1. We, the representatives of
the peoples of the world, have gathered in Tunis from 16-18 November 2005
for this second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) to
reiterate our unequivocal support for the Geneva Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action adopted at the first phase of the World Summit on the
Information Society in Geneva in December 2003.
2. We reaffirm our desire
and commitment to build a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented
Information Society, premised on the purposes and principles of the Charter
of the United Nations, international law and multilateralism, and respecting
fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, so that
people everywhere can create, access, utilize and share information and
knowledge, to achieve their full potential and to attain the internationally
agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development
3. We reaffirm the
universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelation of all human
rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development, as
enshrined in the Vienna Declaration. We also reaffirm that
democracy, sustainable development, and respect for human rights and fundamental
freedoms as well as good governance at all levels are interdependent and
mutually reinforcing. We further resolve to strengthen respect for the
rule of law in international as in national affairs.
4. We reaffirm
paragraphs 4, 5 and
55 of the Geneva Declaration of Principles. We recognize that freedom of expression and the free flow of information,
ideas, and knowledge, are essential for the Information Society and beneficial
5. The Tunis Summit represents a
unique opportunity to raise awareness of the benefits that Information and
Communication Technologies (ICTs) can bring to humanity and the manner in which
they can transform people’s activities, interactions and lives and thus,
increase confidence in the future.
6. This Summit is an important
stepping-stone in the world’s efforts to eradicate poverty and to attain the
internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the
Millennium Development Goals. By the Geneva decisions, we established a
coherent long-term link between the WSIS process, and other relevant major
United Nations conferences and summits. We call upon governments,
private sector, civil society and international organizations to join together
to implement the commitments set forth in the Geneva Declaration of
Principles and Plan of Action. In this context, the outcomes of the
recently concluded 2005 World Summit on the review of the implementation of
the Millennium Declaration are of special relevance.
7. We reaffirm
the commitments made in Geneva and build on them in Tunis by focusing on
financial mechanisms for bridging the digital divide, on Internet governance and
related issues, as well as on follow-up and implementation of the Geneva and
Tunis decisions, as referenced in the Tunis Agenda for the Information
8. While reaffirming the
important roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders as outlined in paragraph
3 of the Geneva Plan of Action, we acknowledge the key role
and responsibilities of governments in the WSIS process.
9. We reaffirm our resolution
in the quest to ensure that everyone can benefit from the opportunities that
ICTs can offer, by recalling that governments, as well as private sector, civil
society and the United Nations and other international organizations, should
work together to: improve access to information and communication infrastructure
and technologies as well as to information and knowledge; build capacity;
increase confidence and security in the use of ICTs; create an enabling
environment at all levels; develop and widen ICT applications; foster and
respect cultural diversity; recognize the role of the media; address the ethical
dimensions of the Information Society; and encourage international and regional
cooperation. We confirm that these are the key principles for building an
inclusive Information Society, the elaboration of which is found in the
Geneva Declaration of Principles.
10. We recognize that
access to information and sharing and creation of knowledge contributes
significantly to strengthening economic, social and cultural development, thus
helping all countries to reach the internationally agreed development goals and
objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals. This process can be
enhanced by removing barriers to universal, ubiquitous, equitable and affordable
access to information. We underline the importance of removing barriers
to bridging the digital divide, particularly those that hinder the full
achievement of the economic, social and cultural development of countries and
the welfare of their people, in particular, in developing countries.
