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December 12, 2003

A quiet summit. Civil society has had a quiet summit. It has delivered few of the press conferences, eye-catching stunts and noisy demonstrations that normally keep the media entertained.

Its representatives adopted a counter-declaration, condemned the Swiss authories and summit organisers, but failed to provide a definitive assessment of the summit's outcome.

Instead, the human rights caucus delivered a somewhat lacklustre final press conference, expressing relief that "a major setback in the international consensus on human rights has been avoided in the final declaration."

After the conference, Diana Bronson said that WSIS had not been a waste of time, despite the brick wall activists had met on a number of issues.

"There is a sense of real frustration that there has been a lack of advance but it is never a waste of time for governments to sit down and talk," she said. "I am pleased that they understand that the information society is not just about laying a cable around the world."

Civil society's uncertainty has two causes. Invited into the WSIS process, it's now reluctant to stamp its feet when it doesn't get its own way. Also, it knows this is a summit of two halves. NGOs may well arrive in Tunis in much less compliant mood.

Written with Claire Regan.
David Steven @ December 12, 2003 08:41 PM | TrackBack

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