The first one in the series of regional conferences during the first phase of the WSIS was the African conference which took place in Mali in May 2002. Emphasis there was put on the Digital Divide and the use of information and communication for development, but also the preservation of the African cultural heritage. The prime aim of the Paneuropean regional conference, which took place half a year later in November 2002, was "E-Inclusion", meaning that all members of society should be enabled to enjoy the opportunities of the information society. However the security of the information net and "cyber-terrorism" took over as focal points of the debate, as well as the emphasis on "Public-Private-Partnerships" - a barely disguised form of privatisation of public services.
The Asian regional conference in Tokio allowed the most far-reaching participation of civil society to date. The main thematic issues here were cultural and linguistic diversity, social aspects of the information society and universal access to broadband technology. The West-Asian conference as well had a commitment to enable broad participation of civil society and the business community. A delegate reported of demands for the establishment of information as a human right, for poverty reduction, as well as of the need for a peaceful environment for the development of civil society. A delegate of the Arab League emphasised the dialogue of cultures, eGovernment solutions and network security. Once more, security also represented a major issue on a sub-regional conference of the CIS states. However the major challenge for the region, according to a Russian delegate, lies in the implementation of universal access to ICTs for the general public.
The national component was particularly emphasised on the Latin American Conference in the Dominican Republik. Country-specific characteristics should be considered in the debate on the information society: In addition to global programmes, national strategies should deal with the development of information and communication solutions.