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Paul Ryan’s efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare foiled

Infowars breaks down the open revolt against the Obamacare repeal and replace bill.


Image Credit: Bill Clark/Roll Call

Image Credit: Bill Clark/Roll Call



This Thursday, the House of Representatives will vote on a Republican bill that supposedly repeals Obamacare. However, the bill retains Obamacare’s most destructive features.

That is not to say this legislation is entirely without merit. For example, the bill expands the amount individuals can contribute to a health savings account (HSA). HSAs allow individuals to save money tax-free to pay for routine medical expenses. By restoring individuals’ control over healthcare dollars, HSAs remove the distortions introduced in the healthcare market by government policies encouraging over-reliance on third-party payers.

The legislation also contains other positive tax changes, such a provision allowing individuals to use healthcare tax credits to purchase a “catastrophic-only” insurance policy. Ideally, health insurance should only cover major or catastrophic health events. No one expects their auto insurance to cover routine oil changes, so why should they expect health insurance to cover routine checkups?

Unfortunately the bill’s positive aspects are more than outweighed by its failure to repeal Obamacare’s regulations and price controls. Like all price controls, Obamacare distorts the signals that a freely functioning marketplace sends to consumers and producers, thus guaranteeing chaos in the marketplace. The result of this chaos is higher prices, reduced supply, and lowered quality.

Two particularly insidious Obamacare regulations are guaranteed issue and community ratings. As the name suggests, guaranteed issue forces health insurance companies to issue a health insurance policy to anyone who applies for coverage. Community ratings forces health insurance companies to charge an obese couch potato and a physically-fit jogger similar premiums. This forces the jogger to subsidize the couch potato’s unhealthy lifestyle.

Obamacare’s individual mandate was put in place to ensure that guaranteed issue and community ratings would not drive health insurance companies out of business. Rather than repealing guaranteed issue and community ratings, the House Republicans’ plan forces those who go longer than two months without health insurance to pay a penalty to health insurance companies when they purchase new policies.

It is hard to feel sympathy for the insurance companies since they supported Obamacare. These companies were eager to accept government regulations in exchange for a mandate that individuals buy their product. But we should feel sympathy for Americans who are struggling to afford, or even obtain, healthcare because of Obamacare and who will obtain little or no relief from Obamacare 2.0.

The underlying problem with the Republican proposal is philosophical. The plan put forth by the alleged pro-free-market Republicans implicitly accepts the premise that healthcare is a right that must be provided by government. But rights are inalienable aspects of our humanity, not gifts from government.

If government can give us rights, then it can also limit or even take away those rights. Giving government power to enforce a fictitious right to healthcare justifies government theft and coercion. Thievery and violence do not suddenly become moral when carried out by governments.

Treating healthcare as a right leads to government intervention, which, as we have seen, inevitably leads to higher prices and lower quality. This is why, with the exception of those specialties, like plastic surgery, that are still treated as goods, not rights, healthcare is one of the few areas where innovation leads to increased costs.

America’s healthcare system will only be fixed when a critical mass of people rejects the philosophical and economic fallacies justifying government-run healthcare. Those of us who know the truth must continue to work to spread the ideas of, and grow the movement for, liberty.




Video Report: In an attempt to restore US national sovereignty, President Trump orders the U.S. State Department to cut UN funding by half.




NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden discusses privacy, surveillance, and Donald Trump. Discussion begins at 35:02.  Snowden’s Q & A discussion was live streamed via

“Edward Snowden’s revelations about government spying and mass data collection are of crucial importance to our society, but he had to sacrifice his free life for it,” said Robert Beens, CEO of “We are proud to honor his service and help bring his privacy message to the world.”




Battle Of New Orleans Radio welcomes UN Agenda 21 expert/author John Anthony and Georgia reporter Carl Swensson.  John exposes how the UN working through HUD is trampling on people’s personal property rights and communities zoning laws.  Carl updates citizen’s arrests of county officials in GA who have violated their oaths of office.  We also cover Hillary Clinton’s open lawlessness.  Are we living in  a banana republic?

Local Government Implementation of Agenda 21

April 1997

Local Gov­ern­ment Imple­men­ta­tion of Agenda 21 was pre­pared by ICLEI for the Earth Council’s Rio+5 Forum (April 13–19, 1997 — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), for the 5th Ses­sion of the UN Com­mis­sion on Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment, and for the UN Gen­eral Assembly’s “Earth Summit+5″ Spe­cial Session.

ICLEI is the inter­na­tional envi­ron­men­tal agency of local gov­ern­ments. Founded in 1990, the Council’s mis­sion is to build and serve a world­wide move­ment of local gov­ern­ments to achieve and mon­i­tor tan­gi­ble improve­ments in global envi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions through cumu­la­tive local actions. It is a mem­ber­ship asso­ci­a­tion whose mem­bers cur­rently include more than 250 cities, towns, coun­ties, and their asso­ci­a­tions around the world. ICLEI is for­mally asso­ci­ated with the Inter­na­tional Union of Local Author­i­ties (IULA) and serves as its envi­ron­men­tal arm.

For more infor­ma­tion on this report, please contact:

The Inter­na­tional Coun­cil for Local
Envi­ron­men­tal Ini­tia­tives (ICLEI)
World Sec­re­tariat
City Hall, East Tower, 8th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N2, Canada
Phone: +1–416/392‑1462
Fax: +1–416/392‑1478
Inter­net Web­site:


© ICLEI-Canada, 1997.
All Rights Reserved. No part of this pub­li­ca­tion may be repro­duced, stored in a
retrieval sys­tem, or trans­mit­ted, in any form or by any means,
elec­tronic, mechan­i­cal, pho­to­copy­ing, record­ing or oth­er­wise with­out
prior per­mis­sion of ICLEI-Canada


Table of Contents

  1. The Local Agenda 21 Movement
  2. Imple­men­ta­tion of Chap­ters 2–22 of Agenda 21 via the Statu­tory Func­tions of Local Government
  3. Pro­grammes and Poli­cies Related to Inter­na­tional Accords
  4. Munic­i­pal Inter­na­tional Coop­er­a­tion (Chap­ter 2)
  5. Par­tic­i­pa­tion and the Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Process — Local Agenda 21 in Caja­marca, Peru
  6. The Use of Flex­i­ble Pub­lic Reg­u­la­tion to Pro­mote Pol­lu­tion Pre­ven­tion — The Green Builder Pro­gram of Austin, U.S.A.
  7. Build­ing Local Gov­ern­ment Capac­ity for Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment in Mex­ico City, Mex­ico and Quito, Ecuador
  8. Local Imple­men­ta­tion of Inter­na­tional Envi­ron­men­tal Accords — The Case of Local Cli­mate Action Plan­ning in Han­nover & Saar­brücken, Germany
  9. Pro­tec­tion of Bio­di­ver­sity as a Local Man­age­ment Chal­lenge — Multi-Functional Park Design and Man­age­ment in Dur­ban, South Africa



Because so many of the prob­lems and solu­tions being addressed by Agenda 21 have their roots in local activ­i­ties, the par­tic­i­pa­tion and coop­er­a­tion of local author­i­ties will be a deter­min­ing fac­tor in ful­fill­ing its objec­tives. Local author­i­ties con­struct, oper­ate and main­tain eco­nomic, social and envi­ron­men­tal infra­struc­ture, over­see plan­ning processes, estab­lish local envi­ron­men­tal poli­cies and reg­u­la­tions, and assist in imple­ment­ing national and sub­na­tional envi­ron­men­tal poli­cies. As the level of gov­er­nance clos­est to the peo­ple, they play a vital role in edu­cat­ing, mobi­liz­ing and respond­ing to the pub­lic to pro­mote sus­tain­able development.

Agenda 21, para­graph 28.1


We adopt the enabling strat­egy and the prin­ci­ples of part­ner­ship and par­tic­i­pa­tion as the most demo­c­ra­tic and effec­tive approach for the real­iza­tion of our com­mit­ments. Recog­nis­ing local author­i­ties as our clos­est and essen­tial part­ners in the imple­men­ta­tion of the Habi­tat Agenda, we must, within the legal frame­work of each coun­try, pro­mote decen­tral­i­sa­tion through demo­c­ra­tic local author­i­ties and work to strengthen their finan­cial and insti­tu­tional capac­i­ties in accor­dance with the con­di­tions of coun­tries, while ensur­ing their trans­parency, account­abil­ity and respon­sive­ness to the needs of peo­ple, which are key require­ments for Gov­ern­ments at all levels.

The Istan­bul Dec­la­ra­tion, Arti­cle 12

Exec­u­tive Summary

Local gov­ern­ments have demon­strated a deep com­mit­ment to the imple­men­ta­tion of Agenda 21.

Since 1991, more than 1,800 local gov­ern­ments in 64 coun­tries have estab­lished Local Agenda 21 plan­ning processes to engage with their com­mu­ni­ties to imple­ment Agenda 21 at the local level. Local gov­ern­ments and their com­mu­ni­ties also have vol­un­tar­ily assumed new respon­si­bil­i­ties for global envi­ron­men­tal prob­lems, such as cli­mate change, for­est destruc­tion, and pol­lu­tion of the seas. They have estab­lished their own inter­na­tional pro­grammes, in the con­text of inter­na­tional envi­ron­men­tal con­ven­tions, to address these chal­lenges. For exam­ple, 164 cities in 34 coun­tries — and rep­re­sent­ing 4% of global car­bon diox­ide (CO2) emis­sions — have joined a Cities for Cli­mate Pro­tec­tion Cam­paign to reduce their green­house gas emis­sions by as much as 20%.

The grow­ing role of local gov­ern­ments in the imple­men­ta­tion of Agenda 21 has been rec­og­nized by national gov­ern­ments and the United Nations sys­tem. How­ever, this recog­ni­tion has not been accom­pa­nied by real­is­tic dis­cus­sion of the abil­ity of local gov­ern­ments and com­mu­ni­ties to imple­ment their Local Agenda 21 action plans or other sus­tain­able devel­op­ment respon­si­bil­i­ties. Over the past ten years local gov­ern­ments in more than 60 coun­tries have received increased respon­si­bil­i­ties for envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and social pro­grammes as a result of national-level dereg­u­la­tion, decen­tral­iza­tion, and “down load­ing” of tra­di­tional national– or state-level respon­si­bil­i­ties. The insti­tu­tional and finan­cial capac­ity of local gov­ern­ments to ful­fill these man­dates, and the impacts of rapid decen­tral­iza­tion upon the world­wide capac­i­ties of the pub­lic sec­tor to imple­ment sus­tain­able devel­op­ment have not been suf­fi­ciently reviewed.

ICLEI’s analy­sis of local gov­ern­ment imple­men­ta­tion of Agenda 21 dur­ing the 1992–1996 period con­cludes that the great­est impacts of local gov­ern­ment actions have been in the areas of insti­tu­tional devel­op­ment, pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion, and improved man­age­ment sys­tems. In thou­sands of cities and towns indi­vid­ual “best prac­tice” projects also have pro­duced con­crete, pos­i­tive impacts in spe­cific areas of man­age­ment. How­ever, few local gov­ern­ments have yet demon­strated their capac­ity to achieve dra­matic improve­ments in social and envi­ron­men­tal trends except in cer­tain key areas of local respon­si­bil­ity, such as solid waste man­age­ment or water pol­lu­tion con­trol. This con­clu­sion high­lights the impor­tance of the fol­low­ing crit­i­cal issues to the suc­cess­ful, world­wide imple­men­ta­tion of Agenda 21.

  1. Dur­ing the past five years, the sus­tain­able devel­op­ment strate­gies and projects of local gov­ern­ments have gen­er­ally been iso­lated from over­all munic­i­pal bud­get­ing, local devel­op­ment plan­ning, land-use con­trol, and eco­nomic devel­op­ment activ­i­ties. As a result, sus­tain­able devel­op­ment strate­gies, such as Local Agenda 21, have only resulted in sig­nif­i­cant changes in urban devel­op­ment trends in a lim­ited num­ber of cases.
  2. Dur­ing the same period, many national gov­ern­ments have “down loaded” envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and social devel­op­ment respon­si­bil­i­ties to local gov­ern­ments in order to address national fis­cal prob­lems. This trend rarely has been accom­pa­nied by new rev­enue gen­er­at­ing pow­ers or by trans­fers of the rev­enues that were tra­di­tion­ally avail­able for their exe­cu­tion. The result­ing increase in finan­cial bur­dens upon local gov­ern­ments is under­min­ing their abil­ity to imple­ment Local Agenda 21 strategies.
  3. At the same time, reduced or poor national-level reg­u­la­tion of eco­nomic activ­i­ties is weak­en­ing the abil­ity of local gov­ern­ments to hold local busi­nesses and other insti­tu­tions (includ­ing them­selves) account­able for the neg­a­tive envi­ron­men­tal and social impacts of their activities.
  4. National, sub­na­tional, and local gov­ern­ments con­tinue to main­tain poli­cies, sub­si­dies, and fis­cal frame­works that inhibit effi­cient resource use and devel­op­ment con­trol at the local level.
  5. Min­i­mal incen­tives exist for transna­tional cor­po­ra­tions and multi-lateral devel­op­ment insti­tu­tions to be account­able and com­mit­ted to local devel­op­ment strate­gies. Local gov­ern­ments have lim­ited con­trol over the tox­i­c­i­ties, resource effi­cien­cies, and pack­ag­ing of the con­sumer prod­ucts that are sold, used, and dis­posed within their jurisdictions.

