Report on WSIS PrepCom III

By EDRi · October 5, 2005

The third Preparatory Committee (PrepCom-3) of the Tunis phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) closed its doors Friday night 30 September 2005 after what ITU describes as “two weeks of day and night sessions that saw agreement on large sections of the Summit text, but ultimately disappointing progress on a raft of contentious issues.”

A lot of international media attention was given to the debate about Internet governance between the EU and the US. After the Geneva phase of the WSIS, accommodating the claims from many delegations of the developing world for new management and oversight mechanisms, a multi-stakeholder Working Group on Internet Governance was set up. While the US remained firmly in support of the status quo, on 28 September the UK delegation, speaking on behalf of the European Union, tabled a radical proposal to create a new, multi-stakeholder forum to develop public policy. The proposal specifically addressed the need for international government involvement in the policies for allocation of IP addressing blocks and procedures for changing the root zone file to provide for insertion of new top-level domain names and changes of country-code top level domain name (ccTLDs) managers. With eight proposals now tabled, informal consultations – excluding the participation of civil society, will continue to be held from now until the prior-Summit meeting in Tunis.

The other key agenda items for PrepCom-3 included financing of WSIS Action Plan commitments, and the setting out of future mechanisms for implementation of the Action Plan and the follow-up of the Summit. Here a main stumbling block in negotiations remains the precise role of different agencies, including ITU, in ongoing WSIS activities.

The Prepcom also included:
– An open letter from the WSIS Human Rights Caucus protesting against the continuous resistance by China to accredit Human Rights in China (HRIC) to the WSIS process.

– A Letter of appeal to Kofi Annan on the human rights situation in Tunisia, the host country of the second phase of the Summit, signed by a 100 civil society organisations (see separate item in this EDRI-gram).

– A Side Event on Human Rights in the Information Society, organised by the Human Rights Caucus of civil society.

– A Side Event on Privacy, organised by the Privacy and Security Working group of civil society.

– A number of oral and written interventions on Privacy specifically, and human rights more generally, presented by the Privacy and Security Working Group and the Human Rights Caucus of civil society.

ITU press release on the third PrepCom

European Union proposal for Internet reform (28.09.2005)

Documentation of the WSIS Human Rights Caucus of civil society

Civil society reporting on the WSIS

(Thanks to Rikke Frank Joergensen, EDRI-member Digital Rights Denmark and co-chair of the Human Rights Caucus)