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 UN Secretary-General Appoints Special Adviser for WSIS

Mr. Nitin Desai Appointed Special Adviser for the World Summit on the Information Society by United Nations Secretary-General

New York, 18 July 2003 – United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today appointed Mr. Nitin Desai as his Special Adviser for the World Summit on the Information Society, which opens in Geneva on 10 December 2003. 

WSIS is the first Summit to deal with the information society, including critical issues in the use and dissemination of information and communications technology in development programmes and policies. It will take place in two phases – first in Geneva in December, then in Tunis in November 2005. It is being held under the patronage of the UN Secretary General and has been welcomed by the UN General Assembly.

“The existing digital divide threatens to exacerbate the gaps between rich and poor, within and among countries,” Mr. Annan said. He called on “leaders from the developed and developing world, private sector and civil society to use the unique opportunity provided by the Summit to forge an action plan that will put technology at the service of human development.” 

Mr. Desai, the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, was the Secretary-General of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg last year.

“We are delighted Mr Desai has agreed to assist us in the successful completion of WSIS,” said Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union. The General Assembly has invited the ITU to take the lead responsibility in the organization of WSIS, with full support from the UN family.

The WSIS intersessional meeting, underway in Paris this week, has gathered 700 delegates in preparation for the Summit. It is an important step toward a meaningful declaration of principles and action plan to bridge the digital divide and address key policy issues and objectives of the Millennium Development Goals. 

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About WSIS

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).




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Updated : 2003-07-21