Geneva, 19 October 2005 — The Tunis phase of the World Summit on the
Information Society (WSIS), taking place from 16 to 18 November, will bring
together political, business and civil society leaders to take action to bridge
the "digital divide", consolidate the information society through public-private
partnerships and draft a statement of political intent taking all stakeholders'
interests into account.
About 50 Heads of State and Government have so far confirmed participation in
the Tunis meeting, to be held at Kram PalExpo. The private sector will be
present in force, with more CEOs confirmed to participate than at the Summit's
Geneva phase in 2003. Corporate partners of the Tunisian Organizing Committee,
WSIS Tunis 2005, include Alcatel, Ericsson, Huawei, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung
A major ICT trade fair, "ICT For All", will be held from 15 to 19 November at
Kram PalExpo. Companies from developed and developing countries will showcase
innovative ideas and practical solutions, meet and forge new partnerships. Some
40’000 visitors are expected to attend ICT For All.
The Summit will take stock of the implementation of the ambitious agenda agreed
to at the Geneva phase in 2003. In Geneva, 175 countries adopted a Declaration
of Principles outlining a common vision of the information society and a Plan of
Action that sets targets to improve connectivity and access in ICT use. The
targets, to be achieved by 2015, include connecting villages, community access
points, schools and universities, research centers, libraries, health centres
and hospitals, and local and central government departments. The Tunis Summit
will take stock of the first two years of implementation of the Plan of Action.
Governments will also seek agreement on issues such as effective financial
strategies to promote the deployment of ICTs in the developing world and
possible options for the governance of the Internet.
A main goal will be to seek ways of providing better access to developing
countries to the Internet and other information and communication technologies.
According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the 942 million
people living in the world's developed economies enjoy five times better access
to fixed and mobile phone services, nine times better access to Internet
services, and own 13 times more personal computers than the 85 per cent of the
world's population living in low and lower-middle income countries. ITU also
estimates that 800,000 villages still lack connection by telephone line, the
Internet or any other modern ICT.
In parallel to the governmental Summit, some 250 separate roundtables, panels,
presentations and media events are planned by civil society organizations,
business entities and national delegations. High-level panels will give Heads of
State and Government the opportunity to engage in public debates with prominent
business and civil society leaders.
The Summit is organized by ITU, the United Nations specialized agency for
telecommunications, with the support of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the
UN system as a whole.
For media accreditation, click
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UN Department of Public Information,
(1 212) 963 8275
or Francois Coutu,
(1 212) 963 9495
At ITU, Geneva
ITU Press Office
+41 22 730 6135
or Sanjay Acharya
+41 22 730 5046,