On this basis, the Inter­na­tional Coun­cil for Local Envi­ron­men­tal Ini­tia­tives (ICLEI) makes the fol­low­ing rec­om­men­da­tions to the United Nations sys­tem, national gov­ern­ments, the non-governmental com­mu­nity, and local gov­ern­ment organizations.

Rec­om­men­da­tion 1 –
Strengthen and sup­port the Local Agenda 21 movement.

The Local Agenda 21 move­ment is one of the most exten­sive follow-up activ­i­ties to the Earth Sum­mit. To expand this move­ment, national gov­ern­ments, NGOs, and donor insti­tu­tions are encour­aged to sup­port the estab­lish­ment of national Local Agenda 21 cam­paigns. To inten­sify the imple­men­ta­tion of Local Agenda 21 action plans, local gov­ern­ments are strongly urged to for­mally link Local Agenda 21 plan­ning activ­i­ties with the annual bud­get­ing and statu­tory plan­ning activ­i­ties of the munic­i­pal­ity. It is fur­ther rec­om­mended that national and inter­na­tional invest­ment pro­grammes actively fac­tor the strate­gies and tar­gets of Local Agenda 21 action plans in the selec­tion and design of projects for their support.

Rec­om­men­da­tion 2 –
Har­mo­nize pub­lic sec­tor poli­cies and approaches.

Within each coun­try, estab­lish a part­ner­ship between national, state, and local lev­els of gov­ern­ment — per­haps within the frame­work of National Coun­cils for Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment — to iden­tify and review poli­cies, legal frame­works, and fis­cal frame­works that inhibit sus­tain­able resource man­age­ment and social devel­op­ment. It is fur­ther rec­om­mended that the UNCSD request a pre­lim­i­nary review report on this topic to be pre­pared by the UNDPCSD and ICLEI for its sixth session.

Rec­om­men­da­tion 3 –
Increase local gov­ern­ment finan­cial capacities.

Estab­lish a global part­ner­ship of national gov­ern­ments, local gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tions, and mul­ti­lat­eral and pri­vate lend­ing insti­tu­tions to devise and rec­om­mend local gov­ern­ment rev­enue enhance­ment strate­gies to accom­pany national decen­tral­iza­tion pro­grammes or “down load­ing” ini­tia­tives. Focus munic­i­pal devel­op­ment pro­gramme assis­tance on capacity-building in munic­i­pal finance.

Rec­om­men­da­tion 4 –
Estab­lish flex­i­ble reg­u­la­tory frame­works for all areas of Agenda 21.

The role of reg­u­la­tion in achiev­ing sus­tain­able devel­op­ment needs to be refined. How­ever reg­u­la­tory frame­works should be designed to con­sist of two inte­grated ele­ments: min­i­mum enforce­able stan­dards and a frame­work for flex­i­ble com­pli­ance using inno­v­a­tive vol­un­tary agree­ments and programmes.

Rec­om­men­da­tion 5 –
Increase pri­vate sec­tor account­abil­ity to Local Agen­das 21.

Estab­lish coop­er­a­tion agree­ments between LGOs and inter­na­tional busi­ness orga­ni­za­tions on a sector-by-sector basis to encour­age all busi­nesses and, in spe­cific, transna­tional cor­po­ra­tions to respect and sup­port the Local Agenda 21 strate­gies of the com­mu­ni­ties in which they invest and main­tain their operations.

Rec­om­men­da­tion 6 –
Orga­nize local gov­ern­ment pur­chas­ing pow­ers for sus­tain­able development.

Estab­lish inter­na­tional pro­to­cols among local gov­ern­ments on an inter­na­tional basis to use their pur­chas­ing and legal pow­ers to per­suade con­sumer prod­ucts man­u­fac­tur­ers and retail­ers to achieve min­i­mum effi­ciency and waste reduc­tion stan­dards in prod­uct design and packaging.


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Fig­ure 1.
Local Gov­ern­ment Imple­men­ta­tion of Agenda 21 — High­lights from the 1991–1996 Period.

Local Agenda 21

  • Local Agenda 21 plan­ning activ­ity is widespread.
    • 1,812 local gov­ern­ments from 64 coun­tries are now involved.
    • 933 munic­i­pal­i­ties from 43 coun­tries have Local Agenda 21 plan­ning underway.
    • 879 munic­i­pal­i­ties are just start­ing to estab­lish the process.
  • Most Local Agenda 21 activ­ity is tak­ing place in coun­tries with national campaigns.
    • 1,487 (82%) are from 11 coun­tries where national cam­paigns are underway.
    • 117 (6%) are in 9 coun­tries where national cam­paigns are just starting.
    • 208 are in 44 coun­tries where there is no national campaign.

Other Key Activities

  • Health and the envi­ron­ment. The World Health Organization’s Healthy Cities Pro­gramme now involves more than 1,000 munic­i­pal­i­ties and 17 national campaigns.
  • Cli­mate and rain for­est pro­tec­tion. The ICLEI Cities for Cli­mate Pro­tec­tion Cam­paign — focus­ing on green­house gas emis­sions — includes 164 cities from 34 coun­tries. The Euro­pean Cli­mate Alliance — addi­tion­ally focus­ing on rain for­est pro­tec­tion — includes 650 cities from 10 countries.
  • Land-based pol­lu­tion of the seas. City net­works have been estab­lished to sup­port munic­i­pal anti-pollution efforts related to spe­cific seas, such as the Union of Baltic Cities, Envi­ron­ment North Sea, and the UTDA Med­c­i­ties Project.
  • Munic­i­pal inter­na­tional coop­er­a­tion. Numer­ous North-South and East-West inter-municipal devel­op­ment assis­tance pro­grammes have been imple­mented under the aus­pices of national and inter­na­tional asso­ci­a­tions of local gov­ern­ment. These pro­grammes have involved many hun­dreds of cities and towns.


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A. Intro­duc­tion

Since the begin­nings of the mod­ern envi­ron­men­tal and pub­lic health move­ments, cities have been viewed as cen­ters of the social and envi­ron­men­tal ills of the indus­tri­al­ized world. This anti-urban bias was still observ­able on the eve of the 1992 United Nations Con­fer­ence on Envi­ron­ment and Devel­op­ment (Earth Sum­mit). At that time, most inter­na­tional devel­op­ment assis­tance was allo­cated to rural devel­op­ment projects. Envi­ron­men­tal­ists still focused pri­mar­ily upon nature pro­tec­tion, and the “brown agenda” was a new idea. The desire to stop migra­tion to cities was a reg­u­lar topic of debate in the UNCED prepara­tory process.

Since 1992, a rev­o­lu­tion of opin­ion has occurred with regards to the role and impor­tance of cities in the achieve­ment of sus­tain­able devel­op­ment. While few still appre­ci­ate the tremen­dous eco­log­i­cal ben­e­fits of urban­iza­tion1, cities now are viewed as cen­ters of social and eco­nomic cre­ativ­ity. By the time of the Sec­ond United Nations Con­fer­ence on Human Set­tle­ments, the city had come to be rec­og­nized as the locus of sus­tain­able devel­op­ment at the national and global lev­els. This recog­ni­tion has been accom­pa­nied by a dra­matic shift in inter­na­tional devel­op­ment assis­tance and national gov­ern­ment and pri­vate foun­da­tion resources to urban pro­grammes. In turn, UN agen­cies, national gov­ern­ments, and the NGO com­mu­nity have been rapidly estab­lish­ing new urban-oriented projects.

Par­al­lel to this trans­for­ma­tion of opin­ion about urban devel­op­ment, the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity, national gov­ern­ments, and NGOs have also been review­ing their long-held biases against local gov­ern­ments. For decades, local gov­ern­ments gen­er­ally have been viewed as the poor cousin in the pub­lic sec­tor. They were more likely to be referred to in pol­icy debates as incom­pe­tent, cor­rupt, and unac­count­able than as crit­i­cal part­ners for sus­tain­able development.

Prior to the Earth Sum­mit, inter­na­tional insti­tu­tions rarely involved local gov­ern­ments in their dis­cus­sions and pro­grammes. Within the United Nations sys­tem they were not even rec­og­nized as gov­ern­men­tal insti­tu­tions. Inter­na­tional devel­op­ment pro­grammes com­monly ignored local gov­ern­ments and some­times encour­aged their replace­ment by paras­tatal bod­ies. As the most acces­si­ble level of gov­ern­ment, NGOs often sin­gled out local gov­ern­ment for their harsh­est crit­i­cisms, or ignored them altogether.

Five years after the Earth Sum­mit, the inter­na­tional com­mu­nity has rec­og­nized that major respon­si­bil­i­ties for sus­tain­able urban devel­op­ment are in local gov­ern­ment hands. Indeed, dur­ing this period, national gov­ern­ments in more than 60 coun­tries have been decen­tral­iz­ing and “down load­ing” pub­lic sec­tor respon­si­bil­i­ties for envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and social devel­op­ment to local gov­ern­ments.2

Local gov­ern­ments con­struct, oper­ate, and main­tain eco­nomic, social, and envi­ron­men­tal infra­struc­ture, over­see land use and devel­op­ment plan­ning processes, estab­lish local envi­ron­men­tal poli­cies and reg­u­la­tions, and assist in imple­ment­ing national and sub­na­tional envi­ron­men­tal poli­cies. They annu­ally pro­cure tens of bil­lions of dol­lars worth of goods and can use their eco­nomic clout to influ­ence mar­kets. They play a vital role in edu­cat­ing and mobi­liz­ing the pub­lic to pro­mote sus­tain­able development.

Local gov­ern­ments have been work­ing steadily since the late 19th cen­tury to address the issues raised in Agenda 21, over­see­ing three suc­ces­sive cycles in pub­lic invest­ment, involv­ing tril­lions of dollars.

In the first instance, local gov­ern­ments financed, con­structed and main­tained much of the world’s basic infra­struc­ture for pub­lic health and eco­nomic devel­op­ment — sew­er­age sys­tems, solid waste man­age­ment sys­tems, roads and pub­lic tran­sit sys­tems, and pub­lic health sys­tems. As these sys­tems removed wastes and pol­lu­tants from urban liv­ing spaces and dis­posed them into rivers, seas, soils and air, local gov­ern­ments — often under pres­sure from envi­ron­men­tal­ists — under­took a sec­ond cycle of invest­ments, adding sew­er­age treat­ment facil­i­ties, pol­lu­tion mon­i­tor­ing and con­trol pro­grammes, and engi­neered land­fills to their sus­tain­able devel­op­ment infra­struc­ture. In the 1970s and 1980s, as eco­nomic growth and con­sump­tion over­whelmed these con­trols and facil­i­ties, local gov­ern­ments started to imple­ment a third cycle of invest­ments. This time their invest­ments focused on pol­lu­tion pre­ven­tion, source reduc­tion, and demand-side man­age­ment pro­grammes, includ­ing solid waste recy­cling pro­grammes, water and energy effi­ciency pro­grammes, and trans­porta­tion demand man­age­ment strategies.

Since the Earth Sum­mit, local gov­ern­ments have accel­er­ated their invest­ments in these three gen­er­a­tions of infra­struc­ture. At the same time, they have enthu­si­as­ti­cally led a global Local Agenda 21 move­ment that presently involves more than 1,800 local gov­ern­ments in 64 coun­tries. Local gov­ern­ments have also estab­lished new inter­na­tional cam­paigns to con­tribute to the imple­men­ta­tion of inter­na­tional devel­op­ment assis­tance objec­tives and inter­na­tional envi­ron­men­tal accords. A sum­mary of some of these activ­i­ties is pre­sented in this report.

The efforts of local gov­ern­ments to imple­ment Agenda 21 have received increas­ing recog­ni­tion and praise from the UN sys­tem, national gov­ern­ments and the NGO com­mu­nity. How­ever, local gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tions (LGOs) are con­cerned that sup­port for local gov­ern­ment efforts does not stop at pub­lic recognition.

LGOs know that the recent invest­ments and efforts of local gov­ern­ments are not suf­fi­cient to reverse global trends in resource deple­tion, impov­er­ish­ment, and eco­nomic dis­lo­ca­tion caused by rapid eco­nomic growth and change. At the same time, they are keenly aware that grow­ing national man­dates and pub­lic expec­ta­tions upon local gov­ern­ments are not being accom­pa­nied by the resources and pow­ers required to ful­fill them. Fur­ther­more, in impor­tant ways, local gov­ern­ments still do not have for­mal sta­tus in key sus­tain­able devel­op­ment insti­tu­tions, includ­ing the UN Com­mis­sion on Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment and the National Coun­cils for Sus­tain­able Development.

For this rea­son, this report reviews some of the key lessons of local gov­ern­ment suc­cess since the Earth Sum­mit, and high­lights the major obsta­cles that must be over­come to imple­ment Agenda 21 and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment at the local level. It con­cludes with a set of six action rec­om­men­da­tions that aim to focus the new respect for local gov­ern­ments by the UN sys­tem, national gov­ern­ments, and NGOs on prac­ti­cal mea­sures to lend them support.


