APCNews - March 2005 - No. 51



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                     SPECIAL EDITION
     WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY PREPCOM 2
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            *APCNews, the monthly newsletter of the
       Association for Progressive Communications (APC)*
                 - March 2005 No. 51 -
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--THE ISSUES: INTERNET GOVERNANCE & FINANCING ICT FOR DEVELOPMENT--
--PREPCOM 2 FROM DIFFERENT GEOGRAPHICAL PERSPECTIVES--
--HUMAN RIGHTS & WSIS--
--MULTISTAKEHOLDER PARTNERSHIPS--
--THE PEOPLE AT THE PREPCOM --
--RECOMMENDED READING—-
--WANT TO FIND OUT MORE? WSIS-RELATED WEBSITES--
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-- WSIS UPDATE II: World Summit on the Information Society ­ PrepCom 2 --

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is a United Nations
conference with the objective of developing a global framework to deal with
challenges posed by new information and communication technologies (ICTs).
The WSIS is a two phase process: the first one took place in Geneva in
December 2003 and the second will take place in Tunisia in November 2005.

 From 17 to 25 February 2005, the WSIS second preparatory committee for the
second phase, known as PrepCom 2, took place in Geneva. Last month, APCNews
brought you resources and information on the issues to be covered in the
PrepCom, now we bring you news, reports and interviews from the PrepCom
attendees. http://www.apc.org/english/wsis/

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--THE ISSUES: INTERNET GOVERNANCE & FINANCING ICT FOR DEVELOPMENT--

During the first phase of the summit in Geneva, governments were unable to
agree on the language included in the official documents on two issues ­
internet governance (who controls) ­ and financing mechanisms (who pays),
including the creation of a Digital Solidarity Fund for Africa. Since then
two working groups have been mandated to discuss various options and bring
recommendations back to stakeholders for further deliberation. PrepCom 2
was dominated by the presentation of the report of the financing working
group and the consequent debate.  The internet governance working group
will present its final report at PrepCom 3 in September.


--FINANCING ICT FOR DEVELOPMENT--

APC REPORT: Finance of information and communication technologies for
development (ICTD) at Prepcom 2

"Internet Governance is Important…it would have been more so, if people HAD
the Internet…LET'S TALK FINANCING FIRST!" proclaimed a t-shirt worn at
PrepCom 2. Who will finance info technology for development is an intensely
ideological issue. WSIS 1 established a Task Force on Financial Mechanisms
to break the deadlock amongst governments and to make recommendations for
WSIS 2 to adopt. Those recommendations were presented and debated at
PrepCom 2. This report from APC looks at the issues on (and off) the table.
http://www.apc.org/english/news/index.shtml?x=31483


OPINION: The Digital Solidarity Fund and The Economist

APC's policy manager, Willie Currie, responds to an editorial on the
digital divide from The Economist magazine in which it derided the Digital
Solidarity Fund which had been welcomed by governments at the WSIS Prepcom 2.
http://www.apc.org/english/news/index.shtml?x=31481

--INTERNET GOVERNANCE--

APC REPORT: The internet governance debate is one where civil society
advocates can make a real difference

Internet governance brings together two largely impenetrable realms for the
average WSIS delegate: the nuts and bolts of the internet - what it is, how
it works- and who manages those nuts and bolts. It is too early to predict
what the final impact of the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG)
will be. But there is no doubt that it has created a much-needed space. "At
a time of global malaise, indifference and lack of faith and legitimacy in
many of our global and national governance institutions, the internet
governance debate is one where civil society advocates can make a real
difference," concludes APC in this new report which covers the main
developments in the internet governance debate.
http://www.apc.org/english/news/index.shtml?x=31485 (without footnotes)
http://rights.apc.org/documents/internet_gov_0305_EN.pdf (with footnotes)


INTERVIEW: Markus Kummer, coordinator of the internet governance working
group ­ Diplomacy at the cutting edge

