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19 August 2015 | Updated on 29 September 2023

The two-stage World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) took place in 2003 (the Geneva phase) and 2005 (the Tunis phase). It was convened upon the recognition that there was “an urgent need to harness the potential of knowledge and technology for promoting the goals of the United Nations Millennium Declaration.”

WSIS started out as a primarily development-focused process. The Geneva phase resulted in a coordinated international action plan, know as the WSIS Action Lines, for harnessing the use of ICTs for development. However, governance issues became the central focus of the Tunis phase, which set out a definition of internet governance, outlined the roles of different stakeholders, mandated the establishment of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), and initiated the process towards enhanced cooperation.

On 15-16 December 2015, the UN General Assembly held the 10-year review to “take stock of the progress made in the implementation of the outcomes of the WSIS and address potential information and communications technology gaps.” Just as WSIS sought to address pressing internet issues of the day, WSIS+10 addressed the challenges facing today’s global community.

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