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copyrightContent and themes of WSIS
Summary of Official PrepCom-1 Document WSIS/PC-1/DOC/4 and WSIS/PC-1/DOC/10

The selection of the content and themes of the World Summit on the Information Society is likely to be one of the main tasks ahead in the work of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom). The UN Resolution (56/183) that sets the framework for the WSIS suggests three main objectives for the work of the Summit:

  • To develop a common vision and understanding of the Information Society.

  • To promote the urgently needed access of all the world's inhabitants to information, knowledge and communication technologies for development.

  • To harness the potential of knowledge and technology for promoting the goals of the United Nations Millennium Declaration.

PrepCom-1 agreed to create a subcommittee to discuss the content and themes of the Summit. Ambassador Pablo Macedo (Mexico) was elected Chairman of Subcommittee 2, which held two meetings, open to all observers.

On the basis of these discussions, the Chairman presented two papers for discussion, the first one containing principles for guiding the preparatory work of WSIS and the second one, the proposed themes for WSIS. These papers were discussed during informal consultations. The first was adopted by the Subcommittee and the Plenary. The second, which was not discussed in detail due to a shortage of time, appears under the authority of the Chairman as an Annex to his Report of the meeting of the Subcommittee and could serve as a guide for future work. The two texts are available in the Report of the Chairman of Subcommittee 2.

During the discussion in PrepCom-1, a total of 52 States, 7 international organizations, and 8 observers were able to make oral statements, which contributed to a rich fund of ideas and opinions. On the basis of the discussions, and at the request of the Bureau, the WSIS Executive Secretariat has prepared a document providing a compilation of views expressed. This will be discussed further at an inter-sessional meeting on content and themes that is due to take place on 16-18 September 2002 in Geneva. Among the main themes, mentioned by several delegations as well as by international organizations and observers, were the following:

  • ICTs for development

  • Infrastructure development

  • Overcoming the digital divide

  • Human resources development

  • Access to information and communications technologies

  • ultilingual and multi-cultural content

  • International co-operation

  • An enabling policy and regulatory framework

  • ICT applications (e.g., in education, health, e-commerce, e-government, etc)

  • Security of network infrastructures and ICT services

  • Intellectual Property Rights and privacy protection

In addition, it was considered essential that the Summit be people-centred, with gender issues in particular cutting across the list of themes.

Although PrepCom-1 was not able to finalize the list of themes to be considered, it is clear that there is broad agreement on the main issues to be examined and on the urgency of action on issues like overcoming the digital divide. The view that this should be a "Summit for Development" was strongly expressed. The Summit will result in a Declaration of Principles and the elaboration of an Action Plan, and PrepComs 2 and 3 must now begin work on drafting these texts.



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Updated : 2003-05-02