V3 Monday 28 January 2008
WebForce International Contribution
ITU Council Working Group on WSIS
25 &28 January 2008, ITU, Geneva, Switzerland
Introduction : This short and exploratory contribution is made by Dr. Francis Muguet, under the aegis
of WebForce International, ITU sector member, that is kindly acknowledged.
There are currently some brainstorming activities being conducted in various UN agencies and
programs about ways to bring more dynamics into the implementation and follow-up of the WSIS, and
in particular into the annual c luster of W
SIS related events held in May in Geneva. This brief note
wishes to contribute to those brainstorming efforts.
Reflecting on the large attendance of yet another WSIS implementation process : the Internet
overnance Forum ( IGF
) , it is suggested to repackage the c luster of W
SIS related events into an
Information Society Forum ( ISF) or a Forum with any other appropriate name (eg. WSIS Forum ).
The ISF might not have the same legal status, mandate, organization as the IGF, but in terms of
appeal and public relations, it would certainly empower the global dynamics of the WSIS
implementation. The ISF should be light weight structure. A cost-saving ISF secretariat could be
constituted, relying on existing personnel scattered among various agencies such as, inter alia : ITU,
UNCTAD and UNESCO, that are already organizing the WSIS cluster. One or two interns could be
added to provide a permanent support. The organization should be inclusive and transparent to all
In terms of practical organization, there would be little to be added to the existing logistics of
the Cluster. There are already "plenary" events such as the WSIS Action Lines Facilitators Meeting and
the Ceremony of the World Information Society Award. It is suggested just to add global opening and
closing ceremonies, and a plenary wrap-up session regrouping all stakeholders.
It is kindly suggested that the ITU Council Working Group on WSIS gives mandate to the ITU
Secretary-General to organize the ITU participation to the ISF, on the basis of more detailed proposals
from all stakeholders.
In relationship to the creation within ITU of a dedicated group on Internet issues, as proposed
by France ( WG-WSIS- 12/9 ), for example as a subgroup of the WG-WSIS. or as a focus group or
study group elsewhere, it is suggested that this new group should operate within a full and inclusive
multi-stakeholder approach. In reference to the paragraph 61 of the Tunis Agenda, the creation of this
group may be envisaged and indeed appears as a fully justified mechanism that should embody a
transparent, democratic, and multilateral process, with the participation of governments, private
sector, civil society and international organizations, in their respective roles.
Lastly, we wish to bring the attention of the Council Working Group on the Digital World
Forum on Accessible and Inclusive ICT project ( see also PC4D ), which is a FP7 project in the field
of Information and Communication Technologies ( ICT-2007.9.1 International Cooperation:
Development-related ICT research exploitation and cooperation roadmaps ), that just started on January
2008. Collaboration with ITU efforts to bridge the Digital Divide ( Connecting the unconnected by
2015 ) should be explored both in terms of process and events.