B. Progress on the Imple­men­ta­tion of Agenda 21 and Related United Nations Con­fer­ences and Inter­na­tional Accords

Local gov­ern­ment imple­men­ta­tion of Agenda 21 and related UN con­fer­ences and inter­na­tional accords is tak­ing place in four cat­e­gories of activ­ity. These are:

  1. Imple­men­ta­tion of Chap­ter 28 of Agenda 21, “Local Author­i­ties’ Ini­tia­tive in Sup­port of Agenda 21,” or Local Agenda 21, as well as related part­ner­ship activ­i­ties with major groups (Chap­ters 24–27 and 29–32);
  2. Imple­men­ta­tion of Chap­ters 3–22 of Agenda 21 via the day-to-day func­tions of local gov­ern­ment in the areas of nat­ural resource man­age­ment (e.g., water sup­ply, land-use con­trol), urban devel­op­ment (e.g., hous­ing, trans­porta­tion), waste man­age­ment, pub­lic health pro­mo­tion, and social ser­vices as well as pro­mo­tional activ­i­ties to edu­cate local res­i­dents and stake­hold­ers about Agenda 21 and sus­tain­able development;
  3. Local pro­grammes and poli­cies related to spe­cific inter­na­tional accords and UN strate­gies; and
  4. Munic­i­pal inter­na­tional coop­er­a­tion (Chap­ter 2).

High­lights of activ­i­ties in each of these areas are pre­sented below.


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A Note on Methodology

The infor­ma­tion pre­sented in this report — and used to draw its con­clu­sions — has been gath­ered by ICLEI and part­ner local gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tions using sur­veys, regional con­sul­ta­tion meet­ings, tele­phone inter­views, and exten­sive case study analy­sis. The fol­low­ing is a sum­mary of the key data col­lec­tion and analy­sis meth­ods employed.

Local Agenda 21 and Imple­men­ta­tion of Chap­ters 23–32 of Agenda 21

The pri­mary sources of infor­ma­tion used for this review were two inter­na­tional sur­veys on Local Agenda 21, the results of which were val­i­dated through regional con­sul­ta­tion meet­ings, tele­phone inter­views, and the country-specific sur­veys of national asso­ci­a­tions of local gov­ern­ment. A full descrip­tion of these sur­veys and their find­ings is pre­sented in Local Agenda 21 Sur­vey — A Study of Responses by Local Author­i­ties and Their National and Inter­na­tional Asso­ci­a­tions to Agenda 21 (ICLEI/UNDPCSD, 1997).

Imple­men­ta­tion of Chap­ters 2–22 of Agenda 21

The pri­mary method used for this pur­pose was com­par­a­tive case study analy­sis. ICLEI com­pared the con­tents of 150 local gov­ern­ment “best prac­tice” sub­mis­sions from 23 coun­tries in 1991 with the con­tents of 129 local gov­ern­ment “best prac­tice” sub­mis­sions from 24 coun­tries dur­ing the 1993–1996 period in order to dis­cern pri­or­ity areas of action and changes in prac­tices. These find­ings were sup­ple­mented by a con­tent analy­sis of the envi­ron­men­tal poli­cies and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment strate­gies of six national asso­ci­a­tions of local government.

Analy­sis of Key Obsta­cles to Local Sus­tain­able Development

The iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of obsta­cles was derived from the above men­tioned case study analy­sis as well as from a com­par­i­son of the con­clu­sions of three Local Agenda 21 con­sul­ta­tion meet­ings held by ICLEI in prepa­ra­tion for the Earth Sum­mit (1991–1992) with the con­clu­sions of inter­na­tional and regional con­sul­ta­tions of local gov­ern­ments in 1995–1996.


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1. The Local Agenda 21 Movement

Per­haps the great­est response by local gov­ern­ments to Agenda 21 is in the area of Chap­ters 22–32, strength­en­ing the role of major groups, and in par­tic­u­lar Chap­ter 28 of Agenda 21. This chap­ter states that “by 1996 most local author­i­ties in each coun­try should have under­taken a con­sul­ta­tive process with their pop­u­la­tions and achieved a con­sen­sus on a ‘local Agenda 21′ for the community.”

Fol­low­ing UNCED, local gov­ern­ments, national and inter­na­tional local gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tions (LGOs), and inter­na­tional bod­ies and UN agen­cies entered a period of exper­i­men­ta­tion with the imple­men­ta­tion of the Local Agenda 21 con­cept. The lead actors in these efforts were the local gov­ern­ments them­selves which worked, often with the sup­port of their national munic­i­pal asso­ci­a­tions, to develop the Local Agenda 21 plan­ning approaches appro­pri­ate to their cir­cum­stances. How­ever, inter­na­tional pro­grammes played a crit­i­cal role in doc­u­ment­ing and ana­lyz­ing these grow­ing local expe­ri­ences, and in facil­i­tat­ing the exchange of Local Agenda 21 approaches and tools.

The accu­mu­la­tion and exchange of prac­ti­cal expe­ri­ences helped to iden­tify a set of uni­ver­sal ele­ments and fac­tors for the suc­cess of Local Agenda 21 plan­ning. While these are being con­tin­u­ally updated and revised by local prac­ti­tion­ers, five key ele­ments have been defined for Local Agenda 21 plan­ning in the 1992–1996 period. These are:

  • Multi-sectoral engage­ment in the plan­ning process through a local stake­hold­ers group which serves as the coor­di­na­tion and pol­icy body for prepar­ing a long-term sus­tain­able devel­op­ment action plan.
  • Con­sul­ta­tion with com­mu­nity groups, NGOs, busi­ness, churches, gov­ern­ment agen­cies, pro­fes­sional groups and unions in order to cre­ate a shared vision and to iden­tify pro­pos­als and pri­or­i­ties for action.
  • Par­tic­i­pa­tory assess­ment of local social, eco­nomic, and envi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions and needs.
  • Par­tic­i­pa­tory target-setting through nego­ti­a­tions among key stake­hold­ers in order to achieve the vision and goals set forth in the action plan.
  • Mon­i­tor­ing and report­ing pro­ce­dures, includ­ing local indi­ca­tors, to track progress and to allow par­tic­i­pants to hold each other account­able to the action plan.

Dur­ing 1996, ICLEI and the UN Depart­ment for Pol­icy Coor­di­na­tion and Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment (DPCSD) con­ducted an inter­na­tional sur­vey on Local Agenda 21 progress world­wide. The fol­low­ing is a sum­mary of the ICLEI/DPCSD Sur­vey results, which have been pub­lished in a spe­cial report of the UNCSD enti­tled Local Agenda 21 Sur­vey — A Study of Responses by Local Author­i­ties and Their National and Inter­na­tional Asso­ci­a­tions to Agenda 21 (1997).3

The sur­vey revealed that as of Novem­ber 30, 1996, more than 1,800 local gov­ern­ments in 64 coun­tries were involved in Local Agenda 21 activ­i­ties. Of this num­ber, ICLEI con­firmed that Local Agenda 21 plan­ning was under­way in 933 munic­i­pal­i­ties from 43 coun­tries and was just get­ting started in an addi­tional 879 munic­i­pal­i­ties. Most of these plan­ning processes are being under­taken under the name of “Local Agenda 21.” How­ever, the Local Agenda 21 man­date is being imple­mented in a num­ber of cities and towns under a dif­fer­ent local name or through var­i­ous estab­lished inter­na­tional assis­tance pro­gramme, such as the UNCHS Sus­tain­able Cities Pro­gramme, the UNDP Capac­ity 21 Pro­gramme or the GTZ Urban Envi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment Pro­gramme. Local Agenda 21 activ­i­ties are most con­cen­trated in the eleven coun­tries where national Local Agenda 21 cam­paigns are underway–in Aus­tralia, Bolivia, China, Den­mark, Fin­land, Japan, Nether­lands, Nor­way, Repub­lic of Korea, Swe­den, and the United King­dom. These national cam­paigns are usu­ally oper­ated by the national asso­ci­a­tion of local gov­ern­ment in part­ner­ship with national gov­ern­ment and NGOs. In these coun­tries, 1,487 local gov­ern­ments — rep­re­sent­ing 82% of the reported total — have estab­lished Local Agenda 21 plan­ning efforts.

An addi­tional 6% of the reported total, or 117 Local Agenda 21 processes, have been estab­lished in the nine coun­tries where national Local Agenda 21 cam­paigns are just now get­ting under­way — in Brazil, Colom­bia, Ger­many, Greece, Ire­land, Malawi, Peru, South Africa, and the United States. The remain­ing 208 reported Local Agenda 21 processes are tak­ing place in 44 coun­tries that do not have national cam­paigns. These find­ings high­light the crit­i­cal impor­tance of national Local Agenda 21 cam­paigns to the imple­men­ta­tion of Agenda 21, Chap­ter 28.

Munic­i­pal­i­ties in devel­oped coun­tries account for 1,631 or 90% of the iden­ti­fied Local Agenda 21 plan­ning processes. Nev­er­the­less, Local Agenda 21 plan­ning is rapidly increas­ing in 42 devel­op­ing coun­tries and economies-in-transition, where 181 Local Agenda 21 plan­ning processes were identified.

The sur­vey also doc­u­mented the types of activ­i­ties being under­taken as part of Local Agenda 21 plan­ning. Of the 933 Local Agenda 21 processes that were iden­ti­fied to be under­way, all have estab­lished a con­sul­ta­tive process with local res­i­dents, 516 have estab­lished a local “stake­hold­ers group” to over­see this process, and 666 have begun the prepa­ra­tion of a local action plan. Among the most advanced processes, 237 have estab­lished a frame­work to mon­i­tor and report on the achieve­ment of action plan objec­tives, and 210 have estab­lished local indi­ca­tors for mon­i­tor­ing purposes.

The ICLEI/DPCSD sur­vey was unable to eval­u­ate the local-level impacts of Local Agenda 21 plan­ning activ­i­ties. For this pur­pose, ICLEI under­took a detailed, com­par­a­tive review of local prac­tice through the doc­u­men­ta­tion and eval­u­a­tion of 29 case stud­ies. The pri­mary con­clu­sion of this case study review is that the great­est impact of Local Agenda 21 dur­ing its first years has been to reform the process of gov­er­nance at the local level so that the key require­ments of sus­tain­able devel­op­ment can be fac­tored into local plan­ning and budgeting.

As is illus­trated by the case of Caja­marca, Peru, described in Sec­tion C, the imple­men­ta­tion of the Local Agenda 21 process requires local gov­ern­ments to decen­tral­ize gov­er­nance, reform their cur­rent depart­men­tal struc­tures, and change tra­di­tional oper­a­tional pro­ce­dures. Most Local Agenda 21 efforts started by cre­at­ing new orga­ni­za­tional struc­tures to imple­ment plan­ning. On the one hand, new stake­holder plan­ning bod­ies are cre­ated to coor­di­nate community-wide involve­ment and part­ner­ship for­ma­tion for sus­tain­able devel­op­ment. On the other hand, local gov­ern­ments insti­tute inter­nal reforms, such as the cre­ation of inter­de­part­men­tal plan­ning units or the estab­lish­ment of neigh­bor­hood or village-level gov­ern­ment units.

These activ­i­ties gen­er­ally con­sume the first years of the Local Agenda 21 plan­ning. Such insti­tu­tional reforms may not imme­di­ately pro­duce phys­i­cal improve­ments in devel­op­ment or envi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions. Nev­er­the­less, they are chang­ing the fun­da­men­tal approaches and pol­icy focus of hun­dreds of local gov­ern­ments. These changes include extend­ing the time hori­zon of local plan­ning, estab­lish­ing par­tic­i­pa­tory, account­able decision-making frame­works, and oper­at­ing through multi-sectoral part­ner­ships. As a result, these local gov­ern­ments are becom­ing more effec­tive and ded­i­cated agents of the sus­tain­able devel­op­ment agenda.

In some cases — pri­mar­ily in those com­mu­ni­ties that started work prior to 1992 — local gov­ern­ments have reached the stage in the process where they are imple­ment­ing their Local Agenda 21 action plans. For instance, in Kana­gawa Pre­fec­ture, Japan, the imple­men­ta­tion of the Kana­gawa Agenda 21 involves 52 projects with a bud­get of U.S.$149 mil­lion.4

In devel­op­ing coun­tries, imple­men­ta­tion tends to begin by address­ing a few pri­or­ity prob­lems. For instance, the Local Agenda 21 effort in Quito, Ecuador, is focus­ing on the sta­bi­liza­tion and restora­tion of the many ravines in that city’s low income South Zone. Local Agenda 21 efforts in Pim­pri Chinch­wad, India, are focus­ing on slum upgrad­ing. In Jinja, Uganda, efforts focus on solid waste management.

The chal­lenges fac­ing the Local Agenda 21 move­ment over the next five years fall into two cat­e­gories. First, the growth of the move­ment itself must be sup­ported. To date, the most suc­cess­ful mech­a­nism of sup­port has been the estab­lish­ment by LGOs of national and, in some cases, regional Local Agenda 21 cam­paigns. Par­tic­u­larly atten­tion needs to be given to the estab­lish­ment of national cam­paigns in devel­op­ing countries.

Sec­ond, local gov­ern­ments them­selves must move from the plan­ning stage to imple­men­ta­tion. The suc­cess­ful imple­men­ta­tion of Local Agenda 21 action plans will require fur­ther inte­gra­tion of the Local Agenda 21 strate­gies and tar­gets with the tra­di­tional bud­get­ing and statu­tory plan­ning activ­i­ties of munic­i­pal­i­ties. To the extent that statu­tory plans and annual bud­gets are not revised to reflect Local Agenda 21 objec­tives, these plans will limit the impact of the Local Agenda 21 move­ment on sus­tain­able human set­tle­ments development.


