By Klaus Stoll

Recently I was able to participate in the WSIS Forum 2016, and I would like to share some of my observations with you.

I have attended several WSIS Forums over the last years and to be honest I did not have many great expectations to this years event, In the past years WSIS Forums where quite a dull affair, mainly occupied with pre-prepared statements by ministers and events where governments praised their countries ICT efforts.

I am glad to say, this year was different. There are several reasons for this. One of the main point was that the Mandate of WSIS had recently renewed for another 10 years, so uncertainties about the future where gone. Another point was that the decision to connect the WSIS action lines with the UN Sustainable Development Goals gave the event a focus that was often missing in previous events. Maybe the most important change was in the emphasis of the WSIS Secretariat on dialogue and a multi stakeholder approach. To achieve this the Secretariat had appointed High Level facilitators as moderators for the High-Level Policy Sessions. This experiment turned out to be very successful and instead of having to listen to hours and hours of ministerial statements, some very interesting sessions emerged. I very much hope that this experiment will continue and can even increased.

It was remarkable how different the overall spirit of the WSIS Forum 2016 was from previous WSIS Forums. Only seldom where the usual complaints about digital divides and ICT under development voiced, instead one could here a lot of optimism that things could get done. A number of voices even went so far to state that the time to talk is over and that now the time has come to tackle hands on all the Sustainable Development Goals with the help of ICT's .

I would like to mention the NCUC organized event "Engaging Under-Represented Communities in National, Regional, and Global Internet Governance Debates" To my best knowledge, this was for the first time after 5 years, NPOC was invited to participate as a speaker in an NCUC organized event, and I had the privilege to be that speaker. It was a very good event and you will find worthwhile looking at it at at

(my contribution starts at 1:03:25) I want to Thank Ayden for organizing the event and reaching out to NPOC. NPOC should think now about engaging more in future WSIS Forum events and thinking about an NPOC event at the Forum 2017, to be held on 12-16 June would be the right way to go. In conclusion I am very happy to report that WSIS is a going concern again and our engagement worthwhile.

Hope to see many of you at WSIS 2017

Yours Klaus

Related Resources:

Sustainable Development Goals:


All archived sessions:

WSIS FORUM 2016 INTERVIEW: High-Level Track Facilitators:

WSIS Forum 2016 Outcomes: utm_source=WSIS+Flash&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=May+2016+Special+Issue

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