As executive coordinator of the Secretariat of the Working Group on
Internet Governance (WGIG), Markus Kummer prepares sessions, facilitates
their work and writes up their reports after meetings. But, as he explains
to Maud Hand in a quiet moment prior to PrepCom 2, Phase 2, unlike the
classical secretariat tasks of any international working group, the
multi-stakeholder make up of WGIG makes for a very different job.
http://www.apc.org/english/news/index.shtml?x=31487


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--PREPCOM 2 FROM DIFFERENT GEOGRAPHICAL PERSPECTIVES--

WSIS PrepCom 2: A South Asian perspective

A divergent discourse between what governments say in Switzerland and what
they say at home, the almost complete lack of interaction between
government and civil society representatives and an absence of civil
society voices from the non-technical sector, characterised the South Asian
presence in Geneva conclude Bangalore activists, IT for Change.
http://www.apc.org/english/news/index.shtml?x=31489


WSIS PrepCom 2: A Latin American civil society perspective

Olinca Marino from LaNeta, APC member in Mexico, has been following the
WSIS process since its beginning. In this report she comments on the united
front shown by Latin American governments at PrepCom 2 but notes that the
front begins to fall apart significantly in two areas that civil society
activists care passionately about ­ free software and community radio.
http://www.apc.org/english/news/index.shtml?x=31491


WSIS PrepCom 2: A Bulgarian civil society perspective

Milena Bokova, executive director of the BlueLink Information Network, a
digital network supporting environmentalists and civil society in Bulgaria,
had the opportunity to participate in PrepCom 2. She shares some
reflections with APCNews as an East European civil society activist and a
new participant in the WSIS process.
http://www.apc.org/english/news/index.shtml?x=31493


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--HUMAN RIGHTS & WSIS--

IL FAIT BON VIVRE EN TUNISIE? The state of human rights in Tunisia, host of
the next World Summit on the Information Society

Attendees at the recent phase of WSIS couldn't fail to notice the prolific
presence of Tunisian delegates. From civil society plenaries through
gatherings over coffee to the government sessions, they had their say in
preparation for the November summit. But can a country whose government
censors journalists, curtails web access and imprisons internet users
without trial, be a fit host for the UN's World Summit on the Information
Society? Maud Hand seeks answers to one of the hottest questions of Prepcom
2 for APCNews.
http://www.apc.org/english/news/index.shtml?x=31495


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--MULTISTAKEHOLDER PARTNERSHIPS—-

The WSIS is unique in UN processes because it is a 'multi-stakeholder
process' - including the voices of governments, the private sector and
civil society in the deliberations.

Multi-stakeholder participation and ICT policy processes

The complexity of the WSIS process has been discussed extensively. But APC
executive director Anriette Esterhuysen questions whether the WSIS is
*uniquely* complex. In this article for APCNews she explores
multistakeholder participation in policy processes, particularly at
national level, and examines consensus and conflict in the WSIS civil
society space and why the issue of collaboration with the private sector
has become so contentious.
http://www.apc.org/english/news/index.shtml?x=31497


Resources on multi-stakeholder participation in UN processes

As part of our involvement in the WSIS, and our policy advocacy capacity
building work at national and regional levels, APC has started to gather a
list of resources on the topic. We want to thank members of the WSIS CS
Plenary online space for their contributions.  The list is a work in
progress; do not expect it to be comprehensive.  Please send additions to
networking at apc.org.
http://www.apc.org/english/news/index.shtml?x=31498


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--THE PEOPLE AT THE PREPCOM --

ICTs for Grassroots: Women from South Asia

Like bright flowers in a grey space, the grassroots women of India livened
up February's Prepcom proceedings and it wasn't just their stylish saris
that did the trick. Undaunted by the suits and officialdom of Geneva's UN
machinery, these Indian representatives vigorously demonstrated the value
of ICTs in their working lives and made a cogent case for finances to build
more equitable ICT infrastructures in developing countries like India. Over
chappatis and chi, they shared their stories with Maud Hand for APCNews.
http://www.apc.org/english/news/index.shtml?x=31500


