Document WSIS-II/PC-2/DOC/2-E

18 January 2005

Original: English

Yoshio Utsumi

Chairman, High-Level Summit Organizing Committee

Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union

REPORT ON ACTIVITIES LEADING TO PREPCOM-2
OF THE TUNIS PHASE OF THE SUMMIT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I. BACKGROUND

The impetus for the Summit began with a resolution introduced by Tunisia and adopted by the 1998 Plenipotentiary Conference of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The 2001 session of the ITU Council considered the Report of the Secretary-General and in Resolution 1179 (Ref. C2001/114), endorsed the framework for a Summit in two phases, with the first phase in Geneva in 2003 and the second phase in Tunis in 2005.

The Decision of the ITU Council was endorsed on 21 December 2001 by the UNGA (UN General Assembly) in Resolution 56/183, which welcomed the holding of the World Summit on the Information Society at the highest possible level under the high patronage of the UN Secretary-General, with the ITU taking the lead role in its preparations. The resolution supported the framework for the Summit in two phases, which has been endorsed by the ITU Council.

The UNGA Resolution further recommended that preparations for the Summit take place through an open ended intergovernmental Preparatory Committee that would define the agenda of the Summit, decide on the modalities of the participations of stakeholders in the Summit and finalize both the draft Declaration of Principles and the draft Plan of Action. It also invited the ITU to assume the leading managerial role in the ES (Executive Secretariat) of the Summit. In December 2002, the UNGA adopted Resolution 57/238, which reaffirmed the support for the Summit previously expressed in Resolution 56/183.

At its 59th session the UNGA adopted Resolution 59/220, which endorses the Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action as adopted by the Summit on 12 December 2003. The Resolution welcomes the establishment of the Working Group on Internet Governance and the Task Force on Financial Mechanisms set up in accordance with the decisions of the first phase of the Summit and call for an active contribution of all stakeholders to the preparatory process of the Tunis Phase of the Summit as well as to the Summit itself scheduled on 16-18 November 2005.

 

II. OUTCOMES OF THE FIRST PHASE

The first phase of the Summit took place in Geneva on 10-12 December 2003.

The Geneva Phase adopted a Declaration of Principles and a Plan of Action.

Several issues were deferred to the second phase of the Summit. The Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action called upon the Secretary-General of the UN to establish a Working Group on Internet Governance and a Task Force on the Financial Mechanisms for ICT for Development to study and report on these issues during the second phase.

 

III. THE FIRST MEETING OF THE PREPARATORY COMMITTEE OF THE TUNIS PHASE OF WSIS

As decided by Governments at the Geneva Phase of the Summit, in its resolution on "Arrangements for the Tunis Phase of the Summit", the Preparatory Committee held a session in the first half of 2004. The meeting (called Preparatory Meeting – PrepCom-1 of the Tunis Phase) took place from 24 to 26 June 2004 at the Medina Conference Center, Yasmine Hammamet, Tunisia. Ambassador Karklins of Latvia was elected as the President of the PrepCom, along with the 29 Vice-Presidents. With 1 Vice-President each from Switzerland and Tunisia ex officio, the Bureau of the PrepCom of the Tunis phase of WSIS is comprised of 32 countries.

The report of PrepCom-1 and the documentation for the meeting can be found at:

http://www.itu.int/wsis/preparatory2/hammamet/index.html

PrepCom-1 decided on the focus of the Tunis phase, the outputs and the structure of the preparatory process. It set the dates and duration for PrepCom-2 and established the Group of Friends of the President of the PrepCom (informally called "Group of Friends of the Chair" or "GFC"), which is to prepare, with the assistance of the WSIS Executive Secretariat (ES), the document to serve as a basis for negotiations at PrepCom-2.

 

IV. PREPARATORY ACTIVITIES LEADING TO THE SECOND MEETING OF THE PREPCOM

1. Organization of PrepCom-2

a. Resolution 56/183 established an intergovernmental preparatory process for the Summit in which other stakeholders actively participate and make contributions and call on Government to actively participate in Summit preparation and to be represented at the highest possible level.

b. Invitation letters to the second Preparatory Committee were sent on the 10th of December 2004 by the ITU Secretary-General to Ministries of foreign affairs of Member States, with copies to the Ministers of Communication/IT and the Missions in Geneva and New York (for States without Mission in Geneva). Invitations have also been sent to ITU sector Members and to interested United Nations entities and invited international organizations. Accredited NGOs, civil society and business sector entities were invited through invitation letters placed on the official WSIS website.

