[Telecentres] civil society participation in WSIS

Andy Carvin acarvin at edc.org
Thu Sep 23 10:25:26 BST 2004

Below is a more official explanation about how all of this works, 
written by Seán Ó Siochrú, Wolfgang Kleinwaechter and Renata Bloem of 
the CS bureau.... -ac

 >> Overview of Civil Society Elements and how to get involved

  The following describes in summary the basic structures that civil 
society has developed over the preparatory process of the WSIS.

1. A key principle underlying the structures of civil society is that 
there must be multiple avenues and means for participation, and that all 
civil society entities can select the nature, level and extent of 
participation according to their needs and interests.

2. Civil Society can constitute itself into a Plenary (CSP) at every 
official convening of the WSIS process, such as Regional Conferences, 
PrepComs, Intersessional meetings and Summits. The CSP is open to the 
participation of all civil society participants. When convened, it is 
the ultimate civil society authority in the WSIS process, in relation to 
the mandate and scope of the specific event. At PrepCom II, CSP endorsed 
the existence and terms of the Civil Society Content & Themes Group and 
the Civil Society Bureau.

3. The Civil Society Content and Themes Group (CS C&T) coordinates the 
work of numerous self-constituting civil society Caucuses, Working 
Groups and other content related entities. It is charged with 
facilitating agreement on and taking decisions on content-related 
issues, while respecting the domain expertise and competence of Caucuses 
and Content Groups. It reports regularly to the CS plenary on decisions 

4. The Civil Society Bureau (CSB) functions as an interlinkage between 
civil society participants and the intergovernmental Bureau and process, 
with regard to operational and logistical needs, procedures and 
interactions. It does not concern itself with content-related issues. 
The Bureau is constituted by 21 'family nodal points', that enable any 
civil society entity to find a 'home', and it enhances interaction 
between all sections of civil society and between civil society and 
others. The Civil Society Division of the WSIS Secretariat provides the 
Secretariat for the CS Bureau. The Bureau reports regularly to the CS 
Plenary on decisions taken.

5. The Civil Society Division of the WSIS Secretariat (CSD) supports the 
activities of all civil society participants and entities in the Summit, 
including the above. It may also provide support to participants who 
chose not to associate with some or all of the above entities, in a 
manner that respects the functions and authority of the above.

6. The CSP approved a Virtual CS Plenary group as an electronic forum 
between physical meetings of the CSP, to promote debate and greater 
transparency in the organisation of civil society during the Summit 
preparatory process, including between the various entities above. It is 
not a decision making entity, but decisions of other entities will be 
circulated there. It is open to all accredited entities, to registered 
bodies at WSIS meetings, and to all civil society entities with an 
active interest in the WSIS.

7. All the above entities will take action to ensure that, within the 
available resources, key decisions are taken only after consideration of 
the issues in the working languages of the Summit: English, French and 

Andy Carvin
Program Director
EDC Center for Media & Community
acarvin @ edc . org

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