University of Bremen
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was held by the United Nations to draft a programmatic declaration for the information age. The involvement of civil society organisations (CSOs) in the drafting process was innovative and led to WSIS becoming an especially instructive case in order to assess the potential of civil society participation in global governance. The author analyses the preconditions that were provided for CSOs to participate within this policy process and how it influenced the policy output.
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) - a conference organized by the United Nations and aimed at discussing and making decisions on issues related to information, communication and development - emerged within the framework of the new millennium and the growing "informatization" of societies, particularly in the developed world. One of the main commitments undertaken by countries with regards to the WSIS process was to achieve equitable access to and enjoyment of the benefits provided by new information and communication technologies (ICTs) in all regions and social sectors. The Summit was held in two phases (Geneva 2003 and Tunis 2005), with a period of two years between them, for the purpose of drafting and putting forward the documents that would outcome from the process. (See "The long and winding road towards Tunis")
The WSIS process has showed several peculiarities from its early beginning. In the first place, due to the fact that its main purpose - unlike most of the world summits organized by the United Nations - was not to achieve a global agreement aimed at overcoming a global catastrophe (such as hunger, overpopulation, gender inequities, etc.) but rather to promote consensus in order to disseminate and ensure access to the benefits provided by the new social model known as "information society" to all regions. Therefore, the WSIS appears as an instance of decision-making aimed at addressing the challenges posed by this social model, such as adequate financing sources for its development or control over global Internet resources. The Summit has also contributed new elements with regards to modalities of participation. Through the implementation of a "multistakeholder" format, an increased level of participation was allowed for all sectors involved, including the private sector and civil society. Thus, the civil society organizations taking part in the process had to take up the challenge posed by this new situation.
With respect to the results of this long process - although it is still too early for a concluding analysis - there is certain consensus with regards to the fact that the Summit has given global visibility to key issues for human development, such as the extremely high inequities in terms of ICT access and use between the North and the South. However, one of the most criticized items within the WSIS process was the lack of capacity to draw up firm plans of action, aimed at implementing the measures proposed in the vague declarations and commitments resulting from the event, as well as clear and effective post-WSIS mechanisms for the purpose of its implementation and follow-up. In this context, no sound agreements were established with regards to the financing of ICT programmes in the least developed countries - one of the key challenges of the Summit. Civil society members taking part in the process have demanded the need to incorporate a clearer approach focused on public policies in the area of ICTs for development.
Internet governance was maybe one of the issues showing advances in terms of negotiations and where the discussion brought up within the WSIS process - beyond specific results - can be regarded as productive. In spite of the fact that no substantial changes were introduced to the current governance system, the commitment to set up a multistakeholder international forum (made up of governments, private sector and civil society) where to discuss policies related to the Internet came as a result of negotiations. Although ICANN’s structure (corporation in charge of managing Internet domain names and IP addresses, supervised by the US Trade Department), remains intact, analysts have acknowledged the creation of the forum as a novel opening up. Civil society taking part in the process has welcomed the initiative, adopting it as a further challenge within its new "decision-maker" role. One of the greatest challenges now is to implement the inter-govermental participation in ICT global governance in an effective and transparent way. (See "Internet governance: Everybody's business in the Information Society")
The evaluations of civil society organizations taking part in the Summit in Tunis seem to be pointing out to an intermediate term as balance of the event. The caution with regards to official results and new participatory measures adopted was coupled with strong demands against the repression of freedom of expression and human rights violations in Tunisia, where cases of violence against activists and foreign journalists participating in the WSIS are a sample of the atmosphere prevailing in the country. Within this context and in view of the pressure exerted by Tunisian authorities, for example, the Citizen Summit on the Information Society - proposed as a civil society side event to the official Summit - had to be cancelled. Recently, civil society has demanded in an open letter to the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, the implementation of a post-WSIS monitoring process in Tunisia, as well as a revision of UN mechanisms for appointing host countries and also for the participation of civil society in world conferences.
Certain atmosphere of disappointment surrounds many of those involved in the process in view of the little results achieved and the expectations that were arisen at the beginning. One of the items on which civil society has been more insistent refers to the follow-up to agreed commitments, that is to say, the shift from rethorical plans of action to the actual practice of actions. Now, the task faced by civil society is to carry out a follow-up to actions taken by governments and international institutions, as well as to have incidence on the new spaces for dialogue - at national, regional and global levels - such as the Internet governance forum.
