Call For an Open WSIS+10 Preparatory Process
2015 is the year where we celebrate the 10 years of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). In June 2015, the United Nations will be launching a process leading to a conference called a “High Level Event” to review the implementation of the WSIS and to shape a vision for its future. The event will take place in December in New York.
For the past 10 years, governments, the private sector, civil society, academia and the Internet technical community have worked together at the local and the global levels to make the Internet a useful tool for economic and social development.
Despite that, it seems that the WSIS Review process this year will play mostly following intergovernmental rules, only referring to currently undefined consultations with other stakeholders.
In the spirit of multistakeholder cooperation that has marked the past 10 years, a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) historically engaged in the WSIS process and interested in its review have decided to write to the President of the UN General Assembly calling for an open and inclusive preparatory process.
The full letter sent on 12 May 2015 to UN General Assembly President H.E. Mr. Sam Kahamba Kutesa is included below. Additional signatories will be relayed in the future… so please sign the letter today!
12 May 2015
H.E. Mr. Sam Kahamba Kutesa
President of the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations Headquarters
First Avenue at 46th Street
New York, NY 10017 USA
Copy: United Nations Missions in New York and Geneva
We are writing to you in your capacity of President of the UN General Assembly to offer suggestions for implementing the modalities mandated by UNGA Resolution 68/302. The points below reflect views shared by a number of non-governmental organizations historically engaged in the WSIS process and interested in its review. This letter is endorsed by the signatories at the end of the letter, and will be open to further endorsement in the coming weeks (http://www.openwsis2015.org).
UNGA Resolution 68/302, calls for a process that takes into account inputs from all stakeholders. An open, inclusive and transparent process leading to meaningful input will be welcomed by a broad range of stakeholders of the global Internet community, leading to both a better assessment of the outcomes and a more widely accepted result.
Since the Tunis Summit in 2005, civil society, business, and the academic and technical communities have been actively involved in supporting the implementation of the targets, recommendations and commitments of the WSIS. This was re-emphasized in the 2013 WSIS+10 High-Level Statement, which stated “the multi-stakeholder approach and implementation at the international level proved to be a considerable asset in taking forward the WSIS themes and Action Lines.” In addition, the 2014 WSIS+10 High-Level statement referenced “the multi-stakeholder approach and its vital importance in the WSIS implementation at the national, regional and international levels and in taking forward the WSIS themes and Action Lines”.
This commitment has continued to this day, through the participation of these communities in both WSIS+10 Review events – hosted and coordinated by UNESCO (February 2013) and the ITU (June 2014) – and in the processes leading to their outcomes. The benefits of a process that facilitates effective stakeholder engagement can be seen most recently in the Outcome Document that was developed and adopted by all stakeholders during the March 2015 UNESCO “Connecting the Dots” conference.
We trust that meaningful input from stakeholders will be welcomed in all stages of the process from the preparatory phase to the High Level Meeting in New York, in December 2015. To this end, your role and that of the appointed two co-facilitators in enabling and encouraging effective participation by representatives from civil society, technical community, and business organizations will be essential.
In addition to in-person consultations, online consultations should be encouraged to support further openness and transparency in the consultation process and provide additional opportunities for diverse input.
The High Level Meeting in New York would benefit enormously from an inclusive and open approach. The co-facilitators could draw good practices on the successes of events such as the ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Policy Forum (WTPF) 2013, the WSIS+10 Review Events in 2013 (UNESCO) and 2014 (ITU), as well as the NETmundial Conference. Finally, we firmly believe that it would be advantageous for your Excellency and the co-facilitators to attend other events, such as the CSTD, WSIS Forum, the Internet Governance Forum 2015, and other global events to effectively engage with other stakeholders involved in the WSIS review process.
We stand ready to assist in identifying ways that would allow stakeholders to provide meaningful input in the upcoming WSIS+10 Overall Review consultations.
We are looking forward to working with the community of stakeholders and all UN member country delegations towards a successful ten-year WSIS review.
[NOTE: The logos shown below are of the organizations that signed on to the initial letter that was sent to the President of the UN General Assembly on 12 May 2015. The current list of signatories can be found on this site.]
The Internet Society
Senior Director, Global Internet Policy
Project Director BASIS and Senior Policy Executive
Center for Democracy & Technology
Representative and Director, Global Internet Policy and Human Rights Project
Global Partners Digital