The governments are getting into the heart of the matter in both Internet Governance and Implementation and Followup of the WSIS. That is, what will be the level of commitments made in Tunis?
Clearly some governments, particularly the United States, would like the Tunis outcome document to be a “should” document, i.e. an agreement with no firm commitments or targets for action.
On internet governance, civil society and many governments would like to see strong language in the WSIS document that mandates a review of ICANN as the global manager of the IP addressing and domain name system. These more progressive entities would like to see the creation of a multi-stakeholder global forum on internet governance issues, to spur policy-debate and coordination.
On the larger implementation and follow-up of the WSIS agenda, civil society and some goverments would like to see a robust, multi-level monitoring, implementing and coordination system be established in order to bridge the Digital Divide and to create an Information Society based on human rights and sustainable development.
Unfortunately other delegations, notably the US, are working to see that the Summit does not agree to any binding actions for governments nor creates any new fora or structures to implement its important goals. They would like a document that states that governments “should” allocate more funds to e-health and e-democracy, “should” respect human rights and freedom of speech on the internet, “should” include civil society in their e-strategies for ICT development, etc. But no target dates or firm commitments.
To move from a “should” document to a “will” document is going take lots of careful negotiation and lobbying in the next days.