To sum up, it could be stated that the WSIS poses more questions than solid agreements, in spite of the official promise to turn it into a "summit of solutions". The Tunis Summit has not been vanguardist and in many aspects Geneva commitments and declarations were reaffirmed. Being a four-year decision-making process, more results were indeed expected, although the opening up of spaces for dialogue on fundamental issues, whose results will have to be reviewed later on, should also be highlighted as positive. To be continued...
International Internet Community for Environment, Human Rights, Development and Peace. APC is a major CSO worldwide network in advocating for and facilitating the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) by civil society.
ITeM is a citizens' organization that works for civil society. It carries out information, communication and educational activities at national and international levels on issues related to environment, development and globalization. Uruguay
This statement is presented as the Civil Society’s official contribution to the Summit outcomes. Civil society took a month after the closure of the Tunis Summit to discuss the outcomes and the process of WSIS, and evaluated the experiences and lessons learned in the four years of WSIS I and WSIS II: "We trust governments realize that our participation is vital to achieve a more inclusive and just Information Society." PDF format.
The all-encompassing rhetoric of the multi-stakeholder approach at WSIS and its good performance with regard to conceding access, transparency and inclusion to non-state actors suggest that the summit would be responsive to arguments from civil society and therefore a likely case for a deliberative policy process. However, the impact of CSOs on the policy documents has only been marginal. Despite favourable conditions for CSO participation, WSIS was not as responsive towards civil society arguments as could have been expected.
A lack of global political response to the new situation of a global information society has essentially meant control by the powerful. Such control is often attempted to be masqueraded in different ways for ideological respectability and stays un-challenged by legitimate public policy structures. Working actively for new global political systems that are adequate to the needs of an emerging information society is an important and urgent task.
This article considers why narrow claims for recognition at the WSIS -expressed in the right to freedom of information- eclipsed more expansive claims for both recognition and redistribution in terms of access to ICT infrastructure and content. It draws from feminist insights into the normative dimensions of global social justice after more than two decades of theory and praxis around transnational activism and the challenges of deliberation through difference. PDF format.
In this volume , the Diplo Foundation offers the reader a collection of essays that examines the multistakeholder approach to diplomacy, internet governance, the information society and to conflict resolution from a wide scope of angles, whether diplomatic, academic, socio-cultural or organisational. Various specialists share their practical and research experience and help identify best practices in the field. PDF format.
Faced with the multiple reality of the information era, players in all countries are trying to draw attention to the risks involved, to study and offer alternatives, to live and promote complexity by refusing attempts to reduce everything to a monolithic vision of our future society. This text is included in the book "Word Matters: multicultural perspectives on information societies".
"I didn't attend the first Summit in Geneva... No particular reason to do so and no funds to provide support. Those who did attend indicated that the major and lasting benefit that they saw arising from their attendance at WSIS was the networking opportunities that it afforded. And again, I guess, nothing wrong with this but, but... Hmm... what about this "networking"... who is being networked to whom and for what purpose one might ask", says Michael Gurstein in this article, questioning the participation of civil society organizations in the WSIS process.
In the aftermath of Tunis, a critique of the civil society participation has emerged which constructs the main value of WSIS as one of networking in a closed network of the privileged, that in a self-serving way has perpetuated its existence by advocating for an Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and has lost touch with the grassroots and the issue of bridging the digital divide. While this critique has some merit, it is too partial a view and dismisses the real gains that have been made by civil society participation. Remove civil society from WSIS and there would be no IGF, no new global policy space for considering broad public policy issues affecting the internet, including access to the internet and the digital divide. December 2005.
Civil society representatives from all continents lined up on a panel to deliver a stark closing statement for the WSIS. Even though the speakers made it clear that a more detailed statement will be made available within two weeks, four points were addressed: internet governance, human rights, financing and development, and follow-up. The press conference essentially driven by questions of the audience, revolved around issues of development through ICTs.
The World Summit on the Information Society was important for social movements to help them develop a better understanding of communication issues and it allowed different groups and different struggles to network. Terra Viva asked Sally Burch from the Communication Rights in the Information Society campaign to comment on how the summit helped social movements to mobilise around communications issues.
As the WSIS (World Summit on the Information Society, Tunis, 16-18 November) summit draws to a close, civil society groups are reflecting on the past but also looking at the road ahead. In a gathering organised by the CRIS (Communication Rights in the Information Society) Campaign on Friday afternoon, key participants of the civil society processes of the past 4 years proposed ways of keeping up the pressure and making sure that the visions that were developed around the WSIS process will be implemented. The event highlighted a wide variety of projects that will keep civil society actors busy during the upcoming months and years.
