Summit on information to draw key public and private sector participants – UN official

28 October 2005

Some 10,000 participants, including 45 national leaders as well as the heads of global corporations, will convene in Tunis in two weeks' time for the second and final phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), a United Nations official involved in organizing the event said in New York today.

Some 10,000 participants, including 45 national leaders as well as the heads of global corporations, will convene in Tunis in two weeks' time for the second and final phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), a United Nations official involved in organizing the event said in New York today.

Heads of State and government, ministers, corporate leaders and other high-level public and private sector officials will focus their discussions on financing and implementing the commitments made during the first phase, which was held in Geneva in 2003, said Arthur Levin, Chief of Coordination, External Relations and Communications of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

He added that the issue of Internet governance will also figure on the agenda of the 16-18 November meeting, which aims to seek ways to provide better access to developing countries to information and communication technologies.

Delegates have largely agreed on language in the final document slated for adoption concerning the question of funding, he said. "The text reinforces the need for financing mechanisms to aid deployment of communications infrastructure throughout the developing world," he told a press conference at United Nations Headquarters.

The outcome on the Internet is unclear, although there is a relatively broad agreement on a working definition of Internet governance, he said.

"There is a need to focus on the technical and economic sides of the Internet so that e-commerce can continue to flourish and that the Internet will remain a system that will be interoperable and easily accessed anywhere from the world," he added.

Concerns that the UN is attempting to take over the Internet do not reflect reality, he said, explaining that the Working Group of Internet Governance (WGIG) has proposed four options to address the issue and none of those involve any particular oversight role for the UN or the creation of a new UN body.

Mr. Levin stressed the importance of communications infrastructure to developing countries. "We hope that there will be a very strong message sent there is really a need to make sure that those citizens of the world that don't have these capabilities and don't have access to these kind of communications have these capabilities in the near future at an affordable cost," he said.

 

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