by Rik Panganiban (CONGO)
27 August 2004. Ambassador Janis Karklins, president of the WSIS Preparatory Committee, and Mr. Markus Kummer, head of the secretariat of the Working Group on Internet Governance, met with the CONGO Board on 27 August in Geneva. Here is a brief report on their presentations, which may be helpful to others following the WSIS.
Ambassador Karklins emphasized that civil society is one of three equal partners in the WSIS process.
He reported that there will be an informal brainstorming meeting at the end of August on "stocktaking" organized by the WSIS secretariat. He noted that we have two good documents from Geneva, but no implementation mechanisms. He suggested that civil society consider how they could gather information on their own implementation efforts.
The next intergovernmental bureau meeting is 17 September, during which they will discuss the composition of the group of the Friends of the Chair, which will hopefully include 1-2 members from civil society and the private sector. In addition, the bureau will discuss how to decide which events will be counted as official thematic meetings of the WSIS.
On the preparatory process, for the second preparatory commission in February 2005, they plan to finish the consideration of the Task Force on Financial Mechanisms and to begin consideration of Internet governance. The full consideration of internet governance will be left until the final prepcom in September 2005.
The deadline for receiving input from the Task Force on Financing Mechanisms is the end of 2004. The Friends of the Chair group plans to meet between Christmas and New Year's on this report with a draft document completed in January.
Markus Kummar updated the participants on the status of the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG). He noted that the working group will have limited membership, but will interact at regular intervals with all stakeholders. The first consultation meeting will take place from 20-21 September in Geneva at the Palais des Nations. The meeting will discuss the scope of work, priorities, composition and structure, and timetable of the WGIG. He noted that all actors accredited to the WSIS can participate in the meeting, and even those not yet accredited can register to attend, assuming they meet the requirements for general accreditation to the WSIS.
On the composition of the WGIG, there will be a short list sent from the WGIG secretariat to the UN Secretary General based on their consultations. Afterwards the Secretary General will name the members. He emphasized that this was not a nomination process.
The WGIG should be nominated by the Secretary General in October and having meetings in November. An initial report will be sent to the second prepcom, with a more final report sent to the third prepcom.