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Saturday, July 11, 2009

World Summit On The Information Society. (2003-21)

The World Summit on the Information Society will be held in two phases. The first phase of WSIS will take place in GENEVA hosted by the Government of Switzerland from 10 to 12 December 2003. The second phase will take place in Tunis hosted by the Government of Tunisia, from 16 to 18 November 2005.
Background:- Resolution 73 of the International Telecommunication Union (Minneapolis, 1998) resolved to instruct the ITU Secretary General to place the question of the holding of a World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) on the agenda of the United Nations Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC now the United Nations System Chief Executive Board - CEB) and to report to the ITU governing body, the Council, on the results of that consultation. In his report to the 1999 session of the Council on that consultation, the Secretary - General indicated that the ACC had reacted positively and that a majority of other organizations and agencies had expressed interest in being associated with the preparation and holding of the Summit. It was decided that the Summit would be held under the high patronage of the UN Secretary-General, with ITU taking the lead role in preparations.In 2001, the ITU Council decided to hold a Summit in two phases with the first phase to be held from 10 to 12 December 2003, in Geneva, Switzerland and the second from 16 to 18 November 2005 in Tunis, Tunisia.
The UN General Assembly Resolution 56/183 endorsed the framework for the Summit adopted by the ITU Council. The Resolution also endorses the leading role of the Union in the Summit and its preparation, in cooperation with other interested organizations and partners.The UN General Assembly Resolution 56/183 further recommended that preparations for the Summit take place through an open-ended intergovernmental Preparatory Committee that would define the agenda of the Summit, decide on the modalities of the participation of other stakeholders in the Summit, and finalize both the draft declaration and the draft plan of action. It invited the ITU to assume the leading managerial role in the Executive Secretariat of the Summit and invited Governments to participate actively in the preparatory process of the Summit and to be represented in the Summit at the highest possible level.In Resolution 56/183 the General Assembly also encouraged contributions from all relevant UN bodies and other intergovernmental organizations, including international and regional institutions, non-governmental organizations civil society and the private sector to actively participate in the intergovernmental preparatory process of the Summit and the Summit itself.
The ChallengeThe global information society is evolving at break neck speed. The accelerating convergence between telecommunications, broadcasting multimedia and information and communication technologies (ICTs) is driving new products and services, as well as ways of conducting business and commerce. At the same time, commercial, social and professional opportunities are exploding as new markets open to competition and foreign investment and participation. The modem world is undergoing a fundamental transformation as the industrial society that marked the 20th century rapidly gives way to the information society of the 21st century. This dynamic process promises a fundamental change in all aspects of our lives, including knowledge dissemination, social interaction, economic and business practices, political engagement, media, education, health, leisure and entertainment. We are indeed in the midst of a revolution, perhaps the greatest that humanity has ever experienced. To benefit the world community, the successful and continued growth of this new dynamic requires global discussion.The OpportunityThe World Summit on the Information Society will provide a unique opportunity for all key stakeholders to assemble at a high-level gathering and to develop a better understanding of this revolution and its impact on the international community. It aims to bring together Heads of State, Executive Heads of United Nations agencies, industry leaders, non-govemrnental organizations, media representatives and civil society in a single high-level event. The roles of the various partners (Member States, UN specialized agencies, private sector and civil society) in ensuring smooth coordination of the practical establishment of the information society around the globe will also be at the heart of the Summit and its preparation.Outcome
The anticipated outcome of the Summit is to develop and foster a clear statement of political will and a concrete plan of action for achieving the goals of the Information Society, while fully reflecting all the different interests at stake. The scope and nature of this ambitious project will require partnerships with public and private entities, and such partnerships will be actively sought in the coming months.High Level Summit Organizing Committee (HLSOC)A High-Level Summit Organizing Committee (HLSOC) has been established under the patronage of Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General and Chairman of the United Nations System Chief Executive Board for Coordination (CEB formally ACC)Its purpose is to coordinate the efforts of the international United Nations family in the preparation, organization and holding of WSIS. All the members of the HLSOC have engaged to provide specific information about their work that will help develop the Summit themes. The HLSOC reports directly to the CEB and oversees the work of the Executive Secretariat.
