15 November 2005
Greetings from Tunis in Tunisia, host city of the second phase on the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (www.itu.int/wsis).
Over the next few days I will submit a daily report from Tunis as thousands of participants from all over the world with an interest in “ICTs for Development “ issues reflect on the challenges facing the international community in creating an inclusive “Information Society”. Key issues for discussion include Internet governance and financing the Information Society for global inclusion.
The summit is held from 16-18 November, and is preceded by the re-convened PrepCom-3 from 13-15 November 2005.
From a civil society perspective, a series of meetings, panels, discussions, workshops and gatherings are held between 14-19 November in parallel with the official Summit.
SANGONeT has an exhibition stand at the Summit which forms part of the South African Pavilion in the main exhibition area (stand 1232). The exhibition will be used to raise awareness about our work, with special reference to the new portal on NGOs in South Africa, the 2006 SANGONeT “ICT for Civil Society Conference (www.sangonet.org.za/conference2006) and SANGONeT’s WSIS-related activities in the build-up to the summit.
SANGONeT actively contributed to the WSIS process in South Africa by hosting two Thetha forums (on 29 June 2005 in Braamfontein and 22 August 2005 in Cape Town) to discuss critical issues of concern to civil society in relation to the information society. In addition, SANGONeT coordinated the compilation of a South African WSIS Civil Society Statement, as well as the South African competition of the World Summit Award (www.wsis-award.org).
On my agenda for today is the official opening of the South African Pavilion, while I will also participate in the Telecentre Leaders Forum this afternoon. The Forum is organized by telecentre.org and consists of a series of four 2-hour long participatory workshops for telecentre and network leaders, policy-makers, researchers and grassroots practitioners to share experiences and practical ideas that they can use in their day-to-day work.
Tomorrow is the official opening ceremony of the summit, and President Thabo Mbeki is also due to make a presentation.