By Karen Banks, Willie Currie, Anriette Esterhuysen LONDON, United Kingdom, 10 May 2006
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process culminated in the Tunis Summit in November 2005. We are now five months into the post-WSIS implementation phase.
Civil society, in its final statement on WSIS, expressed its commitment to continue “its involvement in the future mechanisms for policy debate, implementation and follow-up on Information Society issues” by building on the processes and structures that developed during the WSIS process.
But what does that mean in practice? What are the post-WSIS implementation processes, what actors are involved, when and where are they taking place and how can you get involved?
We hope the following short overview sheds some light on these questions, as well as other questions civil society actors have, as we prepare for the first intensive series of post-WSIS panels, workshops and consultations scheduled in May and June 2006.
WSIS implementation – what are the main areas of activity?
There are two areas of activity in the ‘official’ WSIS implementation process: the Tunis Agenda2 (based on the Geneva Action Plan3) and internet governance4. But there are other areas of activity that do not, or may not, fall within the official implementation process. For example, activities continue around the ‘Digital Solidarity Fund’. In addition, there is a multiplicity of UN agencies and other bodies involved in coordination, oversight and monitoring. Understanding how it all fits together requires quite some time and effort, which most of us do not have.
Before reading the following article, you may want to look at a chart which outlines all areas of formal WSIS related activity, as well as the actors involved in coordination, the system-wide monitoring mechanism and key dates for 2006 meetings. This chart has been compiled by Phillipe Dam of the Conference of non-governmental organisations (CONGO) and Karen Banks from APC. It provides a one-page overview of the WSIS follow-up landscape.
General overview of the WSIS implementation process (chart): http://www.wsis-cs.org/Chart_post_WSIS_final.html