[NEWS AND VIEWS]
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December 05, 2003The "A" list excludes Princesses. One of the most interesting documents to come out of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is not one of the many drafts of principles or action plan for Tunis 2005.
No the key document, in my opinion, is the draft list of participants who will be admitted to some, not all, events in this carnival. The 229 page document cautions "This list does not include VIPs (Heads of State, Heads of Government, Vice-Presidents, Crown Princes and Princesses)" but it contains a fascinating look at who has been chosen to represent your nation at the summit.
More than half then entries are for non-profits or NGO's which are said to constitute the Civil Society. The uncivil society will be in Geneva; they will also be taking part but outside the highly guarded walls of Geneva's Palexpo and other conference venues, and they are not on the list.
There are also large numbers of UN attendees from all the related divisions and specialized agencies: ILO, UNIFEM, UNDP, etc, a few other international organizations like the development banks, and then commercial firms. Here's the breakdown:
There are about 40-60 names per page.
State representatives: 61 pages
UN and specialized agencies: 24 pages
Other Intl. organizations: 5 pages
NGOs: 122 pages
Business: 17 pages
Total: 229 pages
I know a few people who are attending, so I began looking at the country lists. The US has 53 delegates, all but one from government agencies. I found the librarians and USAID employees I know. Most of the small nations have small contingents-but not all.
No official reps. from North Korea, Somalia, Guinea, Sierra Leone.
LAO P.D.R. has one rep.
Maldives has two.
Timor has one
Tonga has two
Malta has nine
Kyrgyzstan has 33 reps including two presidential photographers
Malaysia tops the list with 129.
Canada is close behind with 94 plus dozens more flying under the government-
funded IDRC banner.
There are some special organizations that have quasi-government status like Palestine (7). Knights of Malta whose geographic domain is about 3 acres (1+ hectares) has 5 reps. l'Agence intergouvernementale de la Francophonie: 35 (they promote French culture and language in France and former colonies)
However, the long list of NGOs makes me wonder, "What do these groups do from day to day?" Some might ask that of the government reps too.
I can recognize some but many others are obscure. I found many organizations providing a "flag of convenience" for attendees from other foundations, universities, the street who needed to have some official affiliation in order to take part.
A sampling of the NGOs:
Cameroon Assn. of Women Engineers
African Youth for Transparency
Amitie Pologne Congo
APRIL - Association for Promotion and Research in Libre Computing
Benfam Institute of Natural Living (with 50+ 'reps' with Iranian surnames sharing
email@example.com) Anyone know what they do?
Forum of the Friends of the Net
Institute for Planetary Synthesis
International Possibilities Unlimited
Internet Society Wallonie
Les indigents et les avocats face aux procedures judiciaires devant la cour
supreme de justice
Molecular Diversity Preservation International
Oppressed Society Deliverance Organization
Temple of Understanding
Terre sans frontieres
Transnational Radical Party
Utmost Caring World
The largest delegation of all was from the World Electronic Media Forum with more than 550 attendees! What was surprising was the small size of the business sector - Hitachi, Alcatel, Cisco, Intl. Chamber of Commerce. Microsoft was not represented but I'm sure the World Bank was please to sponsor an African listed as "Mr Jacques BONJAWO, Chairman Board of Directors, Microsoft"
So perhaps the influence of the business sector will not be that great if they are this disinterested in the event.
Go here to search for someone by name, organization, or country
Steve Cisler joins the Daily Summit as a guest reporter