ISCP: Beginning or End?

Well, it depends on how you see it. As the clock ticks here in Geneva, we are beginning to experience the “beginning of the end” of PrepCom III — and the “end of the beginning” of the process towards the Tunis meeting.

While its the general notion that things did not move as fast as they should in the last few days (and with rumours of another PrepCom having surfaced — but now less popular), today seems to be quite different. Yesterday evening, a meeting with the delegations sounded some strong warning on the possibility of not completing the work ahead of the Tunis summit (and Tunisia was quick to say that they won’t host any other PrepCom), and it appears that the message really go to the right ears.

Official PrepCom 3 Highlights earlier in the week reported that, “Internet governance discussions kicked off this morning with delegations getting down to the business of drafting text that will eventually become part of the outcome documents of November’s World Summit… Work sped up with the help of new document DT/14, a comprehensive compilation of comments and input on DT/10… While the three working groups continued their labours outside the room, Committee A embarked on an in-depth reading section 5 of DT/10 — potentially the most controversial section of the document”. I guess the next report will showcase the increased pace.

But even with all the text ready, Tunis being a great success… the question remains, “What happens after Tunis?” How do we translate the words of the declarations into action? I want to stop paying double for calls made to a neighbouring country. I want cheaper access… those are the voices of the people who are the inhabitants of the Information Society — the ones whose interests we have (supposedly, at least) been debating since the first WSIS meeting (which incidentally was the African Regional Preparatory Meeting in Bamako — May 2002).

The answer to that question may become clearer (at least for Nigeria, and Africa) as young Nigerians gather for a WSIS Roundtable Discussion at the Heinrich Boll Foundation office in Lagos, sometime next month. There’s a lot that will happen before then (including additional campaigns in Nigeria, led by youth), but what will you bring to the Information Society Cooking Pot (ISCP)?

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