The most important direct outcome of WSIS is ideas. New ideas. WSIS is not where concrete actions take place. WSIS was a discussion. WSIS was, ironically, an Internet Governance Forum before its attendees even created the Forum. WSIS was a learning class for all who attended, all of whom needed the class, whether they had realized it before WSIS or not. The national delegations, the technical community, civil society, non-governmental organizations and the business sector; all WSIS attendees cross-pollinated, learned about each other’s preoccupations and consequently modified their perceptions as the process evolved.
The outcome of WSIS will not only be text. WSIS has induced massive change in the mind of most who have followed it. National delegations know much more about the technical underpinnings of the Internet and how it is managed. The technical community has learned it can no longer ignore how technical decisions intertwine with policy. Civil society has learned about the diplomatic process and has a better grasp of how it can contribute in a more structured fashion.
The concrete actions resulting from WSIS will be those that WSIS attendees will undertake when they return home. These actions will henceforth carry with them the WSIS impetus.
Isn’t this what learning is about: new ideas, new perspectives, new actions?