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The World Summit on Information Society - WSIS

Resolution 73 (Minneapolis, 1998) of the International Telecommunication Union - ITU - an organisation created in 1865, United Nations specialised agency since 1947 - resolved to instruct the ITU Secretary-General to place the question of the holding of a World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

In 2001, the ITU Council decided to hold the World Summit on the Information Society in two phases. The first phase took place in Geneva (Switzerland) from 10 to 12 December 2003. The second phase was held in Tunis (Tunisia) from 16 to 18 November 2005.

The UN General Assembly Resolution 56/183 (21 December 2001) endorsed the holding of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in two phases. The 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 participation of other stakeholders in the Summit, and finalize both the draft Declaration of Principles and the draft Plan of Action. It invited the ITU to assume the leading managerial role in the Executive Secretariat of the Summit and invited Governments to participate actively in the preparatory process of the Summit and to be represented in the Summit at the highest possible level.

The outcome of the second phase of the WSIS together with the Tunis Commitment and the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society are available at:

ICANN and the WSIS

The WSIS Working Group was self-formed in 2004 by individuals involved in a variety of ICANN stakeholder groups to increase awareness and understanding of the United Nation's World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process and related issues that affect ICANN.

In the ICANN tradition of bottom-up, consensus-based, global participation, the WSIS Working Group has taken the initiative to organize workshops to:

  1. Inform ICANN stakeholders and the broader community about recent developments and upcoming events related to WSIS and ICANN;
  2. Foster a dialogue and mutual understanding of positions of different stakeholders on WSIS as it relates to ICANN and other issues of interest;
  3. Raise awareness of the diverse interests, priorities and activities related to WSIS; and
  4. Enhance stakeholder participation in WSIS as it relates to ICANN's activities.

ICANN WSIS workshops:

  1. Rome, March 2004
  2. Kuala Lumpur, July 2004
  3. Cape Town, December 2004
  4. Mar del Plata, April 2005
  5. ICANN Forum on the Working Group on Internet Governance Report, 13 July 2005, Luxembourg
  6. Vancouver, December 2005
  7. Wellington, March 2006
  8. Marrakech, June 2006

ICANN - WSIS working group members

  • Vittorio Bertola & Izumi Aizu, member of the At-Large Advisory Committee
  • Marilyn Cade, member of the Business Constituency
  • Tony Holmes, member of the Internet Service & Connectivity Providers Constituency
  • Jeff Neuman, NeuLevel, Inc., member of the gTLD Registries Constituency
  • Peter Dengate Thrush, InternetNZ & Chris Disspain, member/Chair of the ccNSO
  • Denise Michel & Theresa Swinehart, ICANN
  • Axel Pawlik & Paul Wilson, Chair/member of the Regional Internet Registries
  • Lucy Nichols, member of the Intellectual Property Constituency
  • Ross Rader, member of the Registrars Constituency

The Working Group on Internet Governance - WGIG

On November 11, 2004, the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, announced the establishment of the Working Group on Internet Governance. The Working Group task was to prepare the ground for a decision on this issue by the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, to be held in Tunis in November 2005.

The task of the Working Group was to organize an open dialogue on Internet governance, among all stakeholders, and to bring recommendations on this subject to the second phase of the Summit.

The two documents adopted by the Geneva Summit - the Declaration of Principles and the Plan of Action - asked the Working Group "to investigate and make proposals for action, as appropriate, on the governance of the Internet by 2005". The Group was requested to:

  • develop a working definition of Internet governance;
  • identify the public policy issues that are relevant to Internet governance;
  • develop a common understanding of the respective roles and responsibilities of governments, international organizations and other forums, as well as the private sector and civil society from both developing and developed countries.

The Working Group on Internet Governance was chaired by Ambassador Nitin Desai, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General for the World Summit. It included 40 members from governments, private sector and civil society, representing all regions.

The final report of the WGIG as well as the background report were released in June 2005 and are available at the WGIG website.

According to the WGIG report: "Internet governance is the development and application by Governments, the private sector and civil society, in their respective roles, of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet."

The Internet Governance Forum

One of the main outcomes of the second phase of the WSIS was the creation of a new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue, the Internet Governance Forum.

All the information regarding the mandate of the IGF, the IGF Advisory Group members, the meetings are available on the IGF website.

The IGF first meeting will be held in Athens from October 30 until November 2, 2006. The overall theme of the meeting will be "Internet Governance for Development". The agenda will be structured along the following broad themes:

  • Openness - Freedom of expression, free flow of information, ideas and knowledge
  • Security - Creating trust and confidence through collaboration
  • Diversity - Promoting multilingualism and local content
  • Access - Internet Connectivity: Policy and Cost Capacity-building will be a cross-cutting priority.

Internet Governance Forum related links

ICANN is co-organising an event in Riga, Latvia, on October 4th , 2006.

The Baltic Region and Eastern Europe International Seminar "The Internet and the post-WSIS environment: enhancing dialogue among the stakeholders"

Chair’s Summary of the Seminar (28K PDF)

ICANN at the Internet Governance Forum, Athens, Greece, 30 October - 2 November 2006 -- Learn more

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