The Round Table Chair
The Right Honourable Simon Upton founded the Round Table on Sustainable Development in 1998. Prior to this he was a member of the New Zealand Parliament from 1990 to 1998, holding a wide range of ministerial portfolios that included Minister for the Environment and Minister for Research, Science & Technology. In this capacity Mr. Upton led New Zealand’s negotiations in the lead-up to the Kyoto Protocol and chaired the 7th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development.
Round Table Participants
All OECD ministers may attend Round Table meetings. Given the cross-cutting nature of sustainable development issues, OECD ministers with a range of portfolios have attended, including ministers of finance, ministers of economy, ministers of foreign affairs, ministers of trade, ministers of labour, ministers of development assistance, ministers of environment as well as EU Commissioners of Trade, Development and Environment.
In view of the importance of sustainability to developing countries and transitionary economies, key ministers from these countries are invited to participate in meetings. To date, ministers from Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, China, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Latvia, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa and Ukraine are among those who have attended Round Table meetings. The OECD itself also has very extensive links with non-member economies. As the host for the Development Assistance Committee, the OECD provides the Round Table with access to some of the best expertise in the world on development-related issues.
Intergovernmental organisations represented at the Round Table also vary according to the theme of the meeting. Previous sessions have included the heads or senior representatives from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Council for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development (UNCSD), the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Bank.
The private sector is keen to participate in meetings because of the businesslike and dynamic nature of the debates, the opportunity to receive first hand information from decision makers and the excellent opportunity to bring their ideas and interests to the attention of policy makers. Business has been represented at the highest levels, including the CEOs of Shell, Suez, Lafarge, Alcan, Rio Tinto and numerous others.
Stakeholders from civil society also participate in Round Table meetings. Again, representatives vary depending on the theme of the meeting, but have included the World Wide Fund for Nature, the World Resources Institute, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Numerous other NGOs, such as The World Conservation Union, Greenpeace, the Pew Centre on Global Climate Change, the Marine Stewardship Council and the Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements have also participated.