2. Imple­men­ta­tion of Chap­ters 2–22 of Agenda 21
via the Statu­tory Func­tions of Local Government

Local gov­ern­ments in most coun­tries have direct respon­si­bil­i­ties for some aspect of each chap­ter of Agenda 21. The ful­fill­ment of these local respon­si­bil­i­ties has a direct impact on the suc­cess of inter­na­tional accords, such as the Con­ven­tion for the Pre­ven­tion of Marine Pol­lu­tion from Land-based Sources (1974) or the UN Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change (1992), as well as the achieve­ment of other UN human set­tle­ments and social devel­op­ment strategies.

Local gov­ern­ments annu­ally spend bil­lions of dol­lars to ful­fill their statu­tory respon­si­bil­i­ties. The total annual expen­di­tures of the world’s local gov­ern­ments related to the the­matic areas of Agenda 21 is dif­fi­cult to cal­cu­late. How­ever, an extrap­o­la­tion based on the annual bud­gets of typ­i­cal medium-sized cities for solid waste man­age­ment (Chap­ter 21), water sup­ply and waste water man­age­ment (Chap­ters 17 and 18), and pub­lic trans­porta­tion (Chap­ter 7) would indi­cate that, in aggre­gate, local gov­ern­ments prob­a­bly spend hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars annu­ally in these areas alone.

In many coun­tries, local gov­ern­ments spend more on envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion than other lev­els of gov­ern­ment. The Organ­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Coop­er­a­tion and Devel­op­ment (OECD) has esti­mated that local gov­ern­ments in the United States will account for 65% of total U.S. pub­lic expen­di­ture for the envi­ron­ment by 2000.5 A more detailed account­ing of expen­di­tures for Den­mark has doc­u­mented that Dan­ish local gov­ern­ments are respon­si­ble for more than 80% of that coun­tries envi­ron­men­tal expen­di­tures.6

In con­sid­er­a­tion of these real­i­ties, progress with the imple­men­ta­tion of many chap­ters of Agenda 21 would appear to be depen­dent upon the actions of local gov­ern­ments. In addi­tion to their annual expen­di­tures, local gov­ern­ments also have a vari­ety of other instru­ments to pro­mote sus­tain­able devel­op­ment includ­ing com­pre­hen­sive devel­op­ment plans, land-use and con­struc­tion con­trols, eco­nomic instru­ments (fines, fees, sub­si­dies and taxes), and local regulations.

In prepa­ra­tion for this report, ICLEI com­pared the con­tents of 150 local gov­ern­ment “best prac­tice” sub­mis­sions from 23 coun­tries in 1991 with the con­tents of 129 local gov­ern­ment “best prac­tice” sub­mis­sions from 24 coun­tries dur­ing the 1993–1996 period in order to dis­cern pri­or­ity areas of action and changes in prac­tices (see “A Note on Method­ol­ogy”). A com­par­i­son of the man­age­ment areas of these best prac­tices and the lev­els of their reported impacts was used to eval­u­ate local gov­ern­ment per­for­mance in the areas of Chap­ter 2 through Chap­ter 22 of Agenda 21.

ICLEI’s pri­mary con­clu­sion from this review is that improve­ments in per­for­mance have been most observable–in keep­ing with trends prior to 1992–in the areas of fresh­wa­ter man­age­ment (Chap­ter 18) and solid waste man­age­ment (Chap­ter 21). These are areas over which local gov­ern­ments have both con­sid­er­able con­trol and have received increased local gov­ern­ment com­mit­ment and invest­ment since 1992. In addi­tion, local gov­ern­ments have made con­sid­er­able new com­mit­ments and invest­ments in the areas of pro­mot­ing sus­tain­able human set­tle­ments devel­op­ment (Chap­ter 7) and inte­grat­ing envi­ron­ment and devel­op­ment deci­sion mak­ing (Chap­ter 8). The case stud­ies reviewed indi­cate that in these two areas local gov­ern­ments have responded directly to inspi­ra­tion derived from the UNCED and related pro­mo­tion of sus­tain­able development.

Local gov­ern­ments also appear to have main­tained or increased their com­mit­ments and invest­ments in a num­ber of areas where local con­trol is more lim­ited and, there­fore, where the impacts of local actions are not well estab­lished. These areas include, in order of expressed inter­est and com­mit­ment in the local gov­ern­ment com­mu­nity: inter­na­tional coop­er­a­tion to accel­er­ate sus­tain­able devel­op­ment (Chap­ter 2), pro­tec­tion of the atmos­phere (Chap­ter 9), pro­tect­ing and pro­mot­ing human health (Chap­ter 6), sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture and rural devel­op­ment (Chap­ter 14), pro­tec­tion of oceans, seas, and coastal areas (Chap­ter 17), com­bat­ing poverty (Chap­ter 3), chang­ing con­sump­tion pat­terns (Chap­ter 4), con­ser­va­tion of bio­log­i­cal diver­sity (Chap­ter 15), and com­bat­ing deser­ti­fi­ca­tion and drought (Chap­ter 12).

Local gov­ern­ments have con­sid­er­able con­trol over one area–integrated plan­ning and man­age­ment of land resources (Chap­ter 10)–where ICLEI has wit­nessed con­sid­er­able commitment-in-principle to chang­ing local prac­tices, but where few local gov­ern­ments have demon­strated real progress in con­trol­ling low-density urban sprawl, soil ero­sion, and encroach­ment on agri­cul­tural and biologically-sensitive lands.

Finally, six chap­ters of Agenda 21 rep­re­sent areas where local gov­ern­ments have both lim­ited local con­trol and lim­ited com­mit­ment as well. Com­bat­ing defor­esta­tion (Chap­ter 11) is con­sid­ered by ICLEI to be a bor­der­line case in terms of com­mit­ment — local gov­ern­ments in Europe have made par­tic­u­larly com­mend­able com­mit­ments in this area — but local gov­ern­ment con­trol over major for­est areas is lim­ited. The man­age­ment of haz­ardous wastes (Chap­ter 20) is an area where local gov­ern­ments may have more con­trol, but in prac­tice their com­mit­ment and/or invest­ments are still low. Other areas in these cat­e­gories include: man­age­ment of toxic chem­i­cals (Chap­ter 19), sus­tain­able moun­tain devel­op­ment (Chap­ter 13), demo­graphic dynam­ics and sus­tain­abil­ity (Chap­ter 5), and man­age­ment of biotech­nol­ogy (Chap­ter 16) and radioac­tive wastes (Chap­ter 22).

A graphic pre­sen­ta­tion of these con­clu­sions is pro­vided in Fig­ure 2.


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Fig­ure 2.
Local Gov­ern­ment Responses to Chap­ters 2 — 22 of Agenda 21.


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The above con­clu­sions, based upon case study analy­sis, are sup­ported by a con­tent analy­sis of the envi­ron­men­tal or sus­tain­able devel­op­ment pol­icy and strat­egy doc­u­ments of eight national asso­ci­a­tions of local gov­ern­ment in Aus­tralia, Aus­tria, Canada, Den­mark, Fin­land, Ghana, the United King­dom, and the United States.7 This analy­sis iden­ti­fied the com­mit­ments and activ­i­ties of these national asso­ci­a­tions rel­a­tive to each chap­ter of Agenda 21 in the fol­low­ing areas: domes­tic projects and train­ing; domes­tic pol­icy and advo­cacy, munic­i­pal inter­na­tional coop­er­a­tion, and inter­na­tional pol­icy advo­cacy. The over­all com­mit­ments and activ­i­ties of the albeit lim­ited sam­ple of national munic­i­pal asso­ci­a­tions was then scored for each chap­ter of Agenda 21. The results of this analy­sis are pre­sented in Fig­ure 3.


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Fig­ure 3.
Pri­or­ity Areas of Agenda 21 Follow-up for Eight National Munic­i­pal Associations.


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Closer con­sid­er­a­tion of local gov­ern­ment com­mit­ments and pri­or­i­ties in each area of Agenda 21 reveals that com­mit­ment is often higher than local con­trol or resources for action. Even in areas where local gov­ern­ments have sub­stan­tial con­trol — such as solid waste or fresh­wa­ter resources man­age­ment — the actions of national and state-level gov­ern­ments or the pri­vate sec­tor can reduce the effec­tive appli­ca­tion of this control.

For instance, dur­ing the 1992–1995 period hun­dreds of local gov­ern­ments have increased the por­tion of their munic­i­pal solid waste that is recy­cled. Nev­er­the­less, over­all vol­umes of solid waste have increased in many cities due to increased con­sump­tion and waste­ful prod­uct design and pack­ag­ing. In many African cities, local gov­ern­ments have made efforts to improve drainage and sew­er­age sys­tems, but the pro­lif­er­a­tion of one sim­ple prod­uct — the plas­tic bag — has resulted in con­tin­ued clog­ging of drains and sew­ers and asso­ci­ated floods in res­i­den­tial areas. In North Amer­ica local gov­ern­ments have worked to reduce pri­vate auto­mo­bile use and air emis­sions; the impacts of these efforts are being eroded by the increas­ing pop­u­lar­ity of vehi­cles with low fuel efficiencies.

In areas where local gov­ern­ments have high com­mit­ment but low con­trol — such as pro­tec­tion of the atmos­phere, pro­mot­ing human health, sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture, pro­tec­tion of seas and coastal areas, or com­bat­ing poverty — suc­cess will depend upon part­ner­ships among all lev­els of gov­ern­ment, the pri­vate sec­tor, and house­holds. Local gov­ern­ments can make impor­tant con­tri­bu­tions, but only if the poli­cies, eco­nomic instru­ments, and activ­i­ties of other sec­tors are har­mo­nized with local objectives.


3. Pro­grammes and Poli­cies Related to Inter­na­tional Accords

The imple­men­ta­tion of a num­ber of inter­na­tional accords and United Nations strate­gies can be greatly assisted by local gov­ern­ment action. These include:

  • the Con­ven­tion on Wet­lands of Inter­na­tional Importance,
  • the Con­ven­tion on the Pre­ven­tion of Marine Pol­lu­tion from Land-based Sources,
  • the Con­ven­tion on Long-range Trans­bound­ary Air Pollution,
  • the Con­ven­tion Con­cern­ing Occu­pa­tional Safety and Health and the Work­ing Environment,
  • the Mon­treal Pro­to­col on Sub­stances that Deplete the Ozone Layer,
  • the Basel Con­ven­tion on the Con­trol of Trans­bound­ary Move­ments of Haz­ardous Wastes,
  • the UN Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change, and
  • the Con­ven­tion on Bio­log­i­cal Diversity.

Many local gov­ern­ment cam­paigns, net­works, projects, and plan­ning bod­ies have been orga­nized to address these issues. Local gov­ern­ment efforts in the areas of wet­lands pro­tec­tion, marine pol­lu­tion, and bio­log­i­cal diver­sity are typ­i­cally orga­nized on a sub-regional basis to address spe­cific prob­lems related to a bio­log­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant area. Since 1992, sig­nif­i­cant local gov­ern­ment net­works have been orga­nized in par­tic­u­lar to address pol­lu­tion and coastal man­age­ment on the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Mediter­ranean, the Mar­mara Sea, and the Indian Ocean. The net­works facil­i­tate the exchange of exper­tise within their regions and sup­port their munic­i­pal mem­bers to under­take envi­ron­men­tal audits and design con­crete projects for pol­lu­tion control.

Local gov­ern­ment cam­paigns to address the issue of global cli­mate change pro­vide a dif­fer­ent model for engag­ing local gov­ern­ments in the imple­men­ta­tion of inter­na­tional accords.

In 1993, ICLEI joined with UNEP to host the first Munic­i­pal Lead­ers’ Sum­mit on Cli­mate Change and the Urban Envi­ron­ment at the United Nations in New York, which estab­lished ICLEI’s Cities for Cli­mate Pro­tec­tion Cam­paign (CCP). Par­tic­i­pat­ing munic­i­pal­i­ties adopt a for­mal res­o­lu­tion com­mit­ting them to pre­pare an inven­tory of their local green­house gas emis­sions and an action plan — with con­crete tar­gets — for reduc­ing these emis­sions. Cities in highly indus­tri­al­ized coun­tries are urged to adopt an emis­sions reduc­tion tar­get of 20%. The Cam­paign presently has 164 mem­bers from 34 coun­tries. Together they rep­re­sent more than 4% of the world’s anthro­pogenic emis­sions of car­bon diox­ide. The Cam­paign has set as its tar­get the recruit­ment of cities which rep­re­sent a total of 10% of the world’s emissions.

Par­tic­i­pants are pro­vided with assis­tance in prepar­ing their cli­mate action plans through train­ing work­shops, a “tool kit” with emis­sions quan­tifi­ca­tion pro­ce­dures and green­house gas reduc­tion mea­sures, and a related soft­ware pro­gramme. In addi­tion, in some coun­tries, local gov­ern­ments are pro­vided with small grants to imple­ment their action plans.

The Cam­paign also pro­vides a vehi­cle through which local gov­ern­ment lead­ers can give input into the Con­fer­ence of the Par­ties (COP) to the UN Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change (FCCC), through meet­ings of the Inter-governmental Nego­ti­at­ing Com­mit­tee. In 1996, ICLEI also was given an offi­cial observer seat in the Sub­sidiary Body for Sci­en­tific and Tech­no­log­i­cal Advice for the COP.

