The UN General Assembly Resolution 56/183 (21 December 2001) endorsed the holding of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in two phases. The first phase took place in Geneva hosted by the Government of Switzerland from 10 to 12 December 2003 and the second phase will take place in Tunis hosted by the Government of Tunisia
A High-Level Summit Organizing Committee (HLSOC) has been established under the patronage of Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General. Its purpose is to coordinate the efforts of the international United Nations family in the preparation, organization and holding of WSIS. The UN agency that holds the leading role in the organization of the Summit is the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), based in Geneva ( Switzerland). An Executive Secretariat (WSIS-ES) based at the ITU headquarters has been established under the authority of the HLSOC to assist in the preparation of the Summit. The host countries, Switzerland and Tunisia, have also established Executive Secretariats.
Phase 1: Geneva, 10-12 December 2003
The objective of the first phase was to develop and foster a clear statement of political will and take concrete steps to establish the foundations for an Information Society for all, reflecting all the different interests at stake. At the Geneva Phase of WSIS nearly 50 Heads of state/government and Vice-Presidents, 82 Ministers, and 26 Vice-Ministers and Heads of delegation from 175 countries as well as high-level representatives from international organizations, private sector, and civil society provided political support to the WSIS Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action that were adopted on 12 December 2003. More than 11,000 participants from 175 countries attended the Summit and related events. The scope and nature of this ambitious project requires new public-private partnerships, many of which were formalized during the Geneva Summit. Some of them were specifically targeted at bridging the digital divide.
Phase 2: Tunis, 16-18 November 2005
The road to Tunis entails a process of monitoring and evaluation of the progress of feasible actions laid out in the Geneva Plan and a concrete set of deliverables that must be achieved by the time the Summit meets again in Tunis in November 2005. Efforts are now being made to put the Plan of Action into motion and w orking groups are being set up to find solutions and reach agreements in the fields of Internet governance and financing mechanisms. These working groups will provide inputs to the second phase of WSIS in Tunis. Also, measures will be taken to bridge the digital divide and hasten the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals with the help of ICTs.