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World Summit on the Information Society Preparatory Meeting to Begin

Summit Themes and Agenda to be focus of Geneva meeting

Geneva, 28 June 2002 — The first Preparatory Committee Meeting (PrepCom 1) of the World Summit on the Information Society will be held at the Geneva International Conference Centre (CICG) starting on Monday 1 July. More than 600 delegates representing governments, international agencies, business and civil society are expected to attend the meeting, which will run until 5 July 2002.

The World Summit on the Information Society will be held under the high patronage of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, with ITU taking the lead role in preparations. The first phase will be held in Geneva 10-12 December 2003 and the second phase in Tunis in 2005. The Summit began as an initiative of the 1998 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference when it was recognized that the gap between information "haves" and "have nots" was increasing while at the same time telecommunications were playing an increasingly important role at the political, economic, social and cultural level.

The United Nations recognized a need to create cooperation among the various national and global initiatives fostering ICTs for development and adopted Resolution 56/183PDF asking ITU to take the lead role in the preparation of the Summit.

The anticipated outcome of the Summit is to develop a clear statement of political will and a concrete plan of action for achieving the goals of the Information Society, while fully reflecting all the different interests at stake.

In order for the Summit to be a milestone in the Information Society, it must bring together the broad range of concerned stakeholders from both the developed and developing world. In this regard, it will provide a unique opportunity for Heads of State, UN agencies, industry leaders, NGOs and civil society, including the media, to gather together and discuss all relevant issues in the Information Society. For complete details on the participation of private sector, civil society and other stakeholders see Document WSIS/PC-1/DOC/3DOC.

The Preparatory Process

The World Summit on the Information Society will be the outcome of a wide variety of inputs, including previous meetings, existing action plans of the various partners involved and inputs from the Preparatory Committees of the Summit (PrepComs). Regional conferences and thematic and expert meetings are also an important part of the process. Regional preparatory conferences will be organized to address the specific concerns, needs and priorities of the various regions. They are expected to be organized at ministerial level Preparatory Committee Meetings: ·

  • PrepCom 1 — Geneva 1—5 July 2002 ·

  • PrepCom 2 — Geneva 24 March — 4 April 2003 (tentative) ·

  • PrepCom 3 — Third quarter 2003 (tentative)

 

Regional Conferences: ·

  • Africa — Bamako 25—30 May 2002 (see Document WSIS/PC-1/DOC/7DOC)

  • Europe — Bucharest 7—9 November 2002 ·

  • Asia Pacific — Tokyo 2003 ·

  • Latin America & Caribbean 2003

The Outcome

In order to create a successful scenario for the Summit, it will be necessary to elaborate a vision of the Information Society that will anticipate and embrace the positive benefits it will bring. The Summit should draw up a concrete and clear action plan for improving access to ICTs in order that the 'Digital Divide' may be converted into a 'Digital Opportunity' that can and will be implemented by all stakeholders. The Summit should look beyond technology and focus on applications. The issue is not just to find a way to provide more computers or more telephones, but to extend access to information, to focus on how ICTs can be used to achieve broader social and economic goals, such as the eradication of poverty.

Themes and Issues

 The Preparatory Committee Meetings will determine the agenda and themes for the World Summit on the Information Society. In order to assist the work of the PrepComs, a list of possible topics has been defined which focus on the outcomes identified above. These are:

Vision

  • Opening the Gates

  • Developing a Framework

 

Access

  • Building the Infrastructure

  • The Needs of the User

 

Applications

  • Services and Applications

  • ICTs and Education

For an illustration of the range of specific issues that may be relevant to the Information Society themes as described above, see Annex 1DOC and 2DOC of Document WSIS/PC-1/DOC/4DOC.

The Guiding Principles

Preparations for the World Summit on the Information Society, the Summit itself and related activities will pursue the following guiding principles:

  • Transparency at all levels

  • Information Access and Sharing

  • Opportunities to present ideas, arguments and positions

  • Openness in discussion

  • Availability of mechanisms for consultation and participation

The Agenda

The first meeting of the Preparatory Committee of the World Summit on the Information Society will begin with an opening ceremony from 10h00 — 11h00 on Monday 1July, to be followed by the first Plenary meeting. A complete agenda and time management plan can be viewed in the following documents WSIS/PC-1/DOC/1DOC  and WSIS/PC-1/ADM/4DOC.

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