75% of the world's astronomical observatories. That's why BELLA is essential in bringing people, institutions, and countries together, sharing knowledge, facilitating access to resources, transforming education and contributing to economic and human development".

Among the observation projects that will benefit from the new connectivity is the Copernicus Programme, whose head in Chile, Florencio Utreras, was also part of the launch, presenting an overview of the project and reaffirming the importance of BELLA for greenhouse gas monitoring initiatives, movement of glaciers, forest fires, red tides, volcanic activities, among others: “The work of monitoring the land is enormous and when there are emergencies, information must be sent quickly. We can't put them on a hard drive and mail them; we need fast networks and BELLA comes to help us with that.”

For Luis Eliécer Cadenas, the inauguration marks an important moment in the history of cooperation between countries and continents, but collaboration must continue to exist. "Above the digital capability we have the people, the human work, the values ​​of collaboration and cooperation that have really transform BELLA into what the project was created to be. We need to keep collaborating, the work is just beginning", concluded Cadenas.

ABOUT BELLA

The BELLA Programme addresses the long-term interconnectivity needs of research and education communities in Europe and Latin America. This is being achieved through two complementary and interdependent actions that will significantly increase the capacity for joint collaboration of researchers and academics from both regions. They are BELLA-S (its underwater part, between Fortaleza, in Brazil, and Sines, in Portugal) and BELLA-T.

For more information about the BELLA Programme, please visit https://bella-programme.redclara.net/

To watch the broadcast of the launch ceremony, please access the RedCLARA channel on Youtube.

*Photo: Luis Eliécer Cadenas, Paola Arellano, León de la Torre and Florencio Utreras met at the facilities of the EU in Chile. (María José López - RedCLARA)

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

BELLA receives funding from the European Union through the Horizon 2020 program under grant agreement number 731505 - DG CNECT (BELLA-S1); DG INTPA, under number LA / 2016 / 376-534 (BELLA-T), and DG DEFIS.

Contact

For more information about BELLA please contact:

Europe: info@geant.org

Latin America: redclara_comunica@redclara.net

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