11. Furthermore, ICTs are
making it possible for a vastly larger population than at any time in the past
to join in sharing and expanding the base of human knowledge, and contributing
to its further growth in all spheres of human endeavour as well as its
application to education, health and science. ICTs have enormous potential to
expand access to quality education, to boost literacy and universal primary
education, and to facilitate the learning process itself, thus laying the
groundwork for the establishment of a fully inclusive and development-oriented
Information Society and knowledge economy which respect cultural and linguistic
12. We emphasize that the
adoption of ICTs by enterprises plays a fundamental role in economic growth. The
growth and productivity enhancing effects of well-implemented investments in
ICTs can lead to increased trade and to more and better employment. For this
reason, both enterprise development and labour market policies play a
fundamental role in the adoption of ICTs. We invite governments and the
private sector to enhance the capacity of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs),
since they furnish the greatest number of jobs in most economies. We shall
work together, with all stakeholders, to put in place the necessary policy,
legal and regulatory frameworks that foster entrepreneurship, particularly for
13. We also recognize that
the ICT revolution can have a tremendous positive impact as an instrument of
sustainable development. In addition, an appropriate enabling environment at
national and international levels could prevent increasing social and economic
divisions, and the widening of the gap between rich and poor countries, regions,
and individuals — including between men and women.
14. We also recognize that
in addition to building ICT infrastructure, there should be adequate emphasis on
developing human capacity and creating ICT applications and digital content in
local language, where appropriate, so as to ensure a comprehensive approach to
building a global Information Society.
15. Recognizing the principles of
universal and non-discriminatory access to ICTs for all nations, the need to
take into account the level of social and economic development of each country,
and respecting the development-oriented aspects of the Information Society,
we underscore that ICTs are effective tools to promote peace, security and
stability, to enhance democracy, social cohesion, good governance and the rule
of law, at national, regional and international levels. ICTs can be used to
promote economic growth and enterprise development. Infrastructure development,
human capacity building, information security and network security are critical
to achieve these goals. We further recognize the need to effectively
confront challenges and threats resulting from the use of ICTs for purposes that
are inconsistent with objectives of maintaining international stability and
security and may adversely affect the integrity of the infrastructure within
States, to the detriment of their security. It is necessary to prevent the abuse
of information resources and technologies for criminal and terrorist purposes,
while respecting human rights.
16. We further commit
ourselves to evaluate and follow up progress in bridging the digital divide,
taking into account different levels of development, so as to reach
internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the
Millennium Development Goals, and to assess the effectiveness of investment and
international cooperation efforts in building the Information Society.
17. We urge governments,
using the potential of ICTs, to create public systems of information on laws and
regulations, envisaging a wider development of public access points and
supporting the broad availability of this information.
18. We shall strive
unremittingly, therefore, to promote universal, ubiquitous, equitable and
affordable access to ICTs, including universal design and assistive
technologies, for all people, especially those with disabilities, everywhere, to
ensure that the benefits are more evenly distributed between and within
societies, and to bridge the digital divide in order to create digital
opportunities for all and benefit from the potential offered by ICTs for
international community should take necessary measures to ensure that all
countries of the world have equitable and affordable access to ICTs, so that
their benefits in the fields of socio-economic development and bridging the
digital divide are truly inclusive.
20. To that end, we shall pay
particular attention to the special needs of marginalized and vulnerable
groups of society including migrants, internally displaced persons and refugees,
unemployed and underprivileged people, minorities and nomadic people, older
persons and persons with disabilities.
21. To that
end, we shall
pay special attention to the particular needs of people of developing
countries, countries with economies in transition, Least Developed Countries,
Small Island Developing States, Landlocked Developing Countries, Highly Indebted
Poor Countries, countries and territories under occupation, and countries
recovering from conflict or natural disasters.
22. In the evolution of the
Information Society, particular attention must be given to the special situation
of indigenous peoples, as well as to the preservation of their heritage and
their cultural legacy.
23. We recognize that a
gender divide exists as part of the digital divide in society and we reaffirm
our commitment to women’s empowerment and to a gender equality perspective, so
that we can overcome this divide. We further acknowledge that the full
participation of women in the Information Society is necessary to ensure the
inclusiveness and respect for human rights within the Information Society. We
encourage all stakeholders to support women’s participation in
decision-making processes and to contribute to shaping all spheres of the
Information Society at international, regional and national levels.
24. We recognize the role
of ICTs in the protection of children and in enhancing the development of
children. We will strengthen action to protect children from abuse and
defend their rights in the context of ICTs. In that context, we emphasize
that the best interests of the child are a primary consideration.
