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Regional Roundtables will be part of the Regional Preparatory process for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The purpose of the roundtables is to take advantage of the views of eminent persons from the Regions who have political and practical experience in the field of sustainable development and who have been actively involved in the implementation of Agenda 21 at various levels: local, national, regional or international.

The main objective of the roundtables is to elaborate practical proposals and suggest innovative approaches aimed at expediting progress in sustainable development and the implementation of Agenda 21 and, in this formulate recommendations for consideration particularly by the regional inter-governmental preparatory meetings (regional prepcoms) as well as other meetings relevant to the Summit preparatory process.

In addition, roundtable participants, in so far as they understand and relate to the interests of major groups involved in sustainable development e.g. scientists and business, may, as part of the roundtable process be in a position to commit to new initiatives or programs on behalf of a major group.

The significance of the regional nature of the roundtables is that outstanding people from the regions will be able to give a particular perspective on the needs of the regions and on innovative proposals for contributing to sustainable development in the regions. By conducting a series of regional roundtables the Summit process will benefit from a larger number of globally eminent people than would be the case with a single global roundtable.

While the roundtables are regional, because of the expertise of the participants in matters relating to sustainable development the roundtables will also be able to contribute innovative ideas on the promotion of sustainable development at the global level and hence possibly, contribute directly to the issues being considered at the Summit.

Participants at the roundtables will be of an 'eminent' nature, that is, based on their experience in sustainable development and international processes and their understanding of the role and needs of major groups, will be able to contribute both inspirational and pragmatic ideas for regional and global sustainable development.

To obtain maximum benefit of the roundtables the reports of the meetings will be sent to all of the regional and sub-regional prepcoms as well as being available to the global preparatory meetings and the Summit Conference. The roundtable reports will also be available on the Summit web site.

The Division of Sustainable Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DSD/DESA), in collaboration with the host government or host organization and in consultation with the UN Regional Commissions, UNEP and UNDP will organize the roundtables.

Agenda of Roundtables

Participation in Roundtables

Roundtable arrangements

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24 August 2006