In 1992, the
United Nations Earth Summit in Rio brought
together world leaders from 179 countries to sign up to Agenda 21, an action
plan for sustainable development.
Chapter 28 of
Agenda 21 called on local governments around the world to engage in a process
of consultation and consensus building with the communities they served to
agree a 'local' Agenda 21 (LA21).
Authority should enter into a dialogue with its citizens, local organisations
and private enterprises and adopt "a local Agenda 21”. Through consultation
and consensus-building, local authorities would learn from citizens and from
local, civic, community, business and industrial organisations and acquire the
information needed for formulating the best strategies. The process of
consultation would increase household awareness of sustainable development
issues. Local authority programmes, policies, laws and regulations to achieve
Agenda 21 objectives would be assessed and modified, based on local programmes
adopted.” (Agenda 21, 28.3)
All over the
world local authorities (like Harrow Council) were asked to work with local
people to make a local action plan for a sustainable community. Several
thousands have done so, so far.
In 1995 Harrow
Agenda 21 was created as an independent charity made up of local people. To
date Harrow Agenda 21 has helped local people contribute ideas and opinions
into consultations and policy developed by Harrow Council and lobbied local
Councillors for action on Climate Change, created projects and campaigns which
enhance our local environment.
What is Local Agenda 21?
Local Agenda 21
(LA21) has been defined as 'the process of developing local policies for
sustainable development and building partnerships between local authorities and
other sectors to implement them'.
Local Agenda 21 is
people planning their own sustainable communities for the 21st century
21” is a list of measures to address issues like global warming, infant
mortality, food and fuel crises, poverty and disease and people’s
livelihoods. In short it is about quality of life for citizens of every
“Local Agenda 21” is the part which can be done
by local communities. It is about individuals, community groups and local
government working together to improve their own quality of life.
See below for the Methodology
for Local Agenda 21
Some examples of how communities have put
Local Agenda 21 into action:
Local people have monitoring
Local people have set up
forums for their small area so everybody can have a say.
Neighbourhood groups have made
a “wish list” of ways toimprovetheir quality of life
People are decided indicators
for how they will know when their neighbourhood has improved in some way.
Young people have worked
together to paint murals to cheer up subways.
People have collected
recyclables to pay for something else.
Children have worked with
adults to make safe routes to walk to school.
Some neighbourhoods are
producing their own community magazines and information leaflets.
These are just examples – Each
community is different and will put Local Agenda 21 into action in their own
What is a sustainable community?
A sustainable community meets today's needs
without harming the chances of the next generations being able to meet theirs.
What you might to find in a sustainable
Care of the environment
People use only what they need, waste is minimal and materials are
People can travel without damaging the environment.
The richness of nature is valued and protected.
Health Care & Social Well-being
Health Services work to prevent illness as well as caring properly
for sick people.
People live without the fear of violence, crime or persecution.
We don't make ourself ill with our own pollution.
Everyone has access to good quality food, water, shelter and fuel
they can afford
Local needs are met as far as possible.
All parts of the community play a part in making decisions in the
People enjoy the spaces and objects they use, value their local
identity and enjoy their spare time without harming the environment.
Everyone has the chance of satisfying work, fairly paid work and
unpaid work is recognised.
Skills, knowledge and information are available to all.
is going on with Local Agenda 21 now?
The global Local
Agenda 21 movement has produced a variety of community processes, partnerships
strategies, plans and projects to try and put sustainable development into
practice at a local level. The response to the call to develop local agenda 21
processes has been uneven and achieved more where local Council’s have
supported the Local Agenda 21 process.
the World Summit for Sustainable Development, in Johannesburg 2002 the UK government signed
up to the Local ACTION 21 initiative.
It is intended that Local Action 21 follow-on from Local Agenda 21 to move from
agenda to ACTION. Within the UK
the initiative does not to date seem to have been widely taken up.
more than 5,000 local Councils have started their own Local Agenda 21 process.
More than 2,000 of them have signed the Aalborg Charter of European Sustainable
Cities and Towns towards Sustainability. The results and strategies, however,
have adopted comprehensive municipal development plans, which are, however, not
immune to problems in their implementation. For this reason, much of Local
Agenda 21’s development has been a patchwork of ideas and projects which are
translated into action directly with the relevant partners who helped develop
them being involved. This type of Local Agenda 21 has been favoured especially
in those countries of Europe with advanced
routines and experience in planning and public participation.
Local Agenda 21 Process
development requires involving all citizens in their area of responsibility in
the community: in business, public services, political offices, community
organisations and societies or local residents. Together they should undergo a
change in outlook, which will consequently lead to a change in patterns of
behaviour: How can the desired quality of life be reached for all people with a
simultaneous reduction in the consumption of natural resources?
Since 1992 more
and more Councils have started Local Agenda processes that usually are carried
out through five steps:
Setting up a Local Agenda forum and/or working
groups, ideally consisting of the administrative, political and
business representatives, plus community organisations societies and local
Discussion and analysis of the main local
Identification of goals and ideas for
action for the sustainable development of the municipality;
Integration into a Local Agenda 21 action
plan which is adopted by the council;
Implementation of the action plan, again including all representatives.