ICLEI has facil­i­tated local gov­ern­ment input into the FCCC process through a series of inter­na­tional “sum­mits.” In March 1995, 320 may­ors and city rep­re­sen­ta­tives from more than 50 coun­tries met in Berlin on the occa­sion of the first meet­ing of the COP to dis­cuss and com­pare strate­gies to reduce green­house gas emis­sions. They then adopted and directed a Com­mu­niquŽ to the COP, urg­ing national lead­ers to rec­og­nize and sup­port part­ner­ships with local author­i­ties to reduce green­house gas emis­sions. In Octo­ber 1995, a third CCP sum­mit was hosted by Saitama Pre­fec­ture in Japan to launch the Cities for Cli­mate Pro­tec­tion Cam­paign in Asia. A fourth sum­mit will be held in Nagoya, Japan shortly before the third meet­ing of the COP in Decem­ber 1997. The Nagoya Sum­mit will focus on con­crete reports by munic­i­pal lead­ers on the spe­cific reduc­tions in green­house emis­sions that their cities have achieved since par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Campaign.

At a regional level, nearly 650 Euro­pean cities and towns in 10 coun­tries have joined the Cli­mate Alliance cam­paign to both reduce their green­house gas emis­sions and work to pro­tect the world’s rain forests and bio­di­ver­sity. A unique aspect of the Cli­mate Alliance is its alliance with indige­nous peo­ple in the Ama­zon region and its effort to dis­cour­age local gov­ern­ments from using trop­i­cal wood.


4. Munic­i­pal Inter­na­tional Coop­er­a­tion (Chap­ter 2)

Munic­i­pal inter­na­tional coop­er­a­tion (MIC) is a modal­ity of inter­na­tional devel­op­ment assis­tance that presently involves con­crete exchanges of per­son­nel, tech­nol­ogy, equip­ment, train­ing, and expe­ri­ence between hun­dreds of cities and towns in every region of the world. MIC offers a very direct and cost-effective medium for devel­op­ment coop­er­a­tion, bring­ing together peers in part­ner­ships based on appro­pri­ate pro­fes­sional exper­tise, inno­va­tion, joint-ownership and mutual benefit.

Long before the Earth Sum­mit, local gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tions like the Inter­na­tional Union of Local Author­i­ties (IULA), the United Towns Orga­ni­za­tion (UTO), Sis­ter Cities Inter­na­tional and the Arab Towns Orga­ni­za­tion (ATO) orga­nized a vari­ety of inter­na­tional pro­grammes to share tech­ni­cal exper­tise on a North-South and East-West basis. The num­ber of LGOs specif­i­cally ded­i­cated to MIC increased dra­mat­i­cally in the 1980s, when groups such as the United Towns Devel­op­ment Agency (UTDA), the Orga­ni­za­tion of Islamic Cap­i­tals and Cities, ICLEI, the MegaC­i­ties Project, CITYNET, Euroc­i­ties and oth­ers were formed.

Expan­sion of MIC activ­i­ties was fur­ther increased by the grow­ing invest­ments of national munic­i­pal asso­ci­a­tions in devel­op­ment assis­tance projects. Dur­ing the 1990s alone, asso­ci­a­tions such as the Fed­er­a­tion of Cana­dian Munic­i­pal­i­ties, the Asso­ci­a­tion of Nether­lands Munic­i­pal­i­ties, and the UK Local Gov­ern­ment Inter­na­tional Bureau have spon­sored major tech­ni­cal assis­tance and tech­nol­ogy trans­fer pro­grammes involv­ing hun­dreds of municipalities.

Since the Earth Sum­mit, these national and inter­na­tional LGOs have increas­ingly focused their inter­na­tional assis­tance activ­i­ties on sus­tain­able devel­op­ment. Dozens of spe­cial­ized multi-city and twin city projects have been imple­mented on urban envi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment, potable water sup­ply, trans­port, energy man­age­ment, solid waste man­age­ment, waste water man­age­ment, coastal pro­tec­tion, fresh water sup­ply, haz­ardous waste man­age­ment, refor­esta­tion, parks man­age­ment and dozens of sim­i­lar top­ics.8

MIC net­works and projects serve as a par­al­lel and com­ple­men­tary tech­ni­cal assis­tance sys­tem to the inter­na­tional devel­op­ment assis­tance sys­tem. Increas­ingly, bilat­eral and mul­ti­lat­eral donor insti­tu­tions have financed these net­works directly to deliver appro­pri­ate and low-cost assis­tance. Since the Earth Sum­mit, sup­port­ers of these net­works have included UNDP, the World Bank, UNCHS, the Euro­pean Union and the bilat­eral assis­tance agen­cies of Nor­way, Swe­den, Den­mark, Nether­lands, Ger­many, France, Canada, United States and many other countries.


C. Local Imple­men­ta­tion of Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment
– Lessons from the Field


1. Par­tic­i­pa­tion and the Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Process
– Local Agenda 21 in Caja­marca, Peru

Val­ues and Prin­ci­ples for Success

Par­tic­i­pa­tory local action plan­ning — or “Local Agenda 21″ plan­ning — has proven to be a par­tic­u­larly valu­able way to advance sus­tain­able devel­op­ment in devel­op­ing coun­try cities and towns. By engag­ing all sec­tors to jointly address pri­or­ity local prob­lems, it mobi­lizes local resources and increases pub­lic will to affect change. This helps to over­come the weak finan­cial con­di­tion of many devel­op­ing coun­try munic­i­pal­i­ties and increases polit­i­cal pres­sure upon key insti­tu­tions — such as the munic­i­pal­ity or pri­vate cor­po­ra­tions — to sup­port change. Fur­ther­more, Local Agenda 21 plan­ning has proven to be a use­ful means to sup­port suc­cess­ful local responses to decen­tral­iza­tion policies.

Case Sum­mary

The Provin­cial Munic­i­pal­ity of Caja­marca, Peru ranks among the poor­est com­mu­ni­ties in the world. In 1993, the infant mor­tal­ity rate was 82% higher than the Peru­vian national aver­age, and was 30% higher than the aver­age for the world’s low income coun­tries. The Province’s main river has been pol­luted by min­ing oper­a­tions and untreated sewage. Farm­ing on the steep Andean hill­sides, over­graz­ing, and cut­ting of trees for fuel has resulted in severe soil erosion.

In 1993, the Mayor of Caja­marca ini­ti­ated an exten­sive Local Agenda 21 plan­ning effort for the Province. This effort had two main com­po­nents. The first was a dra­matic decen­tral­iza­tion of the provin­cial gov­ern­ment so that local gov­ern­ment deci­sions would reflect the needs of the Province’s many small and remote com­mu­ni­ties. Caja­marca City was divided into 12 neigh­bor­hood Coun­cils and the sur­round­ing coun­try­side into 64 “minor pop­u­lated cen­ters” (MPCs), each with their own elected May­ors and Coun­cils. The Provin­cial Coun­cil was recon­sti­tuted into a body with 48 May­ors from the MPCs, 12 Caja­marca City May­ors, 12 Dis­trict May­ors, and the Provin­cial Mayor.

The sec­ond ele­ment of the ini­tia­tive is the cre­ation of a Provin­cial Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Plan. An Inter-Institutional Con­sen­sus Build­ing Com­mit­tee was estab­lished with rep­re­sen­ta­tion from the Province’s dif­fer­ent juris­dic­tions, NGOs, pri­vate sec­tor, and key con­stituency groups. Six “Theme Boards” were estab­lished under this Com­mit­tee to develop action pro­pos­als in the fol­low­ing areas: Edu­ca­tion; Nat­ural Resources and Agri­cul­tural Pro­duc­tion; Pro­duc­tion and Employ­ment; Cul­tural Her­itage and Tourism; Urban Envi­ron­ment; and Women’s Issues, Fam­ily, and Pop­u­la­tion. These Theme Boards were charged with cre­at­ing a strate­gic plan for their respec­tive areas. Train­ing work­shops were held in the new local author­i­ties to gather local input, and edu­ca­tional note­books were pre­pared for the local May­ors to use in dis­cussing pro­pos­als and ideas with their constituents.

The plans pre­pared by the Theme Boards were inte­grated into a Provin­cial Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Plan, which was sub­mit­ted to the Provin­cial Coun­cil in August, 1994. Hav­ing received approval, after a series of pub­lic edu­ca­tion work­shops about the Plan, the Plan was sub­mit­ted for pub­lic approval through a cit­i­zens’ referendum.

Since that time, the Theme Boards have con­tin­ued their work, rais­ing funds and cre­at­ing part­ner­ships to imple­ment the Plan. Projects have included pro­vi­sion of potable water, san­i­ta­tion, envi­ron­men­tal edu­ca­tion, and rural elec­tri­fi­ca­tion. In total, the Local Agenda 21 process has mobi­lized more than U.S.$21 mil­lion for sus­tain­able devel­op­ment activ­i­ties since 1993.

Source: The Provin­cial Munic­i­pal­ity of Caja­marca and UNDPCSD/ICLEIThe Role of Local Author­i­ties in Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment, New York, April 1995.


2. The Use of Flex­i­ble Pub­lic Reg­u­la­tion to Pro­mote
Pol­lu­tion Pre­ven­tion — The Green Builder Pro­gram of Austin, U.S.A.

Val­ues and Prin­ci­ples for Success

Pub­lic reg­u­la­tion of pri­vate and munic­i­pal activ­i­ties has proven to be a fun­da­men­tal ingre­di­ent to improve­ments in envi­ron­men­tal and social con­di­tions at the local level. How­ever, reg­u­la­tions have been justly crit­i­cized for their inflex­i­bil­ity, bureau­cratic costs, and insen­si­tiv­ity to the unique con­di­tions of reg­u­lated par­ties. Nev­er­the­less, these crit­i­cisms jus­tify reg­u­la­tory reforms, not reg­u­la­tory aban­don­ment. Sys­tems of reg­u­la­tion can be estab­lished that main­tain a min­i­mum stan­dard of per­for­mance for all actors while offer­ing reg­u­la­tory relief to those actors who con­sis­tently exceed reg­u­la­tory stan­dards of per­for­mance through alter­na­tive, vol­un­tary means.

Case Sum­mary

Like most local gov­ern­ments, the City of Austin, Texas, reg­u­lates the prac­tices of pri­vate builders through its munic­i­pal Build­ing Code. The Build­ing Code imposes hun­dreds of spec­i­fi­ca­tions on con­struc­tion site prepa­ra­tion and build­ing design, rang­ing from lot size to win­dow require­ments to the types of mate­ri­als used in con­struc­tion. In 1986, Austin amended its Build­ing Code to include an Energy Code, which estab­lished min­i­mum energy-related stan­dards for floors, walls, win­dows and doors, roofs, air infil­tra­tion, insu­la­tion, light­ing, heat­ing and cool­ing sys­tem effi­cien­cies, solar expo­sure and shad­ing, and the use of waste heat. Par­al­lel to this upgrad­ing of build­ing reg­u­la­tion, the City pro­vided a vol­un­tary com­pli­ance mech­a­nism which builders could use to achieve the Energy Code’s energy effi­ciency stan­dards through alter­na­tive mea­sures than those spec­i­fied in the Code. That mech­a­nism was the Energy Star Rat­ing System.

Estab­lished in 1985, the Energy Star Rat­ing Sys­tem is a vol­un­tary pro­gramme in which munic­i­pal staff audit and rate the energy effi­ciency of new res­i­den­tial build­ings accord­ing to a com­pre­hen­sive set of cri­te­ria. Build­ing designs that achieve the per­for­mance stan­dards of the Energy Code are relieved of rel­e­vant design spec­i­fi­ca­tions in the Code. In addi­tion, these high per­for­mance build­ings are mar­keted to home buy­ers by the munic­i­pal­ity and the local real estate bro­ker­age indus­try as supe­rior homes.

Due to the dual incen­tive of poten­tial reg­u­la­tory relief and mar­ket­ing sup­port, more than 50 sep­a­rate builders and con­struc­tion com­pa­nies par­tic­i­pated in the Energy Star pro­gramme between 1986 and 1992, result­ing in the rat­ing of more than 90% of the new res­i­den­tial build­ings con­structed dur­ing that time — a num­ber exceed­ing 4,000 new homes.

Build­ing upon the suc­cess of the Energy Star sys­tem, in 1991 the City of Austin decided to expand its vol­un­tary rat­ing frame­work to include a vari­ety of other sus­tain­abil­ity cri­te­ria in home con­struc­tion. That year, the Energy Star sys­tem was expanded into the Green Builder Pro­gram whose four-star rat­ing sys­tem focuses on energy sav­ings, sus­tain­able build­ing mate­ri­als and mate­ri­als recy­cling, water con­ser­va­tion, and waste. The rat­ing sys­tem applies a life­cy­cle approach, address­ing upstream and down­stream impacts of mate­ri­als and home resource con­sump­tion pat­terns. In addi­tion to res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion, the Green Builder Pro­gram also cov­ers all munic­i­pal build­ing projects, includ­ing the munic­i­pal air­port and pub­lic hous­ing. A Com­mer­cial Green Builder Pro­gram also has been established.

