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Joahannesburg Summit 2002
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Analytic Study of the CSD's Experience with the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues
[A joint project of Consensus Building Institute and the Summit Secretariat ]

Since 1998, the Commission on Sustainable Development included a two-day Multi-stakeholder Dialogue in its official programme of work. These dialogues provide the CSD the opportunity to directly interact with and consult the views of major groups on a specific sustainable development issue. So far, multi-stakeholder dialogues have focused on the Role of Industry in Sustainable Development (1998), Sustainable Tourism (1999) and Sustainable Agriculture (2000). In 2001, the CSD's work programme includes a multi-stakeholder dialogue on Sustainable Energy and Transport.

Multi-stakeholder dialogues are unique to the CSD although they appear to have generated interest to test their replication potential in other inter-governmental organizations and processes.

As a joint effort of Consensus Building Institute (based in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology - MIT, USA) and the Summit Secretariat, this study sought to answer the following questions:
  • Have the dialogues been effective in meeting the primary goals of organizers and participants?
  • Have the dialogues influenced the formulation or the implementation of sustainable development goals in the topic areas they have addressed?
  • What aspects of the dialogue process have been most effective in promoting meaningful consultations between governmental and non-governmental actors?
  • Have the dialogues generated useful follow-up actions or processes?
  • In what ways can or should the dialogues be improved?
  • What broader lessons can stakeholders in sustainable development initiatives (both in the UN system and beyond it) learn from the CSD experience with multi-stakeholder dialogues?
This study was submitted to Prepcom III of the World Summit on Sustainable Development as additional background material. Click here to download a copy of the study.

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24 August 2006