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 phase from 16 to 18 November2005, 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 General Assembly in its Resolution 57/238 calls upon ITU in close cooperation with the United Nations to launch a public information campaign to raise global awareness of the Summit.