Interview with Ayesha Hassan, leader of the business sector at WSIS

When Ayesha Hassan contributed to the Open Consultations on Internet
Governance in the run up to WSIS, it was clear that the business sector's
concerns were in competent hands. This stylishly suited lawyer, a Senior
Policy Manager on ICT for the International Chamber of Commerce, leads the
CCBI -  the Co-ordinating Committee of Business Interlocutors at the
conference. Maud Hand hears how this business interlocutor stays in command
of her committee during PrepCom 2.
http://www.apc.org/english/news/index.shtml?x=31501


WSIS - Snapshots from PrepCom 2

Maud Hand talked to more than 20 representatives from civil society,
government, the business sector to bring you this snapshot of views and
opinions from the people on the ground in Geneva at Prepcom 2 in February 2005.
http://www.apc.org/english/wsis/prepcom2/


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--RECOMMENDED READING—-

THEMATIC REPORTS: Reports on PrepCom 2 that we particularly recommend
include the excellent series from Sally Burch of ALAI, Ecuador and Nestor
Busso of ALER, Argentina supported by grants from the CRIS Campaign and EED
and collected on the CRIS website.

Sally Burch's reports:

Civil society reorganizing around content
http://www.crisinfo.org/content/view/full/733 [English]
http://www.crisinfo.org/content/view/full/736  [Spanish]
Cultural diversity and education
http://www.crisinfo.org/content/view/full/7337  [English]
Financial mechanisms - no commitments
http://www.crisinfo.org/content/view/full/743 [English]
Internet governance - issues of democracy and human rights
http://www.crisinfo.org/content/view/full/748  [English]
ICTs: Funding, development and democracy
http://www.crisinfo.org/content/view/full/752  [English]
http://www.crisinfo.org/content/view/full/751  [Spanish]

Nestor Busso's reports:

Comienza el esperado evento
http://www.crisinfo.org/content/view/full/729  [Spanish]
Mecanismos de financiamiento
http://www.crisinfo.org/content/view/full/730  [Spanish]
The game is open
http://www.crisinfo.org/content/view/full/740 [English]
Un lugar para los latinoamericanos
http://www.crisinfo.org/content/view/full/734  [Spanish]
Mirada desde América Latina
http://www.crisinfo.org/content/view/full/738  [Spanish]
Solidaridad digital y radios comunitarias
http://www.crisinfo.org/content/view/full/739  [Spanish]
Defensa firme del software libre
http://www.crisinfo.org/content/view/full/745  [Portuguese]
Un show aparte: De eso no se habla. Esa palabra es fea, fea
http://www.crisinfo.org/content/view/full/746 [Spanish]


OVERVIEW: An overview of PrepCom 2 from Marc Raboy of McGill University, Canada

The second preparatory meeting of the second phase of the World Summit on
the Information Society closed on Friday night with a few cautious steps
forward on intergovernmental projects, a great deal of on-site work by
civil society, and above all a foretaste of what should be an important and
heated debate on Internet governance.
http://www.globalcn.org/en/article.ntd?id=2257&sort=1 [English]
http://www.globalcn.org/en/article.ntd?id=2239&sort=1 [French]


WEBSITE: Worldsummit2005.org

Worldsummit2003.org offers background information and latest news on the
WSIS process and on the issues and debates around the summit. It was set up
by the Heinrich Boell Foundation in February 2003 and is part of the
efforts of the Foundation to spread knowledge and information about the
summit, both in Germany and internationally. The site editors are members
of the German WSIS Civil Society Coordinating Group and are also active in
the international civil society activities on WSIS. All articles by Ralf
Bendrath unless otherwise noted.

