Background

The attention of the Board was drawn to the progress made within the system in the follow-up to the outcome of the Geneva and Tunis phases of the World Summit on the Information Society. The Secretary-General had conveyed to the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) strong appreciation for his leadership in steering the Summit towards a very positive outcome.

Discussion

In the ensuing discussion, clarifications were sought about the relationship between the different arrangements for follow-up and implementation set out in the note, including the global alliance, and the Summit’s outcome and the relationships among the arrangements themselves. It was noted that the only element in the note that called for specific endorsement by CEB was the proposed establishment of a United Nations group on the information society. The note explained that the purpose of the group would be to act for multiple stakeholders as an information and coordination nexus for the inter-agency activities associated with both the implementation of the action lines and the follow-up processes in the Economic and Social Council and other bodies. With regard to operating modalities, the group would function similarly to other inter-agency networks, that is, without mandated reporting to HLCP but consulting with it, as necessary, to resolve specific, cross-cutting policy issues. A note of caution was expressed as far as avoiding multiplication of inter-agency arrangements in this area, and in the related area of knowledge management. It would be desirable at an appropriate stage to carry out a review of those arrangements with a view to streamlining them.

Action

The Board approved the establishment of the United Nations Group on Information Society, with the terms of reference and modalities outlined in the paper submitted by HLCP.