The first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), held in Geneva during 10-12 December 2003, adopted a Declaration of Principles (DoP) and a global Plan of Action (PoA), setting the stage for international cooperation to close the existing digital divide between developing and developed countries while involving all stakeholders in building an inclusive information society. A key goal was set to develop universally accessible, equitable and affordable information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and services; and it was recognized that only through creating an enabling environment based on clear policies, laws and regulatory frameworks and building trust and confidence in ICT, that access can become truly universal.
As decided in the first Preparatory Committee meeting (PrepCom-1), the second phase of WSIS, to be held in Tunis during 16-18 November 2005, will focus on the "follow-up and implementation of the Geneva Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action by stakeholders at national, regional and international levels" . Preparations will be carried at the regional and global levels through regional, sub-regional and thematic conferences, the outcomes of which will feed into the (global) Preparatory Committee meetings, to produce draft documents to be adopted at the Tunis Summit.
The Second Regional Preparatory Conference for WSIS, focusing on partnership for building the Arab information society, is part of the preparatory process for this second phase of the WSIS. While the Western Asia Preparatory Conference for WSIS, held in Beirut (February 2003), produced the Beirut Declaration, providing regional input to the Geneva DoP and PoA, this Conference should produce a Regional Plan of Action, taking into account regional needs for building a sustainable Arab information society.