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Joahannesburg Summit 2002
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Virtual Exhibit at Johannesburg Summit to Provide Window on the World

New York, 9 August— If participants at the World Summit on Sustainable Development should ever lose touch with "the real world," the Virtual Exhibit webcast during the Summit will restore the connection, bringing real world problems and solutions to the Sandton Convention Center in Johannesburg.

The Exhibit will allow live links to sustainable development projects all across the globe, and will allow people-presidents, prime ministers, NGOs and CEOs-at the Summit to talk to people in the field. And anyone with access to the Internet, anywhere, can watch.

As a result of the Exhibit, Johannesburg Summit Secretary-General Nitin Desai has called Johannesburg "the first truly interactive world summit." He added "We hope to bring the world to Johannesburg. We want to make the thousands of summit delegates aware that there are people in the field doing innovative things in the pursuit of sustainable development and give those people a chance to participate in the summit process."

The Exhibit's website, www.virtualexhibit.net, is already up and running with more than 75 featured sustainable development projects that have already had a measurable result, and UNDP co-manager, Erik Davies, says he expects the site to highlight about 100 projects by the time of the Summit. Many more were submitted that were screened out because they did not exactly meet the criteria post on the site.

"We wanted to have a showcase for sustainable development," Davies said. "We want to give people an idea of best practices and fairly useful approaches to sustainable development." The projects range from efforts to promote electrification through photovoltaic cell to the more efficient collection of rainwater to the sustainable production of palm oil.

These projects will serve as the focus of Exhibit's webcast programming, and will be featured in the live link-ups, interviews with delegates, as well as in videos. Participation of world leaders in the Virtual Exhibit is expected during the high-level segment of the Summit from 2-4 September.

The Exhibition, launched in April, is the product of a partnership between the United Nations Development Programme, Business Action for Sustainable Development, and the United Nations Foundation.

The web-casting facilities for the Virtual Exhibition, known as the "Cube," are nearing completion at the Convention Center and current plans call for the programming to be seen on two large screens on the first and second floors. Efforts are also underway to install screens outside the Convention Center, at the business center and the Ubuntu Village. A one hour summary each day will fed directly to televisions around the Summit area. In addition, portions of the webcast are likely to be featured on television networks through South African Broadcasting Corporation.

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24 August 2006