Indigenous Peoples participated during the first phase of WSIS in Geneva and this participation was followed up with a thematic planning conference for Tunis held in Ottawa, Canada in March 2005. At the Conference in Ottawa a delegation of Indigenous Peoples was elected to participate in Tunis via WSIS International Indigenous Steering Committee (IISC). Marcos Terena of Brazil and Roberto Mucaro Borrero (Taíno) were elected as focal points for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Indigenous Peoples are recognized within the United Nations System as members of civil society. Civil society plays an active role in identifying the social and cultural consequences of current trends and in drawing attention to the need to introduce democratic accountability on the strategic options taken at all levels. According to the United Nations, diversity and, often, hands-on approach to issues, make civil society a key player in the renewed international partnership called for by the UN Secretary-General.
Conferences like WSIS have played a key role in guiding the work of the UN since its inception. In fact, the world body was born when delegates from 50 nations met in San Francisco in April 1945 for the United Nations Conference on International Organization. UN Summits provide the grounds for a free exchange of views. UN Conference venues are designated United Nations territory and governed by the rules and regulations of the international body. All delegates and accredited participants as well as the media must be provided access by the host government and enjoy all internationally recognized rights and freedoms wherever the conference may be held.
The WSIS Summit offers a unique opportunity for the global community to “reflect, discuss and give shape to a common destiny in an era when countries and peoples are interconnected as never before”. The UN serves as a catalyst for change by bringing together state governments, as well as the private sector, international institutions and civil society in pursuit of common goals.
Taino, Masaai and Maori Warriors take on the Information Society in Canada.