The rapid expan­sion of the Green Builder Pro­gram — presently involv­ing more than 150 builders — requires that the City oper­ates the rat­ing sys­tem on a self-rating basis. In order to par­tic­i­pate in the pro­gram­mme, builders must par­tic­i­pate in a half-day rat­ing train­ing ses­sion and pledge accu­rate and hon­est rat­ing of their build­ings. The accu­racy of the vol­un­tary rat­ings is ran­domly con­firmed by munic­i­pal employees.

A recent study of the actual energy con­sump­tion of a supe­rior Green Builder home with a home that merely com­plies with the Energy Code showed that the Green Builder home used 48% less elec­tric­ity and 34% less nat­ural gas than the stan­dard Code home. In addi­tion, the aver­age Green Builder home is esti­mated to use 114,000 less gal­lons of fresh water per year than the stan­dard Build­ing Code home, and dis­charges 22,000 less gal­lons of grey­wa­ter per year into the munic­i­pal sew­er­age system.

The Austin Green Builder Pro­gram could not have gen­er­ated such wide­spread vol­un­tary par­tic­i­pa­tion with­out the under­ly­ing reg­u­la­tory require­ments of the Energy Code. It serves as an excel­lent exam­ple of the flex­i­ble and effec­tive use of pub­lic reg­u­la­tion for sus­tain­able development.

Source: ICLEICase Study #5: Hous­ing Con­struc­tion (Toronto, ICLEI: 1992).


3. Build­ing Local Gov­ern­ment Capac­ity for Sus­tain­able
Devel­op­ment in Mex­ico City, Mex­ico and Quito, Ecuador

Val­ues and Prin­ci­ples for Success

Decen­tral­iza­tion and the reor­ga­ni­za­tion of munic­i­pal juris­dic­tions is often a pre­req­ui­site to address­ing the pol­lu­tion prob­lems of many fast-growing cities.

Case Sum­mary

For decades, Mex­ico City, Mex­ico and Quito, Ecuador were known for their pol­lu­tion prob­lems. How­ever, shortly after spe­cial leg­is­la­tion was passed in each city, pro­vid­ing their local gov­ern­ments with increased admin­is­tra­tive, polit­i­cal, and fis­cal pow­ers, the respec­tive cities achieved dra­matic improve­ments in envi­ron­men­tal conditions.

In the 1970s, Mex­ico City estab­lished a rep­u­ta­tion as both the largest and most pol­luted city in the world. By the mid-80s the city’s 2.5 mil­lion vehi­cles con­sumed 20 mil­lion liters of gaso­line and diesel fuel each day. The city’s 35,000 indus­tries and ser­vice facil­i­ties daily used 1.8 mil­lion liters of fuel oil and 340 mil­lion cubic feet of nat­ural gas. These fuels were burned mainly in old vehi­cles and in obso­lete indus­trial facil­i­ties. Ninety-seven per­cent of all gaso­line con­sumed con­tained lead, while diesel and fuel oil had high sul­fur con­tent. The com­bined daily com­bus­tion of these fuels pro­duced 11,700 tons of pol­lu­tants. The national gov­ern­ment seemed pow­er­less to stop the down­wards spi­ral of one its great cities into an envi­ron­men­tal oblivion.

Then, in 1989, the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment of Mex­ico estab­lished the “Gen­eral Law of Eco­log­i­cal Bal­ance and Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion,” which, among other things, decen­tral­ized author­ity to con­trol sources of pol­lu­tion to states and munic­i­pal­i­ties. Arti­cle 9 of the law granted Mex­ico City the author­ity to reg­u­late emis­sions from busi­nesses, ser­vice indus­tries and all mobile sources, to reg­u­late urban devel­op­ment, land use, vehi­cle traf­fic, and to oper­ate envi­ron­men­tal laboratories.

That same year the mayor of Mex­ico City launched a munic­i­pal clean air ini­tia­tive with­out prece­dent in the world. The ini­tia­tive imple­mented a clean fuel pro­gramme which reduced lead con­tent in gaso­line by 50% and enriched its oxy­gen con­tent. The pro­gramme pro­vided a new gas-oil fuel for indus­try to reduce sul­fur con­tent by 33%. It replaced fuel oil in the city’s power plants with nat­ural gas. In addi­tion to these mea­sures, the city admin­is­tra­tion imple­mented 1,865 par­tial or tem­po­rary clo­sures of local indus­try and 62 high pol­lu­tion indus­tries were per­ma­nently closed.

The city also invested in a major expan­sion of the pub­lic tran­sit sys­tem, adding 10 miles to the sub­way sys­tem, retro­fitting 3,500 buses with low emis­sion engines, adding 250 elec­tric buses, and replac­ing 55,000 taxis with 1991 or newer mod­els. A trial pro­gramme called “A Day With­out Car” lim­ited the use of pri­vate cars to six days per week and reduced gaso­line con­sump­tion in the city by 12% in the first year.

Within the first year of these and other mea­sures, Mex­ico City saw a 23% reduc­tion in total pol­lu­tant emis­sions — over two thou­sand tons per day. Air qual­ity indexes for car­bon monox­ide, sul­fur oxides, hydro­car­bons, and lead ranged from 10–15%. Win­ter ozone lev­els decreased by more than 40%.

Like the Mex­ico City model, Quito’s abil­ity to address the sys­temic roots of its key envi­ron­men­tal prob­lems was dra­mat­i­cally strength­ened with the pas­sage of the 1993 Met­ro­pol­i­tan Dis­trict Law in Ecuador. This law was ini­ti­ated by the Munic­i­pal­ity of Quito in 1990 and adopted by the National Con­gress in 1993.

The law per­mits the Munic­i­pal­ity to estab­lish its own local envi­ron­men­tal ordi­nances for activ­i­ties within its juris­dic­tion. For­merly, envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions had to be approved by the National Con­gress. As a result, the Munic­i­pal­ity now inde­pen­dently con­trols land-use, build­ing and con­struc­tion, pub­lic and pri­vate trans­porta­tion, and envi­ron­men­tal con­t­a­m­i­na­tion. Addi­tion­ally, the law was used to increase the juris­dic­tion of the new Met­ro­pol­i­tan Dis­trict to include the entire urban area, so that land-use and trans­porta­tion could take place for the first time on a met­ro­pol­i­tan basis.

Since pas­sage of the law, the Munic­i­pal­ity has estab­lished a light rail tran­sit sys­tem, a pol­lu­tion mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem, and a flood, ero­sion and risk con­trol pro­gramme. It is extend­ing the water and san­i­ta­tion sys­tem in the met­ro­pol­i­tan area, with a par­tic­u­lar inter­est in reduc­ing dis­charges into local rivers. The Munic­i­pal­ity also has pre­pared a local ordi­nance for the con­trol of all haz­ardous indus­trial wastes and pri­vate vehi­cle emissions.

The cases of Mex­ico City and Quito illus­trate that the simul­ta­ne­ous decen­tral­iza­tion of respon­si­bil­i­ties, legal pow­ers, and finan­cial means to munic­i­pal­i­ties can result in dra­matic improve­ments in envi­ron­men­tal conditions.

Source: ICLEIInstruc­tions for a Sus­tain­able Future (1992) and var­i­ous reports pre­pared for ICLEI by the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Dis­trict of Quito (1996).


4. Local Imple­men­ta­tion of Inter­na­tional Envi­ron­men­tal Accords
– The Case of Local Cli­mate Action Plan­ning in
Han­nover & Saar­brücken, Germany

Val­ues and Prin­ci­ples for Success

The imple­men­ta­tion of inter­na­tional envi­ron­men­tal accords gen­er­ally requires action at the local level. Timely and effec­tive local responses to these accords can be facil­i­tated by includ­ing local gov­ern­ments in the nego­ti­a­tion process as well as in the prepa­ra­tion of national level action plans.

In the case of global cli­mate change, the largest source of green­house gas emis­sions is energy con­sump­tion in urban-based indus­try, trans­porta­tion, and build­ing heat­ing and cool­ing sys­tems. Local gov­ern­ments have a vari­ety of instru­ments at their con­trol to reduce energy con­sump­tion, but their ulti­mate suc­cess in achiev­ing global green­house gas reduc­tion tar­gets will depend upon sup­port and coop­er­a­tion from indus­try and util­ity com­pa­nies, national and sub­na­tional gov­ern­ment, and households.

Case Sum­mary

In 1991, four­teen local gov­ern­ments from North Amer­ica, Europe, and the Mid­dle East joined with ICLEI to develop a method­ol­ogy for local cli­mate action plan­ning. Sup­ported by the US Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency and pri­vate foun­da­tions, this method­ol­ogy estab­lished a base­line inven­tory of green­house gas (GHG) emis­sions for each city, a sce­nario of emis­sions growth until 2005, and a plan for mea­sures to reduce emis­sions. Through this expe­ri­ence, ICLEI demon­strated a clear role for local gov­ern­ments in the imple­men­ta­tion of the pend­ing UN Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change.

The cities of Han­nover (pop­u­la­tion 514,000) and Saar­brücken (pop­u­la­tion 189,000), Ger­many com­pleted their local cli­mate action plans in 1994. Both munic­i­pal­i­ties have been world­wide lead­ers in local energy effi­ciency and renew­able energy strate­gies. The CO2 emis­sions inven­to­ries pre­pared by each city high­lighted the extent to which emis­sions reduc­tions could be best achieved by reduc­ing heat­ing and elec­tric­ity demand in res­i­den­tial, com­mer­cial and indus­trial buildings.

The Han­nover action plan aims to reduce total CO2 emis­sions 25% by 2005. The total esti­mated annual CO2 emis­sions of the city of Han­nover was esti­mated to be 10.8 mil­lion tonnes. This esti­mate includes life­cy­cle emis­sions from upstream energy inputs in its cal­cu­la­tions. Energy end-use for build­ings and indus­try (elec­tric­ity, heat­ing and cool­ing) in Han­nover accounts for 83% of total emis­sions. The trans­porta­tion sec­tor accounts for 17% of the city’s CO2 emissions.

As of 1997, the energy effi­ciency mea­sures of the munic­i­pal­ity and its munic­i­pal energy util­ity since 1990 are esti­mated to result in a an annual reduc­tion of CO2 emis­sions of 199,000 tonnes. This accounts for a 2.2% annual reduc­tion in CO2 emis­sions from build­ings and indus­try and a 1.8% annual reduc­tion of total CO2 equiv­a­lent emis­sions. Hannover’s mea­sures range from increas­ing the expan­sion of com­bined heat and power facil­i­ties, chang­ing in energy costs (least cost plan­ning) to encour­age energy retro­fit activ­i­ties in build­ings, and retro­fitting of pub­lic build­ings includ­ing schools. Among Hannover’s most impor­tant ini­tia­tives is a “green pric­ing” util­ity rate for elec­tric­ity gen­er­ated by five new wind gen­er­a­tion facil­i­ties. Util­ity cus­tomers are will­ing to pay a pre­mium for this clean, wind energy.

The Saar­brücken action plan also sets a tar­get of 25% reduc­tion in CO2 emis­sions by 2005. How­ever, unlike Han­nover, Saar­brücken did not fac­tor upstream emis­sions in its cal­cu­la­tions. Nonethe­less, the Saar­brücken plan builds upon an out­stand­ing record of achieve­ment in the 1980s which pro­duced a 15% reduc­tion in CO2 emis­sions from city-wide heat­ing demand and a reduc­tion of CO2 emis­sions from munic­i­pal build­ings of 37% between 1980 and 1990. An expan­sion of these pro­grammes, as well as an inno­v­a­tive pro­gramme to finance solar energy con­ver­sions for res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial build­ings, has pro­duced an annual reduc­tion of CO2 emis­sions of 1% between 1990 and 1996.

The progress of Han­nover and Saar­brücken since 1990 demon­strates that last­ing reduc­tions in CO2 emis­sions can be achieved with­out dam­ag­ing local eco­nomic health. In addi­tion to their own energy effi­ciency mea­sures, these cases high­light the role that munic­i­pal­i­ties can play in intro­duc­ing new, renew­able energy tech­nolo­gies to the market.

How­ever, both munic­i­pal­i­ties report that they are unlikely to achieve their 25% reduc­tion tar­gets on their own. In order to achieve the lev­els of reduc­tions required to pro­tect the global cli­mate, munic­i­pal­i­ties require fur­ther com­mit­ment and sup­port­ive actions by national gov­ern­ments, indus­try and house­holds — such as energy taxes, mea­sures to reduce the growth of pri­vate auto­mo­bile trans­porta­tion, and indus­trial effi­ciency measures.

Source: The Urban CO2 Reduc­tion Strate­gies of Han­nover and Saar­brücken and staff reports from the Han­nover energy util­ity (Stadtwerke Han­nover) and the Saar­brücken Energy Department.


5. Pro­tec­tion of Bio­di­ver­sity as a Local Man­age­ment Chal­lenge
– Multi-Functional Park Design and Man­age­ment in Dur­ban, South Africa

Val­ues and Prin­ci­ples for Success

Among all the envi­ron­men­tal prob­lems addressed by inter­na­tional agree­ments, the pro­tec­tion of bio­di­ver­sity, in par­tic­u­lar, rep­re­sents a local man­age­ment chal­lenge. The sur­vival of each species requires the main­te­nance of spe­cific eco­log­i­cal con­di­tions in geo­graph­i­cally dis­tinct habi­tats. As humans estab­lish set­tle­ments and eco­nomic activ­i­ties on all of Earth’s ter­rain, main­te­nance of these con­di­tions requires site-specific plan­ning, man­age­ment, and inte­gra­tion of local social and eco­log­i­cal requirements.

