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WSIS: What’s It All About

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IEEE is pleased to be participating in the WSIS Forum 2015 as part of our global efforts to connect engineers, scientists and industry leaders in an array of technology and industry domains, with policy experts to help improve the understanding of technology and its implications and impact on IG issues.  We will be hosting a thematic workshop on Cybersecurity and Privacy in a World of Data Driven Innovation. This session will discuss the balance of security and privacy rights in an age in which global citizens are converging on the Internet, and new media, where technology and services are pervading and influencing culture.  View the full program of WSIS events.

Additionally, the IEEE invites everyone involved in Internet related technology development and policy making to join the IEEE Internet Initiative’s growing, world-wide community of experts in technology and policy. For information on how to get involved please contact, internetinitiative@ieee.org.

The agenda of the WSIS Forum is the result of an open consultation process with the involvement of all WSIS Stakeholders. The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process and its outcome documents are considered cornerstones of international discourse on Internet policy and governance. 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of WSIS, with the UN General Assembly set to evaluate its progress and decide its future.

What is WSIS?
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was a unique two-phase United Nations (UN) summit that began with the goal of achieving a common vision, desire and commitment to build a people-centric, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information. The two-stage WSIS took place in 2003 (the Geneva phase) and 2005 (the Tunis phase).

WSIS started out as a primarily development-focused process and the first phase concluded by setting out a Plan of Action to put the “potential of knowledge and ICTs at the service of development.”  However, governance issues became a central focus of the Tunis phase and this was reflected in its outcome document, the Tunis Agenda, which set out a definition of internet governance, outlined the roles of different stakeholders, mandated the establishment of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), and initiated the process towards enhanced cooperation.

WSIS is a significant event in the history of the Internet.  It recognized that not only governments should have a voice in the development of the Internet’s future, but also the voices of businesses, civil society, engineers and everyone who can play a role in its future should be heard. Today, annual WSIS Forums are an integral part to the follow-up of the World Summit on the Information Society.

WSIS Forum 2015
The WSIS Forum 2015 theme is Innovating Together: Enabling ICTs for Sustainable Development, and will be held on 25-29 May 2015, at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva. This event builds upon the tradition of annual WSIS May meetings, and its format is the result of open consultations with all WSIS Stakeholders.

The WSIS Forum 2015 represents the world’s largest annual gathering of the ‘ICT for development’ community. The WSIS Forum is co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNDP and UNCTAD.  The Forum consists of two tracks: A High-Level Track, consisting of policy statements, WSIS prize ceremony, ministerial round table, and the Forum Track that will offer participants a series of high-level dialogues, action line facilitation meetings, country workshops, thematic workshops and knowledge exchanges, as well as an exhibition addressing issues that are critical to WSIS implementation and follow-up in multi-stakeholder settings.

We look forward to seeing you in Geneva!

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Karen McCabe

Senior Director, Public Affairs & Marketing, IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) - Karen McCabe is a Senior Director of Public Affairs & Marketing at IEEE where she drives efforts to build and connect communities working at the intersection of technology, standards, and policy. Karen has held various leadership and senior management positions in the technology sector, with a specific focus in the global standards and technology domain. Karen is engaged in efforts in climate change, digital inclusion, identity management, data governance, ethics and technology, and global standards in trade and policy. Karen is a member of the OECD Internet Technical Advisory Committee and works with an array of organizations and bodies to connect technologists, industry leaders and policymakers where she develops partnerships and builds alliances across stakeholder communities.

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