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Governments, Private Sector, Civil Society to Gather in Tunis,
16-18 November for World Summit on the Information Society

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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 and ZTE.

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.

Website

For media accreditation, click here.

Contact:
At UN, New York
Edoardo Bellando,
UN Department of Public Information,
(1 212) 963 8275
Email

or Francois Coutu,
(1 212) 963 9495
Email

At ITU, Geneva
Sarah Parkes
ITU Press Office
+41 22 730 6135
Email

or Sanjay Acharya
+41 22 730 5046,
Email

 

 

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