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APC Special Round-Up Report on WSIS

chip | 13.01.2004 17:15 | WSIS 2003 | Globalisation | Indymedia | Technology | London

APC Special Round-Up on WSIS
December 03

Policy decisions being made today will impact on the peoples of the world's ability and potential to use ICTs as tools in their work tomorrow. At the United Nations' World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) -held December 10-12 in Geneva- governments signed a declaration that will enhance or hinder access to ICTs for the vast majority of the world's population. APC has been actively participating in the WSIS process and helping others get involved by producing resources, websites and guides. As the dust begins to settle, APCNews brings you a collection of some of the significant events and issues at WSIS.

ON THE ISSUES -- Frustrated by UN summit, civil society presents its own declaration

GENEVA, December 11 2003 -- At a conference this afternoon, civil society representatives presented an 'alternative' declaration to the official Declaration expected to be approved by the world's governments tomorrow at the final day of the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva.

The civil society declaration -called "Shaping information societies for human needs"- was needed because the process has constantly been disillusioning and frustrating said representatives at the heavily-attended conference. They recognised that some impact was made on the official WSIS Declaration especially involving the vision and the principles, which were previously technocratic and have become more human-centred. However, the civil society declaration goes further, calling for information societIES that are free from discrimination, violence and hatred, and based on a framework of social, political and economic justice and a more equitable distribution of resources. -

The first phase of the controversial World Summit on the Information Society has come to a close. Firm decisions on various important issues (including future governance of the Internet) have largely been left for the next WSIS phase, which is scheduled to take place in Tunisia on November 16-18 2005.

UN summit pledges net for all Delegates at UN's digital divide summit agree on principles of web equality, but fail to commit on who pays for them. - BBC Online

Another online world is possible but only if governments and civil society work hand-in-hand

GENEVA, December 12 2003 -- Carlos Afonso, Director of Planning at APC member in Brazil, RITS (Rede de Informações para o Terceiro Setor - Information Network for the Third Sector) left government delegates clear during his speech on behalf of civil society at the Plenary Session of the World Summit on the Information Society that "digital inclusion [..] will only be possible with the decisive support of a national public policy, in partnership with civil society." Carlos's powerful speech was delivered spontaneously and without notes. Fortunately it was captured on tape and translated into English by APC.

Digital Fund: Digital Dilemma GENEVA, December 9 2003 -- The squabbling over whether industrialised countries should help pay for technology infrastructure in the South continues to deflect attention from the potential of ICTs in development. --IPS

Digital Fund: Back to the future

GENEVA, December 10 2003 -- After postponing the decision on management of the internet, WSIS negotiators have put the digital fund on hold. Will the idea for a digital fund end its life gathering dust on a bureaucrat's shelf? That's the question many delegates must be asking themselves after Tuesday's press conference detailing the outcome of talks on the matter. - IPS

Telecentres to Narrow Digital Divide

GENEVA, December 9 2003 -- Several Latin American governments are setting up telecentres where people can surf the Internet, often free of charge, in an attempt to narrow the digital divide within their societies, which is perhaps larger than the gap that separates them from the industrialised world. -- IPS

ESPAÑOL: COMUNICACIONES: Infocentros para reducir brecha digital

Internet Reform: Who Should Master the Domains?

The Summit Begins GENEVA, December 10 2003 -- Today, December 10th at 14:00, the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) officially began - after a preparatory process that was longer that foreseen, due to difficulty in reaching a consensus on the Declaration of Principles and the Action Plan, the final documents to be discussed and sanctioned by the heads of government present in Geneva. - RITS


APC Women's Networking Support Programme (APC WSNP) celebrates a decade of empowering women through information and communications technologies

GENEVA, 11 December 2003 -- The APC Women's Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP) celebrated ten remarkable years of working to make ICTs accessible to women yesterday at the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva.

