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World Summit on the Information Society

wsis_logo.pngThe World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is a two-phase United Nations (UN) summit that was initiated in order to create an evolving multi-stakeholder platform aimed at addressing the issues raised by information and communication technologies (ICTs) through a structured and inclusive approach at the national, regional and international levels.

The two WSIS summits held in 2003 and 2005 were instrumental in adding momentum to international discussions concerning Internet governance.

RIPE NCC Participation in WSIS

The main participants in the WSIS were governments and governmental organisations, and it was therefore difficult for the Internet technical community to be directly involved. It was clear, however, that the outcome of the WSIS could have had a serious impact on the bottom-up, industry self-regulatory processes that have underpinned the Internet since its inception. The RIPE NCC and the other Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) therefore took an active role in the WSIS discussions and worked together to represent the needs of their members and the Internet community as a whole.

The RIPE NCC and the other RIRs were actively involved in the WSIS from the first phase of the summit in Switzerland (December 2003), through the PrepCom 1 in Tunisia (June 2004) and the regional meeting in Syria (November 2004).

They continued to represent the needs of their members and communities throughout 2005 at the PrepCom 2, held in Switzerland, the regional meetings in Ghana and Brazil and the second phase of the summit, held in Tunisia in November 2005.

A key outcome of the WSIS process was the founding of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The RIPE NCC and other RIRs have continued to contribute actively to the IGF, and to take part in the ongoing WSIS activities, including the annual WSIS Forum.


In 2015, the UN General Assembly undertook a review of the implementation of the WSIS outcomes. As part of this review, an intergovernmental process gathered stakeholder input that resulted in a draft paper. This paper was then discussed at a two-day high-level meeting of the General Assembly from 15-16 December 2015.

In July 2015, stakeholders were asked to provide input on the desired elements and content of a “non-paper” that was later published in August. This was used to inform development of the final draft paper that was discussed by the General Assembly in December. The RIRs provided joint input to the non-paper, which is available here.

Following the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in November 2015, the RIPE NCC joined more than 100 Internet-related organisations and individuals in signing a Join Statement on WSIS+10. This statement emphasised the importance of an ongoing remit for the IGF, to retain a multistakeholder approach to Internet governance issues, and to focus on connecting those still unable to access the Internet.

The ten-year review of the WSIS concluded in December 2015 with a High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly, which produced the following Outcome Document:


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