Declaration on the World Summit on the Information Society

TEL AVIV AND RAMALLAH - For a Middle East in peace, 23-24 May 2005


(Tunis, 16-18 November 2005)

1. The Socialist International underlines that education, knowledge, information and communication are at the core of human progress, endeavour and well-being. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have an immense impact on virtually all aspects of our lives. The rapid progress of these technologies completely opens new opportunities to attain higher levels of development. The capacity of these technologies to reduce many traditional obstacles, especially those of time and distance, for the first time in history makes it possible to use their potential for the benefit of millions of people in all corners of the world.

2. However, the benefits of the information technology revolution are today unevenly distributed between the developed and developing countries and within societies. The whole continent of Africa, with the exception of South Africa, has less internet traffic than Manhattan, to say nothing of New York City as a whole.

3. Therefore, the Socialist International warmly welcomes the holding of the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) on the African continent in Tunis in November 2005. The first phase of the WSIS took place from 10-12 December 2003 in Geneva. It resulted in the adoption of a very concrete Plan of Action to build an inclusive information society; to put the potential of knowledge and ICTs at the service of development; to promote the use of information and knowledge for the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration; and to address new challenges of the information society, at the state, regional and global levels. Phase two of the WSIS in Tunis will mainly be an opportunity to evaluate and assess progress made towards bridging the digital divide.

4. The Socialist International calls on governments in Developer and developing countries to turn the digital divide into a digital opportunity for all, particularly for those who risk being left behind and being further marginalised.

5. The SI Committee on the Economy, Social Cohesion and the Environment will consider this matter in depth and will propose a resolution to the next Council meeting of the Socialist International.