In honour, they hosted a day-long series of panels, workshops and presentations which included a Gender and ICT award winners panel, a presentation on the WNSP's innovative gender evaluation methodology for ICTs which included the experiences of GEM testers from several continents, a session on free and open source software for African women from APC-Africa-Women, and the WENT Asia fifth anniversary awards. - APCNews

Winners of the APC WNSP/GKP Gender and ICT Awards announced in Geneva

GENEVA, December 11 2003 -- The Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) held the Awards Ceremony for the winners of the awards for gender, youth, media and poverty reduction. During the Awards Ceremony, APC executive director, Anriette Esterhuysen, and Women's Programme coordinator, Chat Garcia Ramilo, announced the winners of the Gender and ICT Awards on behalf of APC. - APC WNSP

APC introduced our new book - "ICT Policy: A Beginner's Handbook"

APC's new book lays out the issues and dispenses with the jargon to encourage more people to get involved in ICT policy processes. It's a book for people who feel that ICT policy is important but don't know much about it, e.g. a government official worried about a gap in her technical knowledge of how the internet works, a human-rights worker concerned that his need to send secure email is being challenged by national government policy, a citizen fed up with paying exorbitant rates for dial-up internet access and ready to organise... It's not a map but it is a compass.

An interview with the editor of "ICT Policy: A Beginner's Handbook"

APCNews asked the editor of APC's new book "ICT Policy: A Beginner's Handbook" Chris Nicol to comment briefly on motivation behind the handbook which was published in December. - APCNews

APC at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, December 5 2003 - A run-down of the main APC activities at WSIS. APC was at stand 842 in the Human Capacity & Empowerment street at the ICT4D Platform in the Palexpo, Geneva.


A privacy threat to WSIS participants is exposed

An international group of independent researchers attending the Word Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) has revealed important technical and legal flaws, relating to data protection and privacy, in the security system used to control access to the UN Summit. The system not only fails to guarantee the promised high levels of security but also introduces the ery real possibility of constant surveillance of the representatives of the civil society. - Alberto Escudero-Pascual

Thousands of newspapers critical of next WSIS host are removed from 'information society' summit

GENEVA, December 18 2003 -- APC's partner IPS (InterPress Service) sent a letter of complaint to the Secretary General of the ITU (organisers of last week's World Summit on the Information Society) following the removal of many hundreds of their independent newspapers, Terra Viva, by Tunisians trying to suppress criticism of their government. The same people were disrupting meetings critical of the Tunisian human rights record, including the World Forum on Communication Rights which also took place last week in Geneva. - APCNews

Goodbye Geneva, hello Tunis!

GENEVA, December 12 2003 -- Representatives at the Tunisian stand were wreathed in smiles yesterday, as they prepared to welcome the world at WSIS 2005. But while negotiators have managed to sweep tough issues under the carpet this time around, it may not be as easy during the second phase of the summit. -- IPS


Philippine ICT policy framework checked against WSIS yardstick

Several issues which civil society has been advocating in WSIS negotiations are not adequately addressed in the current ICT policy framework of the Philippine government. This was the general observation that surfaced in a workshop which the Foundation for Media Alternatives organized to open up discussions on WSIS and its impact on local policies here. - FMA

South Korea ICT activists launch online guide to human rights in the information society

APC member in South Korea, Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet' launched an online guide to human rights in the Information society on December 10th, 2003, the 55th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. - JinboNet

Launch of Brazil's first Observatory of Public Policies on Infoinclusion

APC's member in Brazil, RITS, has set up the OPPI site as a web-based tool for monitoring, analyzing and undertaking projects and policies which contribute to infoinclusion, as well as covering other issues related to democratization of ICTs in Brazil. - RITS


Declaration and action plan in five languages:|1160.asp

Civil society representatives presented an 'alternative' declaration to the official Declaration. The document, "Shaping information societies for human needs", was based on the "Essential Benchmarks" which outlined what civil society representatives wanted to see in the official WSIS documents and was presented to government delegates in the resumed third preparatory committee meeting in November 2003. Civil society representatives will use the benchmarks to measure the actual impact of the official Declaration and Action Plan.

The civil society declaration:

Essential benchmarks:


Official WSIS site:

The World Summit on the Information Society Civil Society Meeting Point:

Communication Rights in the Information Society - CRIS Campaign:

WSIS Civil Society News Centre:

The Daily Summit - daily news coverage of the WSIS:

Terraviva: The independent daily at the WSIS Onsite coverage included stories in English and French from the IPS news agency in partnership with InfoSud and with African Woman and Child Feature Service. You can read the stories and also download pdf files of the newspaper as it appeared at the summit in Geneva.

Coverage on WSIS in Spanish from Choike:

Coverage in Portuguese from RITS is featured in Cidadania:

APC coverage of WSIS:

and in Spanish

APC WNSP (Women's Networking Support Programme) at the WSIS: