WSIS Geneva 2003 – Switzerland's commitment and evaluation

As the host country, Switzerland played a leading role in the first phase of the WSIS. On the one hand, it bore the responsibility for the logistical and operational preparation of the 2003 WSIS in Geneva and ensured that the first phase passed smoothly and without any problems. On the other hand, Switzerland, as has been acknowledged internationally on all sides, did the lion's share of the diplomatic and negotiating preparatory work for the summit process and its structures.

In addition, Switzerland, through its mediating activity in the difficult final phase of negotiations, made a substantial contribution to the political success of the first phase. Switzerland was also the driving force in concretising and implementing an innovative Summit architecture, with some 200 parallel Summit Events, which contributed greatly to the success of the Summit. Switzerland also made a large contribution to mobilising major partners who had previously been sceptical about the WSIS (e.g. UNO, World Bank, WEF, UNDP, UN ICT Task Force, International Chamber of Commerce and various companies from the private sector). It also provided political and material support for the civil society and argued for opening up the WSIS process to civil society as much as possible. Switzerland also played an essential role by publicising the WSIS and cooperating with the media.  

Switzerland allocated additional funding to the tune of nearly CHF 20 million to the WSIS 2003. Switzerland's commitment to the success of the WSIS has improved the country's international reputation and recognition as an active UN member state, as a successful mediator and as a progressive country in relation to the Information Society.

The first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) of 10 - 12 December 2003 in Geneva can be hailed a success. The political result - the Declaration of Principles and the Action Plan - was considerably better than could have been expected considering the difficult preparatory process. The mediation work of the Swiss delegation in the days before the Summit contributed substantially to this success. The innovative format of the Summit, which included a large number of Summit Events around the core policy discussions in order to give the various stakeholders the possibility of meeting and exchanging views, received a positive response from all sides. The logistical and organisational preparation contributed in no small way to the success of the first phase of the WSIS in 2003 in Geneva, with smooth implementation despite the fact that with 11,000 participants, nearly twice as many people attended as had been expected. The number of visitors to the Summit Events, 38,000 and the 54 Heads of State and Government and the 83 Ministers also markedly exceeded expectations.

Report on the activities of the Swiss delegation and Switzerland as the host country for the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, and in particular on the decisive phase of the WSIS.

Engagement der Schweiz (PDF, 107 kB, 16.12.2005)This document is available in German only.

Further information

Specialist staff
Last modification 13.06.2007

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