25. We reaffirm our commitment
to empowering young people as key contributors to building an inclusive
Information Society. We will actively engage youth in innovative
ICT-based development programmes and widen opportunities for youth to be
involved in e-strategy processes.
26. We recognize the
importance of creative content and applications to overcome the digital divide
and to contribute to the achievement of the internationally agreed development
goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals.
27. We recognize that
equitable and sustainable access to information requires the implementation of
strategies for the long-term preservation of the digital information that is
28. We reaffirm our desire
to build ICT networks and develop applications, in partnership with the private
sector, based on open or interoperable standards that are affordable and
accessible to all, available anywhere and anytime, to anyone and on any device,
leading to a ubiquitous network.
29. Our conviction is that
governments, the private sector, civil society, the scientific and academic
community, and users can utilize various technologies and licensing models,
including those developed under proprietary schemes and those developed under
open-source and free modalities, in accordance with their interests and with the
need to have reliable services and implement effective programmes for their
people. Taking into account the importance of proprietary software in the
markets of the countries, we reiterate the need to encourage and foster
collaborative development, inter-operative platforms and free and open-source
software, in ways that reflect the possibilities of different software models,
notably for education, science and digital inclusion programmes.
30. Recognizing that
disaster mitigation can significantly support efforts to bring about sustainable
development and help in poverty reduction, we reaffirm our commitment to leveraging ICT capabilities and potential through fostering and strengthening
cooperation at the national, regional, and international levels.
31. We commit ourselves to
work together towards the implementation of the Digital Solidarity Agenda, as
agreed in paragraph 27 of the Geneva Plan of Action. The full and
quick implementation of that agenda, observing good governance at all levels,
requires in particular a timely, effective, comprehensive and durable solution
to the debt problems of developing countries where appropriate, a universal,
rule-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system,
that can also stimulate development worldwide, benefiting countries at all
stages of development, as well as, to seek and effectively implement concrete
international approaches and mechanisms to increase international cooperation
and assistance to bridge the digital divide.
32. We further commit
ourselves to promote the inclusion of all peoples in the Information Society
through the development and use of local and/or indigenous languages in ICTs.
We will continue our efforts to protect and promote cultural diversity, as
well as cultural identities, within the Information Society.
33. We acknowledge that,
while technical cooperation can help, capacity building at all levels is needed
to ensure that the required institutional and individual expertise is available.
34. We recognize the need for,
and strive to mobilize resources, both human and financial, in accordance
with Chapter Two of the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society,
to enable us to increase the use of ICTs for development and realize the short-,
medium- and long-term plans dedicated to building the Information Society as
follow-up and implementation of the outcomes of WSIS.
35. We recognize the
central role of public policy in setting the framework in which resource
mobilization can take place.
36. We value the potential
of ICTs to promote peace and to prevent conflict which, inter alia,
negatively affects achieving development goals. ICTs can be used for identifying
conflict situations through early-warning systems preventing conflicts,
promoting their peaceful resolution, supporting humanitarian action, including
protection of civilians in armed conflicts, facilitating peacekeeping missions,
and assisting post-conflict peace-building and reconstruction.
37. We are convinced that
our goals can be accomplished through the involvement, cooperation and
partnership of governments and other stakeholders, i.e. the private sector,
civil society and international organizations, and that international
cooperation and solidarity at all levels are indispensable if the fruits of the
Information Society are to benefit all.
38. Our efforts should not
stop with the conclusion of the Summit. The emergence of the global Information
Society to which we all contribute provides increasing opportunities for all our
peoples and for an inclusive global community that were unimaginable only a few
years ago. We must harness these opportunities today and support their
further development and progress.
39. We reaffirm our strong
resolve to develop and implement an effective and sustainable response to the
challenges and opportunities of building a truly global Information Society that
benefits all our peoples.
40. We strongly believe in
the full and timely implementation of the decisions we took in
Geneva and Tunis, as outlined in the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society.
Tunis, 18 November 2005