2. Regional and thematic meetings

a. Two regional conferences were held in advance of PrepCom-2. The Western Asia Regional Conference took place in Damascus, Syria (22-23 November 2004). The Africa Regional Conference took place in Accra, Ghana (2-4 February 2005). Two regional conferences, one in the Latin American and the Caribbean region and the other in the Asia-Pacific region, are planned to take place before PrepCom-3.

b. A series of thematic meetings to provide additional inputs to the summit process took place or will take place before and after PrepCom-2. A list of thematic and regional-thematic meetings appears on the website at the following address:

http://www.itu.int/wsis/preparatory2/thematic.html

3. Group of Friends of the President

The Group of Friends of the President (GFC) with the assistance of the WSIS Executive Secretariat, held regular and special sessions in preparation for PrepCom-2. Regular sessions were open to members of the GFC and to observers from Government. Members include 30 Government delegations from regional groups, host countries representatives and officio members from the ITU Secretary-General and the UN Secretary-General. Regular sessions took place on November 16th, on December 16th and 17th 2004 and on January 11th 2005.

The GFC held special sessions opened to observers from International Organizations, ITU sector members and WSIS accredited NGOs, civil society and business entities, on October 22nd, November 15th 2005 and January 10th 2005.

Additional information on these meetings and the documentation can be found at:

http://www.itu.int/wsis/gfc/index.html

4. Stocktaking

In October 2004, the ITU and the ES launched the WSIS Stocktaking process in order to provide an inventory of activities undertaken by governments and all stakeholders in implementing the Geneva Decisions. Following an initial brainstorming meeting of stakeholders, a questionnaire was developed and posted on line. A searchable database of WSIS-related activities has been created. It includes all the responses to the questionnaire received to date. A preliminary report on the WSIS Stocktaking activities will be presented to PrepCom-2 (Doc WSIS-II/PC-2/Doc 6). The database will continue to be updated with new inputs, both up to and beyond the completion of the Tunis Phase.

 

V. ORGANIZATION OF SECOND PHASE OF THE SUMMIT

The overall managerial responsibility for the World Summit is placed with the ITU under decisions taken by the ITU Council and under UNGA Resolutions 56/183, 57/238 and 59/220.

1. International Telecommunication Union

The ITU Secretary-General visited Tunisia in September 2004 to discuss the arrangements for the Summit with the Ministers concerned and met personally with the President of Tunisia, His Excellency Mr. Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The Secretary-General has attended many meetings with and visited many Governments in an effort to attract further support for the Summit and to promote participation at the highest levels.

Negotiations between the ITU and the Host Country on the arrangements for the Summit are ongoing. A coordination meeting between ITU, the ES and the Tunisian authorities in charge of the Summit took place in December 2004 to discuss the Host Country Agreement and to agree on preparations related to Summit logistics. A number of working groups have been established to plan and conduct all aspects of the logistical preparations for the Summit, and relevant information will be communicated shortly to delegates.

2. ITU Council Working Group on WSIS (WG-WSIS)

a. The 2002 session of the ITU Council (Resolution 1196) established a Working Group on the World Summit on the Information Society (WG-WSIS), open to all Member States and Sector Members of the Union, to develop a framework for the substantive contribution of ITU to the Preparatory Committee meetings and to prepare an Information Report. The group is chaired by Mr. Yuri Grin (Russian Federation). The vice-chairs are Mr. Ridha Guellouz (Tunisia) and Mr. Frederic Riehl (Switzerland).

b. The mandate of the work of the group is established by Decision 8 and Resolution 113 (2002) of the Plenipotentiary Conference, as well as by ITU Council Resolutions 1207 and 1214.

c. The Working Group held its 7th meeting on 13-14 December 2004. It addressed ITU activities related to the implementation of the Geneva Plan of Action, including thematic meeting organized by the Union, and ITU contribution to the Working Group on Internet Governance and the Task Force on Financial Mechanisms.

3. Chief Executive Board (CEB)

The Chief Executive Board of the United Nations system ("CEB"), held its fall session in New York in October 2004. The Secretary-General of the ITU briefed the CEB members on the status of Summit preparations. The CEB agreed to give priority to the implementation of the WSIS Plan of Action of the Geneva Phase so that effective results can be reported in time for the second phase of the Summit. It also endorsed further work between the HLSOC and its subcommittees in the areas of ICT and the Millennium Development Goals and underlined the need for policy coherence among UN Agencies in the field of ICTs.

