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 The Different Actors in the Information Society

All 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, as well as 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.

The political support to the global vision of WSIS to establish the Information Society was evident when world leaders including over 40 Heads of state/government and Vice-Presidents and high-level delegates from 175 countries participated at the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society that was held in Geneva from 10-12 December 2003. Similarly, delegates from 174 countries, including over 40 Heads of State or Government, attended the second phase of WSIS in Tunis, from 16-18 November 2005, to reconfirm the outcomes of Geneva and to call for implementation and follow-up to WSIS.

Private Sector
The private sector plays an active role, in conjunction with governments 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 promotes economic growth and new partnerships, helps transfer technology, increases awareness of new technologies, and motivates the creation of local content development and skilled employment opportunities.
The private sector input to the Summit was facilitated by the Coordinating Committee of Business Interlocutors (CCBI), chaired by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). For more information about the mobilization, contributions and participation of the global business community, please click here.

Civil Society
Civil 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.

At the second Preparatory Committee meeting (PrepCom-2) of the Geneva phase, the "Civil Society Bureau" was created in order to provide mechanisms that facilitate the dialogue with governments ensuring an effective participation of the Civil Society at the heart of the decisive structures of WSIS. The Civil Society Bureau was composed of larges "families" of global civil society: unions, media, creators and actors of culture, towns and local authorities, NGOs, youth, gender, indigenous people, disabled people, etc. It also included representatives from caucuses (Human Rights causus, Internet Governance caucus, etc), and the regional contact points in order to establish links with all continents.

The opening session of both phases of the Summit, in Geneva and Tunis, were addressed by representatives of civil society and business.
At the first phase of WSIS, the Geneva Civil Society Declaration, “Shaping Information Societies for Human Needs”, was presented to the President of the Summit, H.E. Mr. Pascal Couchepin, at the last Plenary meeting. Similarly, Mr. Adama SamassÚkou, on behalf of the Civil Society Bureau, presented the Tunis Civil Society Declaration to the Plenary.

United Nations Family
The Summit offered a unique opportunity for the global community to reflect, discuss and give shape to our common destiny in an era when countries and peoples are interconnected as never before. The UN family of organizations serves as a catalyst for change by bringing together governments, as well as the private sector, civil society and international institutions in pursuit of common goals. The United Nations system and its specialized agencies were deeply involved in the organization and holding of the Summit, and continue this involvement in WSIS follow-up and implementation.

Other invited International Organizations
All interested International and Regional Organizations outside the UN were invited to participate in WSIS. Some of these organizations took a keen interest in WSIS, like the Council of Europe (which enforced the Cybercrime Convention in 2004), the Francophonie and the Arab League. The full list of participating International and Regional Organizations is available in the list of participants at the Geneva and Tunis phases of the Summit.




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Updated : 2006-10-05