Skip down to main content

The WSIS Working Group on Internet Governance: Breakthrough or Breakdown

Date & Time:
15:30:00 - 16:30:00,
Friday 26 November, 2004


The World Summit on the Information Society is an experiment in several senses: it is the first general attempt to harness information and communication technologies to the UN development agenda; it is the first to involve the private sector and civil society directly in the summit negotiating process; and it is the first to be held in phases.

The first phase of WSIS (Geneva, 2003) produced better results than many expected. Its Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action drew on contributions from the three WSIS constituencies, and provided a comprehensive and reasonably coherent policy framework for linking ICTs and UN development goals. However, negotiators were unable to resolve the very serious differences that have arisen on issues related to Internet governance. Instead, they agreed to direct the UN Secretary-General to establish a Working Group on Internet Governance, and to report back to the second phase of the summit (Tunis, 2005) with findings and recommendations.

Held immediately following the first meeting of the WGIG, this seminar will review the circumstances that led to the creation of the working group, examine its terms of reference, and assess the main challenges and opportunities facing the group as it begins its work.

Data Dump to delete


  • Name: Don MacLean
  • Affiliation:
  • Role:
  • URL:
  • Bio: Don MacLean was involved in preparations for the first phase of WSIS on behalf of the Canadian government. In the past year, he has done work on Internet governance for the ITU and the UN, most notably as a contributor to and editor of Internet Governance: A Grand Collaboration, which was recently published by the UN ICT Task Force (available for free download at From 1992-99 Mr. MacLean served as head of strategic planning and external affairs at the ITU. Prior to joining the ITU he held a number of senior policy and planning jobs in the Canadian Department of Communications.