4. The High-Level Summit Organizing Committee (HLSOC)

a. The HLSOC was established by the CEB and consists of those UN agencies interested in participating in the preparation of WSIS. The HLSOC was formally established in March 2001 under the chairmanship of the Secretary-General of the ITU. The main task of the Committee is to generally oversee and coordinate Summit planning and preparations for the UN System. In particular, the HLSOC has coordinated stocktaking efforts by its members and planning for thematic meetings of UN agencies.

b. The HLSOC held a Working Level meeting on the 7th of December 2004. HLSOC members discussed a Chairman’s proposal for a follow up mechanism for implementation of the Tunis Summit Outputs. The Chairman also encouraged UN Organizations’ active participation for the Tunis Phase of the Summit. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP) joined the HLSOC as observers.

5. The Executive Secretariat (ES)

a. The ES, along with the ITU, is organizing much of the Summit preparations.

b. Since the first phase of the Summit, the ES composition has changed. Mr. Charles Geiger from Switzerland has been designated as Executive Director of the ES. The newly composed Secretariat includes several experts from Governments, 1 from private sector, 1 from a UN Agency and 1 from a NGO.

c. The following Governments and organizations/business entities have seconded/supported staff members to the Executive Secretariat for all or part of the Tunis Phase:

In addition, and with several financial contributions designated for hiring staff to the ES from developing countries, the ITU has hired for the ES three staff persons, from India, Malawi and Jamaica.

 

VI. FINANCES

Apart from the financial and direct support offered by the Host Countries, the Summit and its preparatory process must be organized on the basis of contributions from all stakeholders.

UNGA Resolution 56/183, 57/238 and 59/220 invited the international community to make voluntary contributions to a special trust fund established by the ITU to support the Summit, as well as to facilitate the effective participation of representatives of developing countries, in particular those from the least developed countries.

It is estimated that the core preparatory activities of the Tunis Phase of the Summit will cost approximately CHF 15 million, not including elements of the process supported by the Host Country, Tunisia. Core preparatory activities include translation, interpretation, conference services for PrepComs, the staffing and operation of the WSIS Executive Secretariat, among other essential services related to the Summit.

The Secretary-General of ITU launched the WSIS-2005 Fundraising Campaign in April 2004 to raise at least CHF 5 million in financial contributions, with the expectation that the balance can be covered through in kind contributions from various partners. Thus far there has been a positive response to the Fundraising Campaign. By end of 2004, 28% of the CHF 5 Million have been raised. New substantial contributions will be announced at PrepCom-2.

The ITU is providing significant support to the Summit, through direct contributions and through a loan guarantee, as well as the efforts of many staff members.

 

Annex

Financial situation as of 24th of January 2005

New contributions will be announced during prepCom-2. An updated situation will be available on http://www.itu.int/wsis/funding/contributors2.html

Donation to the WSIS Fund

Source

Amount CHF

Governments

Azerbaijan

15 190

Burkina Faso

25 000

Holy See

4 000

Japan

776 927

Namibia

12 500

Netherlands

75 000

Norway

180 268

Senegal

66 550

Spain

153 000

Sultanate of Oman

100 000

Syrian Arab Republic (Commitment)

12 500

International Organizations

United Nations Federal Credit Union

1 280

Universal Postal Union

10 000

World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

15 000

NGO and Civil Society Entities

International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies

200

TOTAL

1 447 415

 

 

Carry-over from Geneva Phase (as of 1.1.2004)

Switzerland (committed for fellowships for government officials from LDCs)

205 252

Government of Finland (committed for fellowships and salaries of WSIS staff from developing countries)

101 443

Government of Sweden (committed for salaries of WSIS staff from developing countries)

235 220

European Commission (committed for salaries of WSIS ES staff from developing countries)

303 200

TOTAL

1 093 345

 

 

Facilities of the Executive Secretariat

Source

Expenses

ITU

Logistical Support to the ES, Offices, Computer, Website

Government of Switzerland

Furniture for the ES

Government of Tunisia

Expenses associated to the preparatory process in Tunisia (e.g. travel costs for ITU and ES staff at the Hammamet meeting, travel and hotel costs for joint logistics meetings in Tunis etc.)

United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)

Expenses associated with Bureau and Group of Friends of the Chair (rooms, interpretation, operators etc.

Expenses associated with the PrepCom-2 (regular costs of staff, operators, rooms, IT-equipment etc.)

 

Other WSIS related contributions

Korea (WSIS related projects)

200 000

Tunisia (commitment for fellowships for civil society participation in the Summit)

400 000

ITU (budget allocated for WSIS 2004-2005)

1 194 000