Magazine article UN Chronicle

Making Agenda 21 Work at the Municipal Level: The Swedish Experience

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Making Agenda 21 Work at the Municipal Level: The Swedish Experience

Article excerpt

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, initiated an international effort to make agendas for the environment and development for the twenty-first century - the Agenda 21. Such processes take time and there is no doubt that the 1972 Stockholm Conference has been an important starting point for the recognition of the need for this process.

Sweden chose a clear bottom-up approach on Agenda 21, meaning that the process should start and develop at the municipal level. No rules or regulations were set out from central authorities. The municipalities were free to design Agenda work as they felt right for them. Local authorities, businesses, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), schools and the general public were all invited to participate. Five years later, all 288 municipalities had prepared supportive documentation for Agenda decisions. By governmental initiative, the regional and national authorities attended the ongoing work in their respective area of responsibility and became, in this way, actively involved in Agenda work.

A National Agenda 21 Committee presented a report to the 1997 United Nations General Assembly special session on the environment. It summarizes the Swedish experience and describes areas where projects were generated, for instance, in information and education, recycling, waste-water processing, environmental criteria for public procurement and patterns of consumption. Areas of a more compound character, implying more difficulties in the sense that several sectors and levels of the society are involved, are energy, transport, physical planning and braiding, biodiversity, sustainable agriculture and business involvement.

Creation of sustainable development requires a combination of social, economic and ecological dimensions. This is why the Swedish Prime Minister in 1995 appointed a special Commission on Sustainable Development within the Government. Its first report set out a common platform for the different economic sectors. The results of the subsequent government programme are encouraging and cover broad policy areas such as business and consumer policy, energy and transport, forestry and agriculture, urban planning and building, the educational system, research and development, and architecture and design. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.