Chapter 23 of Agenda 21 formalized the Major Groups structure for organizing partners implementing that global policy in partnership with national governments and UN agencies. UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) subsequently set up the Major Groups Programme within its Division for Sustainable Development with the objective of incorporating the views of the various sectors of society into intergovernmental processes.
The nine recognized Major Groups are:
- Business & industry,
- Children & youth,
- Indigenous peoples,
- Local authorities,
- Nongovernmental organizations,
- Scientific & technological community,
- Workers & trade unions.
Typically, reference is made to “major groups and other stakeholders.” Additional stakeholder groups exist (such as older persons), are not technically classified as Major Groups for DESA purposes. The number and system of Major Groups has remained as it was established in 1992.