The second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) has ended, with participating States agreeing on a range of measures to broaden access to information networks and technology to poor communities. An outcome document, The Tunis Commitment, has been released.
The Summit built on the work done at the first phase of the WSIS, where participants affirmed the importance of bridging the so called “digital divide” that divides poor communities from affluent ones through their lack of access to such technology.
*”We reaffirm the commitments made in Geneva and built on them in Tunis,”* the Commitment says *”by focusing on financial mechanisms for bridging the digital divide, on Internet governance and related issues, as well as on follow-up and implementation of the Geneva and Tunis decisions.”*
Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) commented on the accomplishments at Tunis, stressing that although WSIS was the culmination of a seven-year process, the work to connect the world electronically was only just starting. He said States have agreed on numerous action lines to translate commitments into reality. ITU will take full responsibility for two of those action lines: developing infrastructure and building confidence in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). Stocktaking would also get under way to examine the feasibility of new commitments made at Tunis.
A Global Internet Governance Forum has been created, and Mr. Utsumi further said this signified a recognition that no single government should play a dominant role in the decentralized future of the network.