His­tor­i­cally, most human set­tle­ments have been estab­lished with lit­tle ref­er­ence to local eco­log­i­cal fea­tures and indige­nous species. How­ever, a grow­ing num­ber of local gov­ern­ments have begun to fac­tor habi­tat pro­tec­tion and species repro­duc­tion issues into munic­i­pal plan­ning and devel­op­ment approval pro­ce­dures. In so doing, they are pio­neer­ing new ways to cre­ate more sym­bi­otic rela­tion­ships between local res­i­dents and their neigh­bors in the plant and wildlife communities.

Case Sum­mary

Met­ro­pol­i­tan Dur­ban (pop­u­la­tion 3.5 mil­lion) is located in a high rain­fall tran­si­tion area between trop­i­cal and tem­per­ate zones and has an almost full rep­re­sen­ta­tion of species from both zones. Ad hoc urban­iza­tion in the city’s cen­tral core, cou­pled with poverty, over­crowd­ing, and poor munic­i­pal ser­vices in the periph­eral town­ship areas, has lead to the degra­da­tion of the major ecosys­tems in the city — forests are being stripped for fire­wood and build­ing mate­ri­als, soil ero­sion is rife, rivers are pol­luted with untreated waste­water, and nat­ural areas are being cleared for devel­op­ment. In an attempt to alle­vi­ate both the eco­log­i­cal and social prob­lems it faced, the city estab­lished the Dur­ban Met­ro­pol­i­tan Open Space Sys­tem (D’MOSS) as part of its long-term land use plan.

D’MOSS employs a holis­tic approach to park devel­op­ment, incor­po­rat­ing both social and eco­log­i­cal cri­te­ria into park design and man­age­ment. To ensure that local res­i­dents respect sen­si­tive eco­log­i­cal areas, the munic­i­pal­ity involves res­i­dents in neigh­bor­ing park devel­op­ment through a con­tin­u­ous con­sul­ta­tion process that aims to estab­lish com­pat­i­ble social and envi­ron­men­tal uses of the parks. By using park areas to pro­vide abut­ting neigh­bor­hoods with ser­vices such as waste water treat­ment, schools, health clin­ics, and com­mu­nity gar­dens, the parks are being designed to meet the recre­ational, edu­ca­tional, health, and eco­nomic needs of a diverse group of cit­i­zens. Fur­ther­more, the munic­i­pal­ity trains and employs local peo­ple in the con­struc­tion and main­te­nance of sec­tions of the parks, thus pro­vid­ing edu­ca­tion and employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties while devel­op­ing munic­i­pal services.

Along with this very sig­nif­i­cant social com­po­nent, the parks are designed to ful­fill a num­ber of dif­fer­ent envi­ron­men­tal func­tions for the city. In par­tic­u­lar, D’MOSS gives the local gov­ern­ment and its cit­i­zens the oppor­tu­nity to play a cru­cial role in main­tain­ing, and increas­ing, biodiversity.

In most cities and towns, urban con­ser­va­tion is con­cerned with the sur­vival of “islands” of veg­e­ta­tion and wildlife in a “sea” of build­ing devel­op­ment. The pop­u­la­tions within these islands are cut off from the main body of their par­tic­u­lar plant or ani­mal com­mu­nity. This under­mines the long-term sur­vival of the iso­lated species — the small pop­u­la­tions in these com­mu­ni­ties decrease the like­li­hood of uccess­ful repro­duc­tion, reduce genetic diver­sity, and increase vul­ner­a­bil­ity to nat­ural dis­as­ters and com­pe­ti­tion from inva­sive, non-native species. D’MOSS plan­ners have adopted phys­i­cal design prin­ci­ples which aim to estab­lish and main­tain links between these rem­nant patches of orig­i­nal nat­ural veg­e­ta­tion and to restore dis­turbed areas to their nat­ural state. Large and small nature reserves are being con­nected by nat­ural area cor­ri­dors that serve as bio­log­i­cal links. These cor­ri­dors enhance plant and ani­mal habi­tats and max­i­mize nat­ural dis­per­sal of plant and ani­mal species. The link­ages allow genetic trans­fers between the areas thereby main­tain­ing diver­sity both in species num­bers and in genetic mate­r­ial within a species. In keep­ing with the multi-functional design strat­egy, the cor­ri­dors include rus­tic trails fea­tur­ing inter­pre­ta­tive charts, bird-watching blinds, and pic­nic sites, for recre­ational use by local citizens.

Even­tu­ally the park sys­tem will form a grid across the entire city, with the prin­ci­pal axes fol­low­ing the coast and sev­eral river val­leys run­ning per­pen­dic­u­lar to the coast. The water­courses will be retained in their nat­ural state with indige­nous vegetation.

In addi­tion to estab­lish­ing bio­log­i­cal link­ages, Dur­ban will under­take a process of active man­age­ment to restore miss­ing habi­tats and to encour­age the re-establishment of indige­nous plant and ani­mal com­mu­ni­ties. Costs for this part of the project will be min­i­mized through the appli­ca­tion of bio­geo­graph­i­cal design prin­ci­ples which allow nat­ural dis­per­sal to assist active management.

As an exam­ple of the prac­ti­cal ini­tia­tives under­way, Dur­ban is devel­op­ing a nurs­ery for indige­nous med­i­c­i­nal shrubs and trees aimed at pro­vid­ing an alter­na­tive sup­ply of tra­di­tional plant mate­r­ial. City staff will teach herbal­ists and traders how to grow these plants. Through this and other ini­tia­tives, Dur­ban is cre­at­ing a multi-functional park sys­tem which addresses both envi­ron­men­tal and social needs.

Source: ICLEICase Study #27: Multi-Functional Park Design and Man­age­ment(Toronto, ICLEI: 1995).


D. Obsta­cles to the Local Imple­men­ta­tion
of Sus­tain­able Development

The sur­veys and case study analy­sis under­taken for this report iden­ti­fied a num­ber of com­mon obsta­cles to the local imple­men­ta­tion of sus­tain­able development.

Obsta­cle 1

In most coun­tries, exist­ing poli­cies and fis­cal frame­works at all lev­els of gov­ern­ment serve as bar­ri­ers to effi­cient resource use and devel­op­ment con­trol at the local level. At the local level these bar­ri­ers include statu­tory munic­i­pal devel­op­ment plans and bud­get pri­or­i­ties that do not reflect Local Agenda 21 or sus­tain­able devel­op­ment objec­tives. Of equal impor­tance, most munic­i­pal­i­ties apply old land-use, build­ing and pub­lic health require­ments that dis­cour­age the design of neigh­bor­hoods that sup­port pub­lic tran­sit or of build­ings that use new tech­nolo­gies for water, energy and waste water man­age­ment. At the state and national lev­els, gov­ern­ments main­tain bar­ri­ers such as sub­si­dies and other eco­nomic incentives/disincentives that encour­age unsus­tain­able practices.

The cen­tral­ized con­trol of local bud­gets and resources, and poor coor­di­na­tion of national invest­ment plans with local pri­or­i­ties can seri­ously under­mine the abil­ity of local gov­ern­ments to imple­ment their Local Agenda 21 action plans. Numer­ous exam­ples can be found of local gov­ern­ments whose aims to increase pub­lic tran­sit ser­vices and dis­cour­age pri­vate vehi­cle use are con­tra­dicted by nationally-supported road build­ing schemes or trans­porta­tion subsidies.

A fur­ther area of con­tra­dic­tion between local plans and state and national efforts is the lax enforce­ment or dereg­u­la­tion of pol­lut­ing activ­i­ties. Local gov­ern­ments play an impor­tant role in the enforce­ment of national envi­ron­men­tal stan­dards, but their efforts can only suc­ceed if they are fully sup­ported at other lev­els of gov­ern­ment. Like­wise, local gov­ern­ments can make seri­ous efforts to improve local envi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions, but these efforts often can be mar­gin­al­ized if other lev­els of gov­ern­ment fail to enforce reg­u­la­tions on the facil­i­ties of major man­u­fac­tur­ers or nat­ural resource industries.

Obsta­cle 2

The rev­enue gen­er­a­tion options of local gov­ern­ments are reg­u­lated and restricted by national and state-level poli­cies; how­ever, at the same time, national and state-level gov­ern­ments con­tinue to trans­fer their fis­cal prob­lems to the local level. This is com­monly achieved by mak­ing local gov­ern­ments respon­si­ble for ser­vices or gov­ern­ment func­tions that were tra­di­tion­ally the respon­si­bil­ity of national gov­ern­ment — with­out trans­fer­ring the tra­di­tional rev­enues for this pur­pose. Such trans­fers under­mine efforts to build stronger local gov­ern­ments. With­out the par­al­lel estab­lish­ment of new sources of local rev­enues, these trans­fers also gen­er­ally weaken pub­lic sec­tor capac­ity to imple­ment new social and envi­ron­men­tal mandates.

Obsta­cle 3

The estab­lish­ment and enforce­ment of national reg­u­la­tory stan­dards is a pre­req­ui­site to improved local gov­ern­ment per­for­mance in a wide vari­ety of areas, includ­ing air pol­lu­tion and water qual­ity con­trol, waste reduc­tion, and pol­lu­tion pre­ven­tion. While local gov­ern­ments wel­come ongo­ing review of reg­u­la­tory approaches, dereg­u­la­tion cre­ates a dual bar­rier to local imple­men­ta­tion of sus­tain­able devel­op­ment — it both legal­izes prac­tices that cause social and envi­ron­men­tal prob­lems and it increases the com­plex­ity of hold­ing insti­tu­tions account­able for the prob­lems they cause.

Obsta­cle 4

The devel­op­ment of resource effi­cient, socially vibrant (i.e., sus­tain­able) cities requires local con­trol of devel­op­ment accord­ing to clear, locally-determined strate­gies and prin­ci­ples. How­ever, the open­ing of global mar­kets is accel­er­at­ing invest­ments and devel­op­ment activ­i­ties in cities by exter­nal actors, such as transna­tional cor­po­ra­tions, which have min­i­mal incen­tive to be account­able and com­mit­ted to local devel­op­ment strategies.

Obsta­cle 5

The unsus­tain­able design and pack­ag­ing of con­sumer prod­ucts is a sig­nif­i­cant con­trib­u­tor to local envi­ron­men­tal prob­lems. Con­sumer prod­ucts and pack­ag­ing account for a large por­tion of the local solid waste stream, con­tain high lev­els of toxic sub­stances, and rarely employ best avail­able tech­nol­ogy to max­i­mize energy and water effi­ciency. Local gov­ern­ments have few direct con­trols over the prod­ucts that are sold and used in their jurisdictions.


Donor agen­cies, often the same as those which pro­moted and pro­mul­gated decen­tral­iza­tion and admin­is­tra­tive reform, instead of try­ing to build capac­ity at the local level, return to the very paras­tatal and cen­tral gov­ern­ment agen­cies in their efforts to inte­grate envi­ron­men­tal and devel­op­ment con­sid­er­a­tions and more sus­tain­able approaches to project design and imple­men­ta­tion. These are the same con­trol gov­ern­ment agen­cies which have weak­ened the capac­ity of local author­i­ties for the past two decades. This pur­suit of rapid results has frus­trated seri­ous attempts in build­ing capac­ity at the local author­ity level. Such capac­ity is essen­tial for the long-term sus­tain­abil­ity of devel­op­ment efforts and initiatives.

UNCHS in Mak­ing Cities Work: The Role of Local Author­i­ties in the Urban Envi­ron­ment, R. Gilbert et al, 1996, Earth­scan Pub­li­ca­tions, London.

E. Rec­om­men­da­tions for Improved Local Per­for­mance for Sus­tain­able Development

On the basis of the pre­vi­ously iden­ti­fied obsta­cles, and reflect­ing the suc­cess­ful responses to these obsta­cles iden­ti­fied at the local level, ICLEI sub­mits the fol­low­ing rec­om­men­da­tions to improve sus­tain­able devel­op­ment efforts at the local level.

Rec­om­men­da­tion 1 –
Strengthen and sup­port the Local Agenda 21 movement.

The Local Agenda 21 move­ment is one of the most exten­sive follow-up activ­i­ties to the Earth Sum­mit. To expand this move­ment, national gov­ern­ments, NGOs, and donor insti­tu­tions are encour­aged to sup­port the estab­lish­ment of national Local Agenda 21 cam­paigns. To inten­sify the imple­men­ta­tion of Local Agenda 21 action plans, local gov­ern­ments are strongly urged to for­mally link Local Agenda 21 plan­ning activ­i­ties with the annual bud­get­ing and statu­tory plan­ning activ­i­ties of the munic­i­pal­ity. It is fur­ther rec­om­mended that national and inter­na­tional invest­ment pro­grammes actively fac­tor the strate­gies and tar­gets of Local Agenda 21 action plans in the selec­tion and design of projects for their support.

Rec­om­men­da­tion 2 –
Har­mo­nize pub­lic sec­tor poli­cies and approaches.

Within each coun­try, estab­lish a part­ner­ship between national, state, and local lev­els of gov­ern­ment — per­haps within the frame­work of National Coun­cils for Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment — to iden­tify and review poli­cies, legal frame­works, and fis­cal frame­works that inhibit sus­tain­able resource man­age­ment and social devel­op­ment. It is fur­ther rec­om­mended that the UNCSD request a pre­lim­i­nary review report on this topic to be pre­pared by the UNDPCSD and ICLEI for its sixth session.