CompositionThe HLSOC is composed of a Representative of the United Nations Secretary- General and Executive Heads of the following UN specialized agencies: FAO, IAEA, ICAO, ILO, IMO, ITU, UNCTAD, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO. It comprises also the Director General of WTO, the Executive Director of UNITAR, the Executive Secretaries of the UN Regional Economic Commissions and the President of the World Bank. The Secretary- General of the International Telecommunication Union serves as Chairman of the HLSOC.Executive SecretariatExecutive Director: Mr. Pierre GagneDeputy Executive Director: Mr. Art Levin
The Executive Secretariat of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS/ES) was established under the authority of the HLSOC to assist in the preparation of the Summit. It is based at the ITU headquarters in Geneva, with the following mandate and terms of reference:
MandateThe mandate of the ES is as follows:
Advise on all aspects of Summit preparation
Prepare progress reports on the preparation of the Summit
Develop an operation plan and a timetable for preparation of the Summit
Obtain sponsorship and funding
CompositionA number of different organizations, including government ministries, private companies, UN agencies and NG0s have sent experts to the WSIS Executive Secretariat on a full or part-time basis. The composition of the ES is as follows:
Staff from Member States
Staff from the UN specialized agencies participating in the HLSOC
Staff from the private sector
Staff from NG0s and Civil Society
Host Countries Executive SecretariatsSwitzerland and Tunisia have created working secretariats under the direction of their respective Ambassadors to the World Summit.
Who will Participate?GovernmentsAll governments have a stake in the Information Society, whatever their level of national income or their infrastructure facilities. Governments are key for bringing the benefits of the Information Society to everyone through the development of national and global policies and frameworks to meet the challenges of the Information Society. In their pursuit of the public interest, governments can raise awareness, facilitate access to information for the public, and they also can lay the foundations for all citizens to benefit from Information and Communication Technologies in terms of improved quality of life, social services and economic growth.Private SectorThe private sector, will play an active role in conjunction with government and civil society by offering an economically viable model to achieve the development Objectives on the world agenda. The contribution of the private sector is instrumental in creating the material conditions for universal access to information and value added ICT services. Its involvement in the Summit will promote economic growth and new partnerships, technology transfer, increase awareness of new technologies, and motivate the creation of local content development and skilled employment opportunities.The private sector input to the Summit is being facilitated by the Coordinating Committee of Business Interlocutors (CCBI), chaired by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).Civil SocietyCivil society is playing an active role in identifying the social and cultural consequences of current trends and in drawing attention to the need to introduce democratic accountability on the strategic options taken at all levels. Its diversity and, often, hands-on approach to issues, make civil society a key player in the renewed international partnership called for by the UN Secretary-General.United Nations Family
The Summit offers a unique opportunity for the global community to reflect, discuss and give shape to our common destiny in an era when countries and people are interconnected as never before. The UN family of organizations serves as a catalyst for change by bringing together state governments, as well as the private sector, international institutions and civil society in pursuit of common goals. The United Nations system and its specialized agencies will be deeply involved in the organization and holding of the Summit, with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) taking a lead role.How to Contribute?The key opportunity to contribute and be part of the World Summit is to actively participate in the preparatory process of the World Summit. This can be done in the following suggested ways:
Build a constructive network
Stimulate multi-actor cooperation
Submit substantive inputs
Organize meetings
Organize training sessions
Formulate operational proposals
Provide funding and support
When and Where?The Summit is being held under the high patronage of Kofi Annan, UN Secretary- General, with the International Telecommunication Union taking the lead role, in cooperation with other interested UN agencies, and will occur in two phases:Geneva 2003: First PhaseThe first phase of the World Summit will take place in Geneva hosted by the Government of Switzerland from 10 to 12 December 2003. It will address the broad range of themes concerning the Information Society and adopt a Declaration of Principles and plan of action, addressing the whole range of issues related to the Information Society.Tunis 2005. Second PhaseThe second phase of the World Summit will take place in Tunis hosted by the Government of Tunisia, from 16 to 18 November 2005. Development themes will be a key focus in this phase, and it will assess progress that has been made and adopt any further plan of action to be taken.
Date of Issue (December 10, 2003)