Now that the WSIS has come to an end in Tunis, civil society organisations evaluate their involvement in the process to learn from the experiences made. Several side events of WSIS addressed examples of best practices of civil society participation. In sharing good experiences, while not neglecting challenges, civil society organisations may improve their performance in the future. WSIS is not the end, but the starting point for the implementation process in which civil society is supposed to play a crucial role as partner to governments and the private sector.
This issue of the WACC Media and Gender Monitor asks five gender and ICT activists from different regions of the world, all of whom have been actively involved in the WSIS process, to assess the opportunities and challenges that the WSIS has presented for gender advocates and ultimately questions what impact the WSIS process will have on the promotion of gender equality worldwide.
The high cost of international Internet connectivity has a negative impact on the ability of citizens and institutions in developing countries to access the Internet. This in turn has negative consequences on developing country participation in the global economy and ‘information society’. It is possible to do something about it by accelerating the restructuring of
the communications sector, supporting the establishment of regional internet exchange points in the developing world and forging a legally binding agreement through the WTO Doha Development Agenda as a development-related negotiations issue.
There is just no way to predict the outcomes of political debates. And so it has been a surprise to just about everyone involved in the process that the WSIS meeting decided to set up the Internet Governance Forum but also decided to leave oversight in the hands of the USA. So what happened at the WSIS? Did the USA“win”, as the US media seemed to have portrayed? I’ll let you draw your own conclusions at the end of this.
There is a bit of confusion in the interpretation of the results from the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) which had its second phase ended in Tunis in November, 2005. For some nothing changed, but the truth is that the WSIS process as a whole has led to several important gains. Actually, the entire WSIS process during these five years (the initial proposal for a summit was born in 2000) has contributed enormously to make the general public aware of relevant ICT-related concepts and actions for social inclusion and human development.
The basic problem posed by WSIS was the role of national governments and national sovereignty in global Internet governance. That conflict remains completely unresolved by the WSIS document. The new Internet Governance Forum is a real victory for the civil society actors, but we still don’t know whether this Forum will be based on true peer-peer based interactions among governments, business and civil society, or whether it will reserve special policy making functions to governments, says Milton Mueller.
The final text on Internet Governance was agreed at the World Summit on the Information Society. The two quick sounds bites are that (1) the US and the US based Internet Corporation for Domain Names and Numbers (ICANN) retain, for now, control over the most important aspects of the global Internet Domain Name System (DNS), and (2) the conversation over this issue and a surprisingly broader governance agenda is continuing, under the United Nations. The Tunis resolution will create a new "multi-stakeholder" Internet Governance Forum (IGF). This new entity will include governments, various UN agencies, businesses and civil society.
The WSIS kicks off Wednesday with a compromise document approved unanimously after several months of fruitless negotiations. The document was hailed late Tuesday with a half-hearted standing ovation. The discontent arises because the Internet status quo has been maintained, allowing the US- based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to continue as the main governing body of the global computer network. The outcome is likely to further upset civil society groups who have found themselves frustrated by intimidating security measures that have isolated foreign delegates, journalists and non-governmental organisations from local groups.
Civil society groups have reacted with disappointment at the decision to leave control of the Internet in the hands of the United States. An Internet governance forum has been set up to debate the future structure of the net. It will include civil society actors and businesses, but its decisions will not be binding. NGOs seemed divided on the benefits of a forum like this.
Civil society will now have a formal role to play in Internet governance through the newly set up Internet Governance Forum. It is considering who will represent it at the forum that will advise the ICANN, the U.S.-based non-profit private organisation currently managing the Internet. The digital divide can be overcome only if the Internet is seen as public good, and governments must set the rules for the private sector to get engaged, says Anita Gurumurthy from the Indian non-governmental organisation IT for Change.
APC has participated extensively in the Internet Governance proccess at the World Summit on the Information Society. Out of this participation, and in collaboration with other partners, including members of the WSIS civil society Internet governance caucus, APC has crystallized a set of recommendations with regard to Internet Governance ahead of the final Summit in Tunis in November 2005. PDF format.
This document provides information on the current Internet governance transition processes, discussing some of the approaches being submitted to public discussion, and reviews the final report of the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG). It also provides brief historical and reference information on the current global governance system specifically created for the Internet -in this text referred to as the ICANN system. In addition, it presents a review of the perspectives on Internet governance from the point of view of the organized groups of civil society organizations who have been involved in the corresponding discussions both within and outside the WGIG. PDF format.
A laptop that costs only $100 emerged as one of the biggest technology stories of the WSIS. The laptop was proudly displayed at the UN Development Program stand, with the slogan “One laptop per child.” By 2007, five to ten million of these laptops will have been shipped to developing countries. What is not known is whether this project will mark a new phase in the spread of knowledge, or whether hundreds of millions of children will become slaves to their little green boxes instead of playing in the backyard.
With the focus at Tunis largely on who controls the Net, and the far-from-sophisticated control mechanisms of Tunisian society, the issue of what the Net can - and is - doing for the excluded in the planet might have taken a back seat.
As the UN-convened World Summit on the Information Society ends, there are still too many pilots hovering around, looking for landing space. In fact, it is uncertain when - or whether - some of these pilots will ever touch the ground. For they are the creations of development donors or well-meaning civil society groups, many completely detached from the real world.
It is necessary to see the emerging information society in a political economy framework, from the point of view of development. The starting point for this exercise is to create a new theory of ICT for development, or an "information society for the South", that gives the historical, the social and the political sufficient space alongside the economic. It is important that powerful South-South alliances are built, with participation from across sub-national and local governments as well as traditional civil society and grassroots organizations, for evolving a new paradigm of a development-oriented information society for the South. PDF format.
This report reviews the issue of financing ICTs in developing countries at the WSIS II second preparatory meeting held in Geneva between 17-25 February 2005, where the final report of the Task Force on Financial Mechanisms for ICTD was presented for discussion and negotiation. The various presentations an debates showed that ICT financing is usually an opaque matter as well as an intensely ideological issue.
Bread for All and Comunica-ch, the swiss civil society platform for the information society, released the publication "Who pays for the Information Society. Challenges and Issues on financing the Information Society." This booklet is in two parts. The first part is a critique of the debates and work on financing conducted in the WSIS process. The second part focuses on proposals and aims to give a certain number of inputs to the WSIS debate, especially on the issue of international public financing or official development aid. PDF format.
The mainstream ICT financing mechanisms' debate should pay a great deal of attention to the needs of the poor and the question of "who is being served for what purpose" should be addressed when defining financial mechanisms and strategies. Financing ICT with a focus on poverty means scaling up ICT investment from the level of pilot projects to their integration in government services strategies - notably agriculture, education - and in support of the Millennium Development Goals. Such a spirit would be important to consider access to information and communication as a public good and move forward the Digital Solidarity Agenda agreed in the context of the WSIS. PDF format.
The WSIS has prompted negotiations geared to obtain an international commitment which would allow the benefits of the information society to be extended worldwide by 2015. The discussions centered on the financial mechanisms to meet these challenges, recognizing the role of information and communication technologies on social and economic development. This document proposes financing strategies for information and communication technologies within the GPG conceptual framework. Several combinations of financial mechanisms are evaluated which could facilitate the growth of international cooperation flows for developing the Information Society in Southern countries. PDF format.
In line with paragraphs 108-109 of the Tunis Agenda, ITU, UNESCO and UNDP will convene multi-stakeholder consultations on implementation at the international level. On the agenda: list of moderators/facilitators on action lines, nature of the coordination process, its inputs, modalities and logistics.
The Tunis Agenda requests the UN SG, in consultation with members of the Chief Executives Board of the UN system (CEB), to establish a UN Group on the Information Society (UNGIS), consisting of the relevant UN bodies and organizations with the mandate to facilitate the implementation of WSIS outcomes. PDF format.
This statement by members of the WSIS-civil society Internet Governance Caucus and submitted for the February 1st, 2006 International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) reform meeting states that, with WSIS follow-up and implementation efforts forthcoming, now would be a particularly appropriate time to make opening up to civil society a central element of the ITU reform.
The "Tunis Agenda for the Information Society" request "the UN Secretary-General, in consultation with members of the UN system Chief Executives Board for coordination (CEB), to establish within the CEB, a UN Group on the Information Society consisting of the relevant UN bodies and organisations with the mandate to facilitate the implementation of WSIS outcomes and to suggest to CEB that, in considering lead agency(ies) of this Group, it takes into consideration the experience of and activities in the WSIS process undertaken by ITU, UNESCO and UNDP".
"We understand that there is a proposal to use the existing ECOSOC functional Commission on Science and Technology for Development for implementation and follow-up of WSIS. In our view, this would represent a retrograde step if were to imply that we see ICTs only as a Technology issue rather than one with far wider socio-political and economic implications", reads this statement made by the Civil Society Working Group on Follow-up during the third meeting of the WSIS Preparatory Committee, in Geneva.
WSIS, which brought together 15,000 representatives from governments, business and civil society groups around the world, shone a spotlight on the host country, Tunisia and its poor human rights record. In "Night in Tunisia", CPJ details numerous incidents in which journalists, human rights defenders and even foreign dignitaries were censored for criticising Ben Ali's repressive rule.
An International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) Tunisia Monitoring Group (TMG) mission of three international non-governmental organisations met with various government representatives and Tunisian civil society members from 18 to 22 April 2006 to express their concern with respect to human rights in Tunisia. The aim of the mission was to monitor freedom of the press, expression, and association, and related human rights issues.
The lack of improvement of the human rights situation in Tunisia has not been the only source of disappointment and concern for human rights groups in relation to WSIS. In its assessment of the Tunis phase, the WSIS Civil Society Human Rights Caucus (HRC) also deplores that the substance of the governments' commitments to human rights has been kept minimal, and that the WSIS process has been characterized by the reign of the arbitrary, says Meryem Marzouki, co-coordinator of the HRC.
Civil society open letter to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in response to the attacks on human rights and freedom of expression that took place in Tunisia on the eve of and during the WSIS: "We believe it is essential that lessons are learnt from what has taken place here this week and we therefore call upon you, the Secretary General of the United Nations, to launch a full investigation into the attacks on human rights and freedom of expression that we have witnessed in Tunisia both in the run-up to and during the World Summit on the Information Society".
The Citizens' Summit on the Information Society (CSIS), planned as a civil society side event of the World Summit on the Information Society (Tunis, 16-18 November), launched its website with a call for solidarity and support. More than 80 international civil society organizations and coalitions have pledged their support and plan to take part in the three-day Citizens Summit, but the venue previously confirmed for the event was withdrawn at the last minute for reasons that CSIS organisers believed to be in response to political pressure from the Tunisian government.
In the days leading up to the official opening of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis, the Tunisian authorities blocked plans to hold an alternative civil society forum, harassed human rights activists, confiscated cameras, insulted and beat people, shut down a website and disrupted meetings at the official summit venue.
Media and freedom of expression groups called, at the conclusion of the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), for a full investigation by the United Nations into attacks on human rights and freedom of expression that took place in Tunisia on the eve of and during the Summit.
During a preparatory meeting in Geneva in September 2005, a coalition of 19 organisations, consisting of international and national Tunisian NGOs, agreed to hold a Citizens’ Summit on the Information Society (CSIS) as a side event to the WSIS (World Summit on the Information Society) in Tunis. However, in the light of events that occurred in Tunis, several international civil society organisations cancelled their side events at the WSIS. This action was not planned in advance and was a direct response to the abnormal circumstances in which the Tunis Summit was taking place.
The Tunisian authorities have done all they can to prevent civil society events outside the official WSIS area. But civil society activists finally succeeded in getting the upper hand against state repression. A press conference to announce the cancellation of the Citizens Summit transformed into a major human rights event and was followed on the next day by a rally by oppositional groups. They denounced the repression against civil society activities in Tunisia and showed strong support to the local human rights groups.
As the WSIS summit draws closer, the Tunisian authorities are continuing to prevent any civil society events taking place outside the summit compound. Recently, Tunisian police blocked the Goethe Institut where a preparation meeting for the Citizens Summit was to take place. The Citizens Summit has been planned as a parallel event to take place in the city centre of Tunis. The idea has been to organise a civil society space, separate from the official summit, for critical debates on the summit themes.
Just days before the United Nations-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society begins in Tunis, Tunisia, watchdog groups are reporting clashes with authorities and violence toward at least one journalist in the North African city of about 10 million people.The groups say the country is unfit to host the international summit because of its track record for censorship. The Tunisian government has earned notoriety for jailing journalists and bloggers accused of reporting false information.
Just days before the WSIS got under way in Tunis last week, United States State Department spokesman Adam Ereli expressed concern about restrictions on freedom of speech and political activity in Tunisia . Over the next few days, the Tunisian government made quite clear that it would not tolerate freedom of expression. This prompted the official US delegation to the United Nations sponsored summit to express some disappointment at the role of the Tunisian government. Interestingly, at the same time as the US decries the human rights situation in the country, Tunisia remains an important ally in the US ‘war on terror’.
