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World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)

In a world suffering from HIV/AIDS, conflicts, natural calamities, gender discrimination and other causes of marginalization, we need urgent and concerted action if we are to promote a truly inclusive and mutually beneficial global information society.

Libraries, archives and information services provide access points to the Internet for members of communities and also the support skills development which are essential to effective use. They not only maintain our cultural heritage but also the records which are essential to effective government and to continuing economic development. Through such means they build capacity in communities and nations and help to redress disadvantage.

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) advocates a global information commons through which all people will be enabled to seek and impart information. Its realization requires, at a minimum, ubiquitous access to sufficient affordable bandwidth, up to date and affordable ICTs, unrestricted multilingual access to information and skills development programs to enable all to both access information and disseminate their own while respecting the fundamental right of human beings to both access and express information without restriction.

A modest investment in the worldwide network of libraries and information services would build on the existing foundation to:

  • Provide an extensive web of internet access points;
  • Offer relevant information in appropriate formats and languages;
  • Develop literacy and capacity;
  • Support health and education;
  • Advance the position of women;
  • Provide opportunity and choice for children and the benefits of lifelong learning;
  • Promote innovation and economic development;
  • Ensure the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage and diversity;
  • Foster respect and understanding between people.

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is held in two phases. The first phase of WSIS took place in Geneva hosted by the Government of Switzerland from 10 to 12 December 2003. It addressed the broad range of themes concerning the Information Society and adopted a Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action. The second phase of WSIS will take place in Tunis hosted by the Government of Tunisia from 16 to 18 November 2005. A pre-Summit conference will be held at the BA on the 10 th and 11 th of the same month preparing for the conference, discussing how libraries and information services around the world are realizing the global information society for all.