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WSIS and governance of the internet
The UN-initiated WSIS is being held in two phases spanning a period of over three years. The first phase culminated with a summit in Geneva in December 2003, while the second phase will conclude in Tunis in November 2005. The Geneva summit produced two documents: a Declaration of Principles, which provides a statement of the political will to establish an information society for all, and a Plan of Action, which recommends specific actions that have to be taken to achieve that political vision.2 Internet governance was one of two issues (the other being the implementation of new financing mechanisms for ICT development) on which governments were unable to reach agreement during the Geneva phase, and it will be one of the key issues at the Tunis summit.
Early in the preparatory process for the Geneva summit, governments took opposing positions on what they considered the problems of Internet governance. Unable to reach agreement, they approached the UN Secretary General to set up what has since become the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG)3 to develop a working definition of Internet governance and to identify the public policy issues involved. The working group was formally established on 12 November 2004, leaving it little time to accomplish a difficult and complex task. It operates independently of the WSIS preparatory process, thus it has been able to adopt a more open and transparent multi-stakeholder approach rather than the formal intergovern-mental negotiating style used in WSIS. The working group will present its report at WSIS Tunis.