The Tunisia Monitoring Group (TMG) is a coalition of 14 organisations that belong to the International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX) network. The TMG monitors free expression violations in Tunisia to focus attention on the country's need to improve its human rights record as the host of the November 2005 World Summit on the Information Society.
Civil Society's Media Caucus at WSIS expresses its indignation over a series of incidents in which Tunisian authorities have hampered the freedom of expression of journalist and their freedom of association as well as that of others attending the Tunis phase of the World Summit on the Information Society.
We, women’s organisations, individuals and networks gathered in Tunis for Phase II of the World Summit on the Information Society, denounce blatant violations of human rights, freedom of expression, access to information and freedom of assembly by the Tunisian government. We demand the Tunisian government to put an end to the human rights violations. It is intolerable that we are experiencing serious violations of basic human rights even as we gather here to shape a just and equitable Information Society.
The second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) took place in Tunis from 16 to 18 November 2005. The Tunis Summit was expected to tackle some of the unresolved issues that emerged during the first phase of WSIS held in Geneva in 2003, in particular, the democratisation of Internet governance and the leveraging of funds for the development of information and communications technologies in the South.
Many have asked for a summary of the outcomes of the Tunis summit, and rumors have spread that the only reference to women or gender included in the official documents consists in the call for gender-disaggregated indicators. This outcome basically mirrors the finding that was prominent at this year's Beijing+10 evaluations: Gender equality and women's empowerment may constitute a normative consensus, but the political will are lacking everywhere.
Now that WSIS is over there are fears that there could be lack of political will on the part of many governments to implement WSIS which require them to open up their information systems. In fact, the civil society is credited for having managed to turn around the WSIS agenda from just discussing ICTs as a technical issue but in relation to people. The civil society managed to bring in controversial issues of human rights, gender, cultural diversity and freedom of expression among others.
Putting information and communication at the service of the poor and reducing the gap that currently separates the “info-rich” from the “info-poor” was initially announced as one of the priority goals of the WSIS. Three years later, however, in the light of the documents adopted and commitments assumed by the heads of state in Geneva and Tunis, one has to ask if this process has genuinely given rise to an agenda and a paradigm for development.
A report by IP3 (Internet & Public Policy Project) presents the main outcomes of the Tunis World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). It states that one of the most important results is the the launch of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The IGF can be thought of as a continuation of the WSIS, since it provides a place for multistakeholder discussion of a very large number of issues. The key question here is whether governments embrace it. PDF format.
The information society is broader than the agenda of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) could ever have hoped to cover. And the resulting non-binding Tunis Declaration has produced little in concrete terms for developing countries. Everyone knew this before the Tunis phase of WSIS even started. So why did some 20,000 delegates bother to turn up? At the end of the day, was it worth it?
Up to an estimated 30,000 people came from around the globe to a high level United Nations sponsored Summit meeting. That WSIS was called to set the goal for everyone in the world to have access to computers and to the Internet is itself an achievement of a high order. However, as regards to Internet governance, the author of this article states that "It was clear from the Tunis Summit that the frustration expressed by governments around the world that was not addressed, will continue to impact Internet governance developments in various ways."
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) concluded Friday night with claims of success by the United Nations, governments and the private sector, but civil society refused to wholeheartedly embrace its outcome.
The papers included in this volume -as well as in-depth research papers on which they are based- were produced in the context of the WSIS Papers project, developed by ITeM and supported by the IDRC. Southern stakeholders need timely and appropriate information to have an active and effective role in global negotiations -such as the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). WSIS Papers was aimed at contributing to the materialization of an Information Society for the South by supporting well informed decision-making during the second phase of the WSIS process. All texts are in PDF format.
The research and briefing papers included in the "WSIS Papers" series are intended to provide valuable input into the WSIS decision-making process. This project is based on the perspective that it is essential that decision-makers and the civil society organizations that are able to have an active role in these discussions (in all and any fora in which they are presented, including WSIS, but also current processes at WIPO, UNESCO, IFIs and the WTO) have timely and appropriate information and analysis about the issues at stake, their impact and the possible alternatives.
These monthly reports are aimed at improving the visibility and accesibility of existing information on key ICT issues, with the goal of fostering Southern participation in the definition and implementation of global ICT policies. Some of these reports are based on research papers produced in the context of the WSIS Papers project and some others are complementary to the findings and proposals included in the papers.