World Summit on the Information Society: Tunis 2005
Source: APC
Some months after the heat and dust settled on the Tunisian skyline, APC has come up with its evaluation of what the four-year World Summit on the Information Society could hold out for people on the planet. There are some positive signs emerging from WSIS, it suggests. But unless active steps are taken to ensure that vested interests don't take over, and local opportunities are created, all hope and optimism could be rather misplaced. [see more]
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The second phase of the World Sumit on the Information Society (WSIS) took place in Tunis from 16 to 18 November 2005. While heated debates on the future of the Internet were taking place inside of the police-surrounded conference venue, citizens' demonstrations reclaiming the host country's compliance with international human rights agreements were being severly repressed in downtown Tunis.

The Tunis Summit, which was supposed to give an answer to unresolved issues that emerged during the first phase of the WSIS in 2003 in Geneva - in particular the democratization of the Internet governance system and the leverage of funding for the development of information and communication in the South - was closed with mixed emotions.

WSIS outcomes express good intentions but in no way provide concrete mechanisms to address the disparities in access to information and communication in developed and developing countries. The gap between what civil society organizations aimed for the second phase of the Summit (expressed in civil society's declaration at the end of the WSIS first phase) and the real outcomes of the official negotiations is almost as wide as the so-called digital divide between the North and the South.

However, some achievements were reached in the process. In particular, when looking back into the past and considering the context in which this Summit was originally conceived. Some progress can be identified, for example, in terms of civil society participation, in the perspective towards the role of public and private investment in information and communication, in the opening of the debate on Internet governance policies to multiple actors and, most importantly, in the shift of perspective from a market-oriented and technology-centered information society towards a stronger awareness on the role of information and communication infrastructures and capacities for human development. Taking into account the lack of expectations that the WSIS process gathered in its origins and its strong market orientation, the language included in the documents can be considered as a small victory and civil society organizations involved in the process should further their lobbying actions to make sure that this step is just the beginning of a walk in the right direction.

The opportunity for the "people-centred" and "development-oriented" information society envisioned in the Geneva Declaration of Principles might still be at reach after the second phase of the WSIS. For it to be achievable in the near future, nevertheless, WSIS commitments must be put into motion with no delay in the form of concrete actions by the international community.

Choike's in-depth report on the WSIS process, including the Geneva phase

News and reports during the Tunis Summit, in Choike's 'Events' section

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Up-to-date current affairs information.
Fri Jul 21 2006
UN creates Information Society Group (UNGIS)
Fuente: ITU

In-depth reports
Detailed reports on key issues
World Summit on the Information Society - WSIS
An opportunity to build an equitable information society.
NGO web sites
Communication Rights in the Information Society - CRIS
CRIS is a campaign to ensure that communication rights are central to the information society and to the upcoming World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

Official web site

WSIS Tunis 2005

Summit outcomes


Beyond the dust and heat: APC looks at Tunis and Geneva in perspective (APC)

WSIS: The beginning of a global information society discourse (IT for Change)

WSIS and the struggle to bridge the digital divide: A lack of commitments

Where to next? (Heinrich Boell Foundation)

An assessment of the WSIS outcomes (Internet & Public Policy Project)

WSIS is over, but the debate has just begun (PANOS)

Intellectual Property issues kept off WSIS agenda (Intellectual Property Watch)

Preparatory process

Group of Friends of the Chair (GFC) (ITU)

WSIS II Preparatory Process (Choike)

Financing ICTs

Task Force on Financial Mechanisms (TFFM)

Digital Solidarity Fund

Financing ICT4D - Insights from Initiatives in India

Finance of information and communication technologies for development (ICTD) at Prepcom 2 (APC)

Dispute over financing ICTs steps up (Heinrich-Böll-Foundation)

Concerns about Task Force on Financial Mechanisms (Choike)

Task Force on Financing Mechanisms had final meeting (Heinrich-Böll-Foundation / CONGO)

UN ICT Task Force Global Forum on Financing Mechanisms

Previews on Financial Mechanisms Taskforce (

Financing the information society in the South: a global public goods perspective (Choike)

Digital Solidarity "WSIS" (ITU)

Internet Governance

Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG)

Internet Governance: The state of play (Internet Governance Project)

WSIS Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus response to the WGIG Report

Internet Governance group wraps up third meeting (South-North Development Monitor (SUNS))

Internet governance debate: civil society can make the real difference (APC)

What to do about ICANN: a proposal for structural reform (Internet Governance Project)

Who rules the internet? Understanding ICANN (PANOS)

The Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG): the beginning (APC)

ICANN Meeting - Cape Town

Organizations involved in Internet standards

DiploFoundation: Internet Governance

Governance of the Internet

CPSR: Internet Governance

Digital Governance Initiative

Reframing Internet Governance discourse: Fifteen baseline propositions (ITU)

WGIG will reassess -or reassert?- governments' role in Internet (ICANN Watch)

Internet Governance Project (IGP)

Internet governance and the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (APC)

UNESCO Position Statement on Internet Governance

Global Forum on Internet Governance

Working Group on Internet Governance is Shaping Up

The fight for freedom of expression in Tunisia

WSIS: Civil society open letter to Kofi Annan (Citizen's Summit on the Information Society)

Citizens' Summit on the Information Society calls for support in the face of political pressure (Citizens' Summit on the Information Society)

WSIS: Human rights solidarity action by international civil society organisations (Choike)

Violence breaks out before Internet summit (ZD Net)

Statement of the Civil Society Media Caucus

Women's Statement on Tunisian Human Rights situation (

The citizens summit is dead – long live the citizens summit! (Heinrich Boell Foundation)

Tunisian government obstructs civil society events (Heinrich Boell Foundation)

Tunisia and the World Summit on Information Society (International Federation for Human Rights)

Tunisia: Serious concerns for WSIS (IFEX)

Tunisian Human Rights League allowed to speak at WSIS (Heinrich Böll Foundation)

Resolution of the tunisian independent civil society (IRIS)

The state of human rights in Tunisia, host of the next WSIS (APC)

Civil society participation

Civil society statement on the WSIS: "Much more could have been achieved" (Heinrich Boell Foundation)

The close of WSIS: The civil society verdict (APC WSIS Blog)

Civil Society and the preparations for WSIS 2005 (Heinrich-Böll-Foundation)

Citizens’ Summit on the Information Society (CSIS)

Towards Tunis 2005

PrepComm-3 closes in disarray (Heinrich Böll Foundation)

EU publishes Strategy Paper for second Phase of WSIS (Heinrich Böll Foundation)

North America Caucus meeting

European / North American WSIS Civil Society Meeting

Regime conflicts at the WSIS (EMPA Swiss Federal Laboratories)

Report on the Transition Period between phase 1 and 2

Positioning for second summit phase has begun (Heinrich-Böll-Foundation)

ICT Development Agenda

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