Africa Civil Society involvement in the World
Summit on the Information Society
What is the WSIS?
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
in 2005 will be the culmination of a process of global discussion
and harmonization in order for all the countries of the world to
come together to develop and foster a clear statement of political
will and a concrete plan of action for achieving the goals of the
Why should African Civil Society Organisations
The resolutions that are adopted at the meetings
of the WSIS will have a profound impact on Africa's development.
It is important for African CSO's to drive the process in a way
that will benefit everyone in society and will not reinforce the
development divide between rich and poor nations. If we get involved
now, then we have the opportunity to help set the agenda for the
future of the Information Society.
How does the process work?
WSIS is an initiative of the International Telecommunications
Union (IT) and the United Nations (UN). Preparation for WSIS consists
of Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) and Regional meetings. The African
Regional Conference was held in Bamako, Mali from 26-30 May, 2002.
The next Preparatory Committee meeting will be held in February
next year. How have African Civil Society Organisations been involved?
An Africa Caucus was initiated at PrepCom1 and has continued discussing
areas of concern around the agenda of themes of the WSIS. According
to one of the African caucus representatives, and coordinator of
the APC Africa ICT Policy Monitor Project, Emmanuel Njenga Njuguna,
the aim of the African caucus over the coming months is to strengthen
African participation in the upcoming Prepcoms by being well prepared
for making inputs.
How is the APC getting involved?
The APC Africa Policy Monitor Project aims to
initiate a process of awareness-raising, training and supporting
African Civil Society Organisations that wish to add their voices
to the WSIS process. The APC's involvement in WSIS hinges on the
belief that every person in society has a right to communicate -
we believe that the process of building the Information Society
should be developed around this goal. The APC is also involved in
the Communication Rights in the Information Society (CRIS) campaign
which aims to ensure that communication rights are central to the
information society and WSIS. The Information sSociety that interests
CRIS and APC is based on principles of transparency, diversity,
participation and social and economic justice, and inspired by equitable
gender, cultural and regional perspectives.
How can you get involved?
For those interested in joining discussions related
to WSIS issues, go to the Afrocn mailing list at http://globalcn.tc.ca/mailman/listinfo/afrocn
For more information:
Official website of the World Summit on the Information Society
Website of the civil society plenary at WSIS
Communication Rights in the Information Society (CRIS) website
Africa Regional meeting, Bamako 2002