report 15 November 2005

WSIS: Civil Society Plenary

2005-11-16 00:00:00

Five PM local time, Civil Society at large found itself cramed in for a two hour report on government discussions on Internet Governance and Follow-up processes, a forthcoming Shadow Report to be produced by Civil Society on the WSIS as a whole and the ever polemical Citizen Summit.

Report on Internet Governance Process

A few hours away from the official opening of the Summit, government delegations are still negotiating the text around proposal for alternative governance processes of the Internet. Adam Peake reported in an upbeat manner that although the debate is still very much going, governments now recognise that Internet Governance goes beyond allocation of numbers and the narrow remit of ICANN. On the table, the possibility of a Governance Forum that would include a multistakeholder approach where concerns and issues from all sectors could be raised. The format of such a forum is still unclear and the US are still not on board. We should expect for discussions to last until Friday 18th November, the last day of the Summit.

Follow up mechanisms to WSIS

Originally not a matter for discussion, governments have now accepted that after four years of intense negotiations a follow up process is needed. Bertrand de La Chapelle coordinated Civil Society's input in the discussion. As upbeat as the previous rapporteur, Bertand reported that Civil Society concerns were integrated in the governmental negotiations and that a multistakeholder approach was prefered, however there is still a long way to go. It is unclear if a final document on format and processes will be finalised by the end of the Summit and there is overall agreement that the process will go on during 2006 with the aim of a final forum by the next ECOSOC meeting in July 2006. The main issue remains whether Civil Society will stay committed in the process beyond WSIS.

Civil Society Shadow Report

It is customary for Civil Society to produce its own report regarding any UN Summit, usually launched in parrallel with the official governments report. However, whilst including the lessons learnt throughout phase 1 and phase 2 (incorporating some of the excellent documentation put forward during the two phases), this document wants to look forward and asking of Civil Society and governments: where next? The Content and Theme group will be gathering input from all Caucuses in the next few days to try to deliver a document by the end of this week. Due to the poor level of logistics at the venue (small meeting rooms, poor access to interpretation, etc...), this will be a sign-on document only, where organisations that agree with the spirit of the document will be able to show their support.

Citizen Summit

Chantal Peyer from the organising committee of the Citizen Summit on the Information Society reported on the various difficulties that the group has encountered since deciding on hosting this parrallel summit outside the walls of the WSIS. However all has failed and currently the coalition has nowhere to host the event. Despite a strong journalistic attendance at a press conference at four PM this afternoon and the tacit support of many official delegations, it has been impossible to engage in any meaningful preparation for the meeting. Chantal called for all involved in the WSIS process inside and outside to lobby their national delegations to ensure that the Citizen Summit can take place. This intervention was followed by many interventions from Tunisian NGO representatives stating that the space for democratic and free debate is inside the official venue (KRAM). In the words of one Tunisian delegate, "la Tunisie est un pays de droit ou on ne peut pas agir comme on veut".


Más información

Enlaces informativos sobre la CMSI (Túnez 2005)