Geneva to share key information summit

The ITU conference will look at ways of bridging the so-called Digital Divide

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has said that Geneva will host the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The Swiss government had hoped to host the entire meeting since Geneva is home to the organisation.

This content was published on June 8, 2001 - 20:41

The ITU said in a press release it had decided to stage the second phase of the summit in Tunisia. The head of the organisation, Yoshio Utsumi, reportedly said he wished to undertake part of the conference in the developing world.

The Swiss press reported that Tunisia's allegedly dubious human rights record served to undermine its credibility as a sponsor of a conference which aims to set rules governing the Internet.

Tunisia, for its part, had hoped to boost its standing internationally by hosting "the first UN project in Africa".

In its statement, the ITU said the latter half of the conference would focus on development issues, in particular the so-called Digital Divide.

"The inherently global nature of this new information environment, and the uneven pace of its development, make it vital that international dialogue take place and that worldwide approaches be considered to facilitate the successful adaptation to this new reality," the ITU said.

Delegates are set to discuss ways of opening access to advanced information technology for those in developing countries.

The ITU said the first half of the discussions would address "the broad range of themes concerning the Information Society and adopt a Declaration of principles and Action Plan."

The Geneva phase of the World Summit will take place in December 2003 and negotiations will then transfer to Tunis in 2005. The organisation is hoping to bring world leaders, UN agencies, non-governmental organisations as well as industry leaders around the table.

swissinfo with agencies

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