Whose Summit? Whose Information Society?

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By David Souter (APC)
, January 2007

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) has been roundly criticised in the past and this new study from APC concludes that the summit “is not the best starting point for new action.” So, what is the point of looking at how developing country delegations and civil society fared at the summit? Because, says the author “it is always important to learn from experience – particularly where it did not deliver up to expectations.”

The book “Whose Summit? Whose Information Society? Developing countries and civil society at the World Summit on the Information Society”, commissioned by APC and written by David Souter draws on participants’ observations, detailed interviews with forty key actors and case studies of experiences rooted in five developing countries.

WSIS holds many lessons for developing countries and civil society organisations aiming to exert greater influence in international ICT decision-making fora. Some lessons demonstrate what worked well – such as the highly successful, multi-stakeholder Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The majority illustrate what did not work so well – not least, holding a four-year long meeting on such a fast-changing topic.

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