"Any mechanism for the period following Geneva that does not closely associate civil society and other stakeholders is not only unacceptable in principle, it is also doomed to fail", claim civil society organizations in this statement made at the end of the preparatory process for the WSIS. November 14, 2003.
The third meeting of the Preparatory Commitee (PrepCom3) for the World Summit of the Information Society (WSIS) took place from 12-26 September in Geneva. It was supposed to be the last and most important official preparatory conference before the WSIS summit takes place in December, but it was suspended and reconvened 10-14 November and will continue on 7-9 December. The draft Declaration of Principles and Action Plan were adopted by the PrepCom plenary only "as a basis for future negotiations". With large sections of the text still in square brackets and drafts constantly being changed in intransparent ways, the documents are in a state of disarray.
The decision to reconvene for two further meetings of PrepCom3 was taken against the concerns of a number of developing countries whose delegations pointed out that they lacked the financial resources to send their delegates to Geneva twice in such a short time. They had suggested to instead reconvene for one week directly before the December summit.
The failure of PrepCom3 makes it very likely that the December summit will not come up with a final Declaration but rather with a preliminary paper outlining both common positions and differences. Such a paper might then lay out the foundations on which further debates would take place.
The civil society plenary agreed to start drafting work on an own declaration, separate from and in addition to the official government declaration. This was the latest move in an increasingly critical view by civil society of summit processes and particularly of summit outcomes, as reflected in widespread frustration with the latest versions of the Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action.
This page includes day by day reports of the PrepCom3, as well as links to the latest version of the Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action. It also includes links to the contributions submitted by governments, international organizations, civil society and private sector representatives.
In this statement, civil society organizations participating in the WSIS process express their feeling about the lack of political will from the governments to agree on a common vision on the information society. November 14, 2003.
"The CRIS campaign, while recognising the progress made by the WSIS in ensuring the participation of all stakeholders, including Civil Society, deplores the absence, removal or dilution of positions on issues that are core to communication rights, in particular the sections on Community Media, Intellectual Property Rights, Internet governance, Information Security and funding."
"If governments continue to exclude our principles, we will not lend legitimacy to the final official WSIS documents. (...) In the WSIS process, we have seen that, thus far, our main principles are not reflected in the results." (26 September 2003)
Civil Society organizations present in Geneva for PrepCom 3 of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) have expressed stupor and indignation of the appointment by Tunisian President Ben Ali of General Habib Ammar as President of the preparatory committee of the second phase of the Summit to be held in Tunisia in 2005.
Site maintained by the Conference of NGOs in consultative relationship with the UN (CONGO) and the International Conference Volunteers (ICV). Includes news, information and statements produced by the caucuses and thematic families of the Civil Society.
Includes news about the participation of the Civil Society in the WSIS Process and links to the main documents produced by the diferent caucuses and working groups. The site is run by members of the German WSIS Civil Society Coordinating Group.
This website was prepared as an index of the listservs for the various civil society working groups involved in the World Summit on the Information Society. The archives of the discussions taking place in the regional and thematic caucuses can be reached from this page.
The issue of administering Internet domain names should be discussed at next month's world information summit in Geneva, "otherwise the world continues to be governed by California law", says Southafrican president Thabo Mbeki.
The founder of Datamation Consultants, Chetan Sharma speaks to OneWorld South Asia about information society and its impact on the developing world. He says "It is a pity that the government has not understood the implications of the WSIS. As with earlier UN summits – Rio and Beijing - the outcome of WSIS will have a major influence on the policy and attitudes of governments, multi-lateral organisations and the civil society. The market can also be expected to pick up vital cues and thus be influenced substantially."
Everyone wants to bridge the information and telecommunications divide -governments, the private sector and civil society- but with less than four weeks to go before the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), agreement on how to tackle the issue remains elusive.
A "plan of action" being prepared for the December World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) championed wide adoption of open source software in June. The latest form of the plan of action drafted at the latest preparatory conference to the summit in Geneva, however, replaces the open source endorsement with a recommendation to "encourage research and promote awareness among all stakeholders of the possibilities offered by different software models, and the means of their creation, including proprietary, open source and free software, in order to increase competition, freedom of choice and affordability, and to enable all stakeholders to evaluate which solution best meets their requirements."
"At September's Prepcom-3, the final preparatory conference before the summit, government representatives and members of the private and civil sectors, including the media, met to agree on final drafts of two core documents, the Declaration of Principles and the Action Plan. Despite some progress, they failed to produce documents ready for signing at the world's first Information Society summit."
The final preparatory conference for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) demonstrated all the way through to its last sessions Friday that the government representatives were communicating on different frequencies amongst themselves and with civil society.
Members of Civil Society, representing NGOs from around the world, could walk out of the preparatory meetings of the World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva. A walk-out is only one of several actions under consideration to protest against the way governments have ignored Civil Society input at the third Preparatory Committee for the WSIS.
Difficulties were to be expected from a meeting that for the first time sought to articulate a common vision of the Information Society, says Adama Samassekou. But the complete mess that was produced at PrepCom3, was a bit too much even for the tireless Prepcom-President of WSIS.
The delicate balance between governments, the private sector and civil society, achieved for the purpose of organising an international conference on information and communication technologies, appears to be teetering as a result of irreconcilable differences.