Hammamet, 26 June 2004 – The first Preparatory Meeting (PrepCom 1 of the Tunis phase) of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) completed its work today with broad agreement on the issues that should form the focus of the Tunis Summit and agreed on the structure of the preparatory process for the second phase. 425 delegates representing 127 governments and the European Community, 272 observers from 113 organizations representing civil society (business entities and non-governmental organizations) as well as 71 observers from 33 international organizations and three entities with standing invitation from the United Nations General Assembly attended the meeting. 140 journalists were accredited of which 109 attended onsite.
“As Hannibal crossed the Alps from Tunisia to make a landmark in history, we have today crossed the Alps to Tunisia representing the migration of WSIS from North to South”, ITU Secretary-General Yoshio Utsumi said. He added “By so doing, we are building the bridges to connect different peoples across geographical, knowledge and information divides. At the same time, we are beginning to connect the dots embedded in the WSIS Action Plan that will form a truly inclusive and equitable Information Society.
A Summit of Solutions
The meeting was held under the able leadership of H.E. Janis Karklins (Latvia) who was elected president of PrepCom.
“We had the mandate of defining when, in what form and how to address the substantive issues to be addressed by the Tunis phase,” said Mr Karklins. “I am extremely pleased that the spirit of cooperation among all stakeholders has led to a successful outcome of our discussions with a clear understanding of the way forward”, he added.
Throughout the debates, there was a strong feeling that it was now time to act and that the Tunis Summit was to be action-oriented. The principles had been crafted and agreed in Geneva and a Plan of Action that defined the top-level objectives to create an all-inclusive and equitable Information Society approved. “What is now needed is to refine some of the broad goals and hammer out the specifics that will translate them into measurable results,” said Mr Karklins. “What we should aim for is a Summit of Solutions”, he said.
The road to Tunis
PrepCom 1 had the task of defining:
- The issues of the Information Society that should form the focus of the Tunis Summit
- The shape the outcome of the Tunis Summit should take
- The way to reach the goals set in the Geneva Action Plan
Based on this broad framework, it was agreed that the focus of the preparatory process to the Tunis phase should be two-pronged: it should provide solutions on how to implement and follow up the Geneva decisions (Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action) by stakeholders at national, regional and international levels with particular attention to the challenges facing the Least Developed Countries and it should complete the unfinished business in Geneva on Internet Governance and Financing. The reports of the Task Force on Financing mechanisms and the report of the Working Group on Internet Governance would provide valuable inputs to the discussion. A consensus was also reached that the agreements reached in the Geneva phase should not be re-opened.
As for the output of the Tunis phase, it was agreed to have a final document (or documents) comprising a concise political part and an operational part aimed at translating the outcome of the work undertaken in the preparatory process into actionable items. Both the political and operational parts would reaffirm and enhance the commitments undertaken in the Geneva phase. The principles of inclusiveness, efficiency, transparency and cost-effectiveness were also endorsed along with a proposed roadmap to chart the way.
In order to pave the way for the negotiations in PrepCom 2, the President of PrepCom along with delegations, regional groups and the WSIS Executive Secretariat will prepare a document to serve as a basis for the discussions, taking into account the outcome of thematic, regional and other WSIS-related meetings.
The second PrepCom will take place in Geneva from 17 to 25 February 2005.
Strong commitment made to fund the core preparatory process
In response to the ITU Secretary-General’s open appeal to the international community for voluntary contributions, several governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations announced contributions to the WSIS fund. A total of CHF 907’000 in financial contributions were announced during the Hammamet meeting. This brings the total of the Fund to some CHF 1.3 million or 26% of the CHF 5 million goal. Prior to the Hammamet meeting, the Fund stood at 8% of the total goal. In addition, Tunisia announced a contribution of CHF 400’000 for enabling the participation of civil society from least developed countries, especially those concerned with the disabled, women and the youth, in order to facilitate their participation in the second phase of the Summit in Tunis.
The total cost of organizing the core preparatory process and the Summit for the Tunis Phase is estimated to be approximately CHF 15 million (cash and in-kind), not including costs incurred by the host country.
The WSIS-2005 Fundraising Campaign was launched in April 2004 to raise at least CHF 5 million in financial contributions for the WSIS Fund and the remainder through in-kind contributions to support core preparatory activities of the Summit.
For more information, please contact:
Head, Corporate Communication
WSIS Executive Secretariat
to 26 June, in Hammamet
+216 72 24 18 24/+216 72 24 18 21 (fixed line)
+216 98 59 92 93 /+216 98 59 92 99 (mobile)
June, in Geneva
+41 22 730 6039 (fixed line)