Several basic principles for launching an informal initiative should be observed.
1. Use an all-inclusive approach. Do not exclude any directly interested countries or parties.
2. Start with less-sensitive issues that participants will feel comfortable discussing without incurring animosity of their respective governments or authorities. Oil and natural resources, for example, proved to be sensitive topics. Environmental protection is a more comfortable topic.
3. The participants should be senior or important personalities in their governments or authorities, although they are participating in the process in their private capacities.
4. At least in the initial stages, do not institutionalize the structure of the process or create a permanent mechanism. Keep the process as flexible as possible.
5. Differences should not be magnified and cooperation shou...