World Summit on the Information Society - WSIS

Background

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is an initiative of the 1998 Plenipotentiary Conference of International Telecommunication Union (ITU). It was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly as an effective means to assist the United Nations in fulfilling the goals of the Millennium Declaration. Secretary General Kofi Annan stated, "the Millennium Summit recognized the key role of partnerships involving governments, bilateral and multilateral development agencies, the private sector and other stakeholders in putting ICTs in the service of development."

The World Summit will provide the global platform where key players: Governments, UN agencies, private sector and the civil society, will come together to develop a common vision and an understanding of the Information Society and to adopt a declaration and a plan of action. It will be held from 10 to 12 December 2003 in Geneva and in 2005 in Tunis.

The World Summit will be preceded by Preparatory meetings, the first one will be held in Geneva from 1-5 July 2002.

Regional Conferences

Regional preparatory conferences are expected to take place in each of the regions of the world before the Geneva 2003 Summit. "The regional conferences will assess the key challenges, opportunities and constraints relating to the Information Society, develop a common vision and understanding for the region and prepare a plan to address the key issues and solve the problems identified". Each region is expected to organize regional conferences. The African Regional Conference will be organized in Bamako under the auspices of His Excellency Alpha Oumar Konare, President of the Republic of Mali, from 26-30 May 2002.

Themes of the Conference

The themes of the Conference workshops were adopted by as follows:

  • What Africa brings to the Information Society: its values, its knowledge, its stakeholders. References of the Information Society, content creation, needs and usage.
  • What the Information Society brings to Africa: national and sectoral ICT strategies, access to rural areas, sectoral applications, regional and sub-regional cooperation, etc.
  • What Africa wants to preserve in the Information Society: its cultural diversity, its languages, its creativity, legal issues, etc.
  • How Africa would benefit from the Information Society: technical conditions to access, infrastructure, software and digital divide, etc.

The Way Forward

Governments, the Civil Society and the Private sector are expected to take part in the substantive and financial preparation of the Bamako 2002 Conference to make it a success. They are also encouraged to organize thematic workshops on or before 26 and 27 May 2002 as input to the Bamako 2002 Conference.

For more information go to the following:

Websites and links:

http://www.itu.int/wsis/

http://www.geneva2003.org/home/index01.htm

Africa Regional conference:

http://www.geneva2003.org/bamako2002/