In order to ensure the participatory and inclusive spirit of the WSIS Forum
2011, the organizers i.e. ITU, UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP announced an open consultation process on the Venue for the WSIS Forum 2011. The open consultation
aimed at engaging Governments, international organizations, civil society and
the private sector in discussing the venue for WSIS Forum 2011.
The organizers would like to thank all WSIS Stakeholders for their engaged
and involved participation. The open consultation process, consisting of three
phases was welcomed and appreciated by all. Multiple stakeholders participated
in the open consultation process, first by holding discussions on the WSIS community platform and in the second phase by submitting direct contributions.
WSIS Stakeholders submitted their comments keeping in mind several parallel
and interrelated dimensions, and concluded that finding a balance between
operational costs and participation would be an ideal objective in deciding the
venue of the WSIS Forum 2011. Since the year 2011 paves the way for the path
beyond the halfway point between the successful conclusion of the WSIS in 2005
and 2015, the decision on the venue is directed at strengthening the WSIS
Implementation and follow up process.
Stakeholders submitted their views recommending New York, Geneva, Paris and
countries in the developing world as possible venues for the WSIS Forum 2011.
WSIS Forum is an important event that brings together relevant stakeholders.
Therefore, ensuring the continued involvement of stakeholders with diverse
backgrounds from all countries is essential to WSIS follow-up activities. Also,
it is important to maintain and consolidate the diversity and multi- stakeholder
character of the WSIS Forum. Some stakeholders opined that New York is an easier
venue for participants from some countries, in the Americas, the Caribbean and
East Asia, while at the same time, it is more expensive and more difficult for
participants from Europe, Africa and South Asia. While discussing participation,
stakeholders voiced that customarily a major block of participants in open
conferences come from the host country and neighboring ones. Hence, picking a
venue so as to increase local or regional audience results in reducing
participation from more distant countries.
Several stakeholders suggested that New York would bring new interests and
new attendances to the WSIS forum. In support of shifting the venue to New York,
several stakeholders highlighted that engaging New York based organizations and
high level decision makers is important for the WSIS Process. In order to deal
with the visa issues it was suggested that the visa processing for participants
could start much in advance in order to provide enough time for embassies to
process Visas for participants. WSIS stakeholders expressed their awareness of
the added value in hosting the event in New York in terms of ICT visibility in
the UN community based in New York.
However, some stakeholders were of the view that while emphasizing on the
importance to rotate venues for international multistakeholder meetings of this
kind, it is also important to consider holding them in places where the
organizers are based. The UN institutions most actively involved in WSIS
implementation are based in Europe and it makes economic and managerial sense to
hold WSIS in Geneva. Stakeholders interested in hosting the forum in Geneva
voiced the opinion that Geneva has been the centre for WSIS related activities
with knowledge and experience of the process. Many key organizations are located
in Geneva, and the participation of many stakeholders has been facilitated by
the fact that other WSIS related activities take place around the same dates.
Additionally, as the UN Commission on Sciences and Technology Development, as
well as the majority of the Internet Governance Forum’s consultation and
advisory group meetings are held in Geneva, it allows stakeholders to meet there
on a regular basis.
The stakeholders were in agreement that in the past two years, the WSIS Forum
has made a significant contribution towards reviewing the implementation of WSIS
objectives, facilitating the interchange of ideas and building relationships
amongst participating stakeholders. WSIS Stakeholders emphasized that while
deciding on the venue for 2011 it is important to build on the achievements of
the WSIS Process in the past 2 years and ensure an impactful and result oriented
future of the WSIS Implementation and Follow up Process.
Taking all submissions into consideration and based on the discussions at
WSIS Forum 2010, the organizers will announce the venue for WSIS Forum 2011
shortly. The organizers aim at addressing all the views submitted and the final
decision on the venue will reflect the challenges and advantages expressed by