Vision lost or Back to Reality? PrepCom2 ends with long "to do" list
http://www.worldsummit2003.de/en/web/732.htm

PrepCom debate on Internet Governance and WGIG preliminary report
http://www.worldsummit2003.de/en/web/730.htm

Quo Vadis: Where do we go from Geneva?, by 'Gbenga Sesan
http://www.worldsummit2003.de/en/web/731.htm

Finance negotiations slow down, but agreement on Digital Solidarity Fund
http://www.worldsummit2003.de/en/web/728.htm

Conference on Freedom of Expression and the Information Society
http://www.worldsummit2003.de/en/web/729.htm

Follow-Up to the UN ICT Task Force discussed
http://www.worldsummit2003.de/en/web/726.htm

PrepCom debate on finance: Night session in Geneva
http://www.worldsummit2003.de/en/web/725.htm

Civil Society event on Financing the Information Society
http://www.worldsummit2003.de/en/web/723.htm

Prepcom 2: Week I Wrap Up, by Rik Panganiban
http://www.worldsummit2003.de/en/web/722.htm

PrepCom2: Debate on financial mechanisms. Strong criticism by Southern
governments
http://www.worldsummit2003.de/en/web/719.htm

Financing Debate Heats Up. Task Force Report critizised, but consensus
emerging?
http://www.worldsummit2003.de/en/web/719.htm

What's next after Tunis phase?, by Johannes Schunter
http://www.worldsummit2003.de/en/web/717.htm

WGIG is finalizing stakeholder input for the upcoming closed debate
http://www.worldsummit2003.de/en/web/716.htm

Post-WSIS follow up process?, by Rik Panganiban
http://www.worldsummit2003.de/en/web/715.htm

What is "Internet Governance? Open consultations dominated by definition
controversy
http://www.worldsummit2003.de/en/web/714.htm

Pre-Prepcom Ramblings and Rumblings, by Rik Panganiban
http://www.worldsummit2003.de/en/web/712.htm


BLOGS: News from WSIS Bloggers

Aggregated WSIS Blog: http://www.edwebproject.org/wsisblogs/

Individual WSIS blogs:

Rik Panganiban  (English)
http://rikomatic.objectis.net/news

Robert Guerra (with mp3s from several civil society meetings)
http://www.privaterra.org/activities/wsis/blog/

Vittorio Bertola (week one ­ special focus on the Working Group on Internet
Governance)
http://hackun.bertola.eu.org/

Markus Beckedahl (week one)
http://www.netzpolitik.org/ [German]

Bruno Oudet
http://reso.blogs.com/smsi/ [French]

Andy Carvin (week two, also podcasting)
http://www.andycarvin.com/

Terri Willard (only known female blogger)
http://taikod.tigblog.org/
WSIS feature at http://www.iisd.org/pdf/2005/commentary_general_2.pdf


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--WANT TO FIND OUT MORE? WSIS-RELATED WEBSITES--

The ITU WSIS website has an extensive section on WSIS related websites
(government, civil society, private sector and other) here
http://www.itu.int/wsis/sites/index.html (summary) and here
http://www.itu.int/wsis/sites/other.html (full list).

Sites of particular note in terms of civil society analysis, perspective
and diversity of languages include:

- Choike - Portal on Southern Civil Societies ­ http://www.choike.org
- Heinrich Boell's Worldsummit2003 and worldsummit2005 -
http://www.worldsummit2005.org/
- Platform for Community Networks: various WSIS-related websites ­
http://www.globalcn.org
- World Forum on Communication Rights: initiated by the Communication
Rights in the Information Society campaign (CRIS) ­ http://www.crisinfo.org
- WSIS in Latin America and the Caribbean from APC's LAC ICT Policy Monitor
http://lac.derechos.apc.org/wsis
- WSIS and Africa from APC's Africa ICT Policy Monitor:
http://africa.rights.apc.org/?apc=he_1&w=s&t=29740

Websites which provide useful practical information on WSIS (including but
not prioritizing analysis) include:

- Civil society Meeting point http://www.wsis-cs.org
- NGLS - UN Non-governmental Liaison Service: Special WSIS page ­
http://www.un-ngls.org/wsis.htm
- wsis-online: consultation process allowing all stakeholders to identify
issues of common concern or interest -  http://www.wsis-online.net/


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APCNews, in English, and APCNoticias, in Spanish, are distributed monthly
by APC ­ a worldwide network supporting the use of internet and ICTs for
social justice and sustainable development since 1990.
APCNews Archive: http://www.apc.org/english/news/apcnews/

Some rights reserved: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial Licence
2.0 2005 Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/




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