Role of the developing countries in WSIS process

By EDRi · May 10, 2006

A special panel discussed the role of the developing countries in the WSIS
panel at this year conference Computers, Freedom and Privacy 2006 (CFP 2006)
that took place in Washington DC between 2-5 May.

The participants tried to identify what was the place of the developing
countries in shaping the future of the Internet in the WSIS debate and what
were the results of the debate in these countries, but also the role the
Internet could have in the economic and democratic development of these

Bill Drake, director of the project on the Information Revolution and Global
Governance, summarized some of the benefits of the WSIS process, among them
noticing the first high level dialogue in the international arena on the
information society and its role in bringing together civil society active
actors from all over the world and building a real dialogue between them on
several ICT topics. Mr Drake underlined that the main result of the WSIS
process is the process itself, explaining that the Summit was not focused on
creating binding decisions for the international community, as some
Government representatives from developing countries have hoped.

Samia Melhem, Senior Operations Officer at InfoDev presented some of the
benefits of the developing countries involvement in the WSIS process,
including making information society an important discussion topic in the
international arena. She presented also some practical examples from Infodev
experience in promoting information society in developing countries,
focusing on the important policy decisions that are essential for such a

Bardhyl Jashari, director of Metamorphosis Foundation in Macedonia and
EDRi-Member, highlighted the information society situation in a developing
country and what are the most important problems that need real involvement.
As regards to the WSIS process Jashari considered that: “There is need for
building an efficient inclusive and multi-stakeholder mechanism,
identifying, providing and ensuring participation of countries with
economies in transition and developing countries in global ICT policy
development, in which all aspects (multilingualism, spam, cyber crime,
privacy, etc) will be included. But, also to build mechanisms for evaluation
of the participation and involvement and not make it only formal.”

He also said that the global dialogue at the international level with
all the stakeholders needs to be continued at the local level on the
national and regional problems, involving all the key actors in the
information society domain.

George Sadowsky, Global Internet Policy Initiative GIPI technical advisor,
underlined the fact that the WSIS process has proven that the Internet and
information society is a global phenomenon. He also presented the role of
the GIPI members in raising awareness at the national level on the major ICT
policy decisions and the importance of the Internet Governance at the
international level.

The role of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) as a public interest
advocacy was debated also in another session that brought together, on the
spot or via the Internet, international diplomats and experts on this
matter: Milton L. Mueller, Syracuse University School of Information
Studies, Markus Kummer, Internet Governance Forum, Michael Nelson, Internet
Society and Director of Internet Technology and Strategy, IBM or Derrick
Cogburn, Syracuse University School of Information Studies. One of the main
conclusions of this panel was that IGF should not become just a new forum of
political debate and it should focus on the real ICT problems that can be
discussed at a global level.

Computers, Freedom and Privacy 2006

EDRI-gram – WSIS SPECIAL (21.11.2005)