Final preparations for WSIS1
  Switzerland is facilitating negotiations
 
 
  28 November 2003. With just two weeks left before the summit, a new round of negotiations on unresolved issues is taking place. Switzerland, as the host country, has been given the mandate to act as a "facilitator" and is busy trying to develop possible compromises between government delegations, in order to allow some badly needed progress at the last meeting of the preparatory committee PrepCom 3B (5-6 December).

Several working groups have been conveined, working on the major issues of conflict:
- Security
- Intellectual property rights
- Human rights
- Media
- Financing
- Internet governance
An additional group will look at other parts of the documents which remain in brackets.

With Switzerland chairing the different meetings, one of the main progressive government forces on issues such as human rights and media has to remain neutral in these negotiations. Those present involve the main governments disagreeing and possibly one or two governments with an in-between position to moderate the debate.

The working groups represent "informal" consultations, which means they are inter-governmental, once more excluding civil society. Even though this represents a further blow to an allegedly "multi-stakeholder process", civil society was neither surprised, nor particularly annoyed by this announcement. Civil society organisations had made very clear at PrepCom3A in November that they regarded the multi-stakeholder process as failed, the draft summit documents as flawed, and that they would focus, from then on, on developing their own alternative declaration.

PrepCom3B is planned to take place on 5 and 6 December, but an extension up until the start of the summit on 10 December seems likely if no agreements can be reached.
 
 
 
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On the Way Towards the Charter