Thursday, November 17, 2005

WSIS RISKS LOSING MOMENTUM

BY REBECCA

The World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) risks losing its momentum unless proper implementation and commitment is assigned to various actors, Africa Civil Society Organisations claim.

The group of Non Governmental Organisations from all over Africa has labelled the Tunis phase of the summit as a flop and a recipe for in action if participating governments do not inject a fresh dose of commitment to ensure commitments made in Geneva two years ago are implemented.

Nnenna Nwakanma, a member of the African civil society caucus says she believed the summit was going to be a solution to commitments made and promises made in Geneva. She also thought the summit was going to determine the responsibilities of various players since problems were diagnosed in Geneva.

“The content is a failure and big disappointment for Africa’s desire at WSIS. It was not an engagement forum, we have participated in a political process and not a process committed to building access to ICTs,” said Nnenna.

In the absence of such commitment, Nnenna argues it would be hard to bridge the digital divide and ensure access.

“This second phase has no renewed commitment and the follow-up is less than clear. Someone has to take the initiative to save it from losing momentum,” says the ICT consultant.

At the same time, Nnenna says the meeting lacks a clear way forward and participants may have to attend another meeting to define mandate and assign responsibilities to various participating entities.

Besides, Nnenna feels that too much money has been spent in organising the summit yet it discussed mainly issues to do with Internet governance and financing.

In this respect, Khaled Fattal the chairman of the Multilingual Internet names Consortium argues that the biggest losers are the communities whose languages are not even used on the internet.

“We wanted action not compromise. People are expecting action not talk. If people are hungry, give them food not consultation, if they have no access, connect them, do not call for dialogue,” says Fattal.
Ends