UN General Assembly Resolution 56/183 in December 2001 endorsed the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which encourages global discussions on how to benefit from the digital revolution while addressing the digital divide. The International Telecommunication Union hosted two phases in Geneva from December 10 to 12, 2003, and in Tunis from November 16 to 18, 2005. From February 25 to 27, 2013, WSIS participants met in Paris to evaluate progress and goals.
Excerpt from the final statement of the Paris WSIS conference:
Committed to the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other universally recognized legal instruments,
Recalling that the Preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO affirms, "that the wide diffusion of culture, and the education of humanity for justice and liberty and peace are indispensable to the dignity of man and constitute a sacred duty which all the nations must fulfil in a spirit of mutual assistan ce and concern",
Convinced that the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) contributes to peace and sustainable development,
state the following:
● Multistakeholder processes have become an essential and unique approach to engagement in addressing issues affecting the knowledge and information societies.
● The key to empowering people for sustainable development and peace is education - education that reaches out to all members of society, education that provides genuine lifelong learning opportunities for all.
● In the context of the constant expansion of the Internet and the potential of the emerging ICTs to facilitate interaction and to generate and acquire knowledge, it is important to prote ct and promote freedom of expression.
● Indigenous and traditional knowledge are fundamental in building pathways to develop innovative processes and strategies for locally-appropriate sustainable development. This knowledge is integral to a cultural complex that also encompasses language, systems of classification, resource use practices, social interactions, ritual and spirituality. These unique ways of knowing are important facets of the world's cultural diversity, and provide a foundation for comprehensive knowledge societies.
● Scientific knowledge is a key factor in the innovation process and in finding pathways to sustainable development which are respectful of the environment. Science is acknowledged as a common or public good that is to be shared universally.
● Knowledge societies should seek to ensure full respect for cultural diversity, and that everyone has the right to express themselves, to create and disseminate their work in the language of their choice.
● Global ICT connectivity and affordability are experiencing positive trends, although two thirds of the world's population still lack access to Internet. Accessibility, though , remains an important challenge.
● The rapid diffusion of mobile communication, establishment of Internet exchange points (IXPs), the increased availability of multilingual content and Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), and the advent of new services and applications, including m-health, mobile transactions, e-Government, e-education, e-business and developmental services, which offer great potential for the development of th e knowledge societies.
● Broadband related infrastructure and access is one of the key aspects in achieving the information and knowledge societies, bringing social and economic benefits.
● Significant efforts have been made in order to strengthen the establishment of the national ICT and Broadband strategies and policies.