Global Leaders Back Summit
More than 50 Heads of State and Government to Participate
Geneva, 11 November — 56 Heads of State or Government have so far committed to participate in the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva (10-12 December 2003) with more than 6000 delegates from government, intergovernmental organizations, civil society, the private sector and the media. The Summit will endorse a Declaration of Principles for the Information Society and a plan of action to bring the benefits of information and communications technologies for social and economic development to people in all parts of the world. The World Summit on the Information Society is being held under the patronage of Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) and is being organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN specialized agency for telecommunications.
“The commitment of so many heads to participate in the Summit is very important as it will be the first opportunity to address in a global forum and at the highest political level the challenges that lie ahead in the Information Society. There have been many benefits in the explosive development of information and communication technologies, especially in terms of creating jobs and wealth creation, but it is also creating legitimate concerns, such as ensuring access to information and communication technology, while preserving fundamental freedoms and human rights, security and privacy,” stated Yoshio Utsumi, ITU Secretary-General. The World Summit will address some of these concerns by establishing a common understanding among stakeholders about how to capitalize on the opportunities, while addressing the challenges of the Information Society.
“As information and communication technologies become more important in all aspects of our lives, it is important that no one should be left behind,” added Mr Utsumi. The draft action plan of the Summit proposes a commitment to connect all of the world’s villages with ICTs by 2015, and to connect at least half the world’s inhabitants by that date.
The following is a list of countries whose Heads of State or Government will participate in the World Summit on the Information Society. These include, in addition to the host countries of Switzerland and Tunisia: Algeria, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Comoros, Cook Islands, Croatia, Cuba, Egypt, Finland, France, Gabon,
Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Ireland, Jordan, Korea (Republic of), Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malawi, Mali, Moldova, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Senegal, Spain, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Ukraine, Zimbabwe.
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The World Summit on the Information Society provides a unique opportunity for all key stakeholders to develop a common vision and understanding and to address the whole range of relevant issues related to the Information Society.
It aims to bring together Heads of State, Executive Heads of the United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, civil society entities, industry leaders and media representatives to foster a clear statement of political will and concrete plan of action to shape the future of the global information society and to promote the urgently needed access of all countries to information, knowledge and communication technologies for development.
The Summit has been endorsed by the UN General Assembly and will take place under the high patronage of Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, with the International Telecommunication Union taking the lead role in its preparation.
The Summit will be held in two phases: Geneva (10-12 December 2003) and Tunisia (16-18 November 2005).