Rec­om­men­da­tion 3 –
Increase local gov­ern­ment finan­cial capacities.

Estab­lish a global part­ner­ship of national gov­ern­ments, local gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tions, and mul­ti­lat­eral and pri­vate lend­ing insti­tu­tions to devise and rec­om­mend local gov­ern­ment rev­enue enhance­ment strate­gies to accom­pany national decen­tral­iza­tion pro­grammes or “down load­ing” ini­tia­tives. Focus munic­i­pal devel­op­ment pro­gramme assis­tance on capacity-building in munic­i­pal finance.

Rec­om­men­da­tion 4 –
Estab­lish flex­i­ble reg­u­la­tory frame­works for all areas of Agenda 21.

The role of reg­u­la­tion in achiev­ing sus­tain­able devel­op­ment needs to be refined. How­ever reg­u­la­tory frame­works should be designed to con­sist of two inte­grated ele­ments: min­i­mum enforce­able stan­dards and a frame­work for flex­i­ble com­pli­ance using inno­v­a­tive vol­un­tary agree­ments and programmes.

Rec­om­men­da­tion 5 –
Increase pri­vate sec­tor account­abil­ity to Local Agen­das 21.

Estab­lish coop­er­a­tion agree­ments between LGOs and inter­na­tional busi­ness orga­ni­za­tions on a sector-by-sector basis to encour­age all busi­nesses and, in spe­cific, transna­tional cor­po­ra­tions to respect and sup­port the Local Agenda 21 strate­gies of the com­mu­ni­ties in which they invest and main­tain their operations.

Rec­om­men­da­tion 6 –
Orga­nize local gov­ern­ment pur­chas­ing pow­ers for sus­tain­able development.

Estab­lish inter­na­tional pro­to­cols among local gov­ern­ments on an inter­na­tional basis to use their pur­chas­ing and legal pow­ers to per­suade con­sumer prod­ucts man­u­fac­tur­ers and retail­ers to achieve min­i­mum effi­ciency and waste reduc­tion stan­dards in prod­uct design and packaging.





  1. Brug­mann, J. Man­ag­ing Human Ecosys­tems. Inter­na­tional Coun­cil for Local Envi­ron­men­tal Ini­tia­tives, Toronto, 1992.
  2. World Bank, Munic­i­pal Devel­op­ment Sec­tor Review. Decen­tral­iza­tion and Its Impli­ca­tions for Urban Ser­vice Deliv­ery. World Bank, Wash­ing­ton, 1993.
  3. Inter­na­tional Coun­cil for Local Envi­ron­men­tal Initiatives/United Nations Depart­ment for Pol­icy Coor­di­na­tion and Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment. Local Agenda 21 Sur­vey: A Study of Responses by Local Author­i­ties and Their National and Inter­na­tional Asso­ci­a­tions to Agenda 21. UNDPCSD, New York, 1997.
  4. Inter­na­tional Coun­cil for Local Envi­ron­men­tal Ini­tia­tives. Action Plan­ning, Kana­gawa Pre­fec­ture, Japan, (ICLEI Case Study Series Num­ber 28). ICLEI, Toronto, 1995.
  5. Organ­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co-operation and Devel­op­ment. Urban Envi­ron­men­tal Poli­cies for the 1990s. OECD, Paris, 1990.
  6. Jacob­son, M.R. Envi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment in the Munic­i­pal­ity of Aarhus. Paper pre­sented at the Con­fer­ence on Envi­ron­men­tally Effi­cient Cities, Sav­solito, U.S.A., 1991.
  7. Analy­sis made of doc­u­ments pro­vided by the Aus­tralian Local Gov­ern­ment Asso­ci­a­tion, the Aus­tralian League of Cities, the Fed­er­a­tion of Cana­dian Munic­i­pal­i­ties, the National Asso­ci­a­tion of Local Author­i­ties in Den­mark, the Asso­ci­a­tion of Finnish Local Author­i­ties, the National Asso­ci­a­tion of Local Author­i­ties of Ghana, the UK Local Gov­ern­ment Asso­ci­a­tion, and the U.S. National League of Cities.
  8. Gilbert, R., et al. Mak­ing Cities Work: The Role of Local Author­i­ties in the Urban Envi­ron­ment. Earth­scan Pub­li­ca­tions Ltd., Lon­don, 1996.


April 1997 — Con­tents copy­right © 1997 ICLEI

Army 3-39.40 Army Field Manual Internment Resttlement Operations


Civilian Inmate Program

Operation Garden Plot

Operation Garden Plot is a strategy developed by the U.S. Military and National Guard to respond to any major domestic civil disturbances that may occur within the United States.

The plan was initiated as a response to the civil unrest that occurred during the 1960s in the U.S, and is now under the control of the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM).

In 1992, when Los Angeles experienced its worse civil disturbances since the riots of the 60s, Operation Garden Plot was activated once more with more than two thousand National Guard soldiers being called in to assist state police in restoring law and order.

On September 11, 2001, Operation Garden Plot was galvanized again but went under the name of Operation Noble Eagle, following the terrorist attacks on the Unites States. According to, the former President George W. Bush authorized a partial mobilisation of the reserves for homeland defence and civil support missions in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks (1).




In the wake of 9/11, the U.S. government and military has employed several new counterterrorism strategies. Security in the United States has never been so rigorous.

Operation Garden Plot, whilst established long before the 9/11 attacks took place, is one strategy that is in place for dealing with domestic disturbances in the United States, including terrorist attacks.

But what exactly are the methods and strategies the U.S. military would adopt in the case of a major, violent U.S. revolution?

On the Black Vault website, several documents about Operation Garden Plot, totalling more than 650 pages, are available from FOIA requests. One such document is entitled “Department of Defense Civil Disturbance Operations Plan” (OPLAN), nicknamed “Operation Garden Plot”, and was written by the Department of the Army Headquarters in Washington D.C. in February, 1991.

The document states that that OPLAN, or Garden Plot, supersedes the DA Civil Disturbance Plan, initiated on 1 March 1984 and that:

“Garden Plot applies to the military departments, the unified and specified commands, the defense agencies, and other DOD components for planning, coordinating and existing military operations during domestic civil disturbances.”

In preparation for controlling major domestic disturbances under Operation Garden Plot, the document states that general units designated for civil disturbance operations will be:

“…trained, equipped, and maintained in readiness for rapid deployment. Other unites (infantry and military police) will: receive civil disturbance orientation-type training; be prepared to receive special equipment required for civil disturbance operations; and be prepared to initiate more intensive training on short notice.”

operation garden plot





Under the title “Special Orders for civil disturbance operation”, the Department of the Army Headquarter’s OPLAN document talks about the importance of retaining a “neat military manner and appearance” as being a criterion of its defense civil disturbance plan.

Interestingly, point ‘four’ of the section advises the military: “When firing is necessary, if possible, shoot to wound, not to kill.”

It is perhaps the ‘if possible’ part of this civil disturbance plan clause that is the most worrying.

Also in The Black Vault’s collection of documents related to Operation Garden Plot is a paper entitled ‘Civil Disturbance Operations’, which was written by the U.S. Department of the Army in April 2005.

Chapter 2 of the report concentrates on Control Force Operations and the importance of ‘information’, which the authors assert as being the ‘key to developing civil disturbance plans’.

“The more knowledge a commander has about the participants, the better equipped he is to counter their actions,” stipulates the Department of the Army’s report. In the case of a violent disturbance erupting in the U.S, the document highlights comprehensive ‘civil disturbance planning considerations’.

Weapons are a main focus of this section of the report, with examples such as. “Choose the M9 pistol for extraction and apprehension teams” and, “Balance the mix of weapons and munitions according to the mission, enemy, terrain, troops, time available, and civilian considerations.”

“Lethal rounds” are also frequently referenced throughout the “Weapon and Ammunition Configurations” section of the Department of the Army’s report, stating that “Individuals designated as NL shooters must have the means to transition to lethal rounds.”

operation garden plot



As well as using the presence of weapons as a means of controlling riot crowds, the U.S. military writes of implementing methods that have profound psychological effects on crowds during major disturbances as well.

One way to invoke crowd apprehension and psychological intimidation is to employ military working dog (MWD) teams with a control force formation.

The paper goes on to highlight the ‘nonlethal capabilities set and employment considerations’ used for crowd dispersal, of which numerous lethal-looking dispersal devices are pictured and described.

Once such device is the 40-millimeter crowd dispersal cartridge, which is a:

“…multiple projectile round with 48 calibre hard rubber balls that is designed to be fired and employed with the purpose of affecting multiple targets.”

Although these weapons are described as being ‘non-lethal’, if, the report continues, engagement is inside ten metres, the 40-millimetre crowd dispersal cartridge could cause ‘serious injury or death’.

Another supposedly ‘non-lethal’ device the military would use to control civil disturbances in the U.S, which comes with a warning that if used within ten metres of someone “may cause serious bodily harm or even death”, is the Modified Crowd Control Munitions-Ground Emplacement (MCCM-GE).

The device is an NL munition that can deliver six hundred 32-caliber rubber pellets and a flash bang effect, to “stop, confuse, disorient, and/or temporarily incapacitate area targets.”

operation garden plot





For some, the training of military and police forces and the development of “emergency” responses that includes shoot to wound not kill “if possible”, and the deployment of ‘non-lethal’ devices that may cause death if used too close to a target in the event of civil unrest, is an example of American corporate and military directorship, which has the power to enforce its definition of “disorder”, and which views democracy as a threat, and counter-revolution as a “national security” requirement.

Frank Morales is one such thinker who wrote an interesting paper in 2002, entitled “U.S. military Civil Disturbance Planning: The War at Home”.

Morales refers to “Operation Garden Plot” as the U.S. military training its troops and police to suppress democratic opposition in America.

“The elite military/corporate sponsors of Garden Plot have their reasons for civil disturbance contingency planning. Lets’ call it the paranoia of the thief. Their rationale is simple: self-preservation. Fostering sever and targeted ‘austerity’, massive inequality and unbridled greed, while shifting more and more billions to the generals and the rich, the de-regulated ‘entities of force’ and their interlocking corporate resistance. To this end, they are rapidly consolidating an infrastructure of repression designed to ‘supress rebellion’ against their ‘authority’. Or more conveniently put, to supress ‘rebellion against the authority of the United States’.” (2)




Do you think the average American believes U.S. domestic and foreign policy are dictated unto the best possible good for our country and others?  I would think most Americans would say the answer is yes, at least as far as intentions are concerned.  As we have seen time and time again, things don’t always work the way they appear to.

During the Eisenhower presidency (1953-1961), Congress established the Reece Committee to investigate tax-free foundations (Rockefeller, Ford, Carnegie).  The Reece Committee mounted a comprehensive inquiry into both the motives for establishing foundations and their influence on public life. The investigative inquiry was headed by Norman Dodd, a former banker. The committee’s report found: “In the international field, foundations, and an interlock among some of them and certain intermediary organizations, have exercised a strong effect upon our foreign policy and upon public education in things international.  This has been accomplished by vast propaganda, by supplying executives and advisors to government, and by controlling much research in this area through the power of the purse. The net result of these combined efforts has been to promote ‘internationalism’ in a particular sense–a form directed toward ‘world government’ and a derogation of American ‘nationalism.”‘(a)

The final report was submitted by Norman Dodd, and because of its provocative nature, the committee became subject to attack. In the Dodd report to the Reece Committee on Foundations, he gave a definition of the word “subversive”, saying that the term referred to “Any action having as its purpose the alteration of either the principle or the form of the United States Government by other than constitutional means.” He then argued that the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and Carnegie Endowment were using funds excessively on projects at Columbia, Harvard, Chicago University and the University of California, in order to enable oligarchical collectivism. He stated, “The purported deterioration in scholarship and in the techniques of teaching which, lately, has attracted the attention of the American public, has apparently been caused primarily by a premature effort to reduce our meager knowledge of social phenomena to the level of an applied science.” He stated that his research staff had discovered that in “1933-1936, a change took place which was so drastic as to constitute a “revolution”. They also indicated conclusively that the responsibility for the economic welfare of the American people had been transferred heavily to the Executive Branch of the Federal Government; that a corresponding change in education had taken place from an impetus outside of the local community, and that this “revolution” had occurred without violence and with the full consent of an overwhelming majority of the electorate.” He stated that this revolution “could not have occurred peacefully, or with the consent of the majority, unless education in the United States had been prepared in advance to endorse it. (b)

Although the promotion of internationalism and moral relativism by foundations concerned the committee, it saw their concentrated power as the more central threat. Even if benign, this power posed a threat to democratic government. The Reece Committee’s report, submitted in the midst of the ultimately successful efforts to censure Senator Joseph McCarthy, failed to attract much attention. McCarthy’s fall led to a discrediting of all efforts that ‘ smacked of redbaiting ‘.

The report conceded that, with several exceptions “such as the Institute of Pacific Relations, foundations have not directly supported organizations which, in turn, operated to support communism.” However, the report did conclude that

Some of the larger foundations have directly supported ‘subversion’ in the true meaning of that term–namely, the process of undermining some of our vitally protective concepts and principles. They have actively supported attacks upon our social and governmental system and financed the promotion of socialism and collectivist ideas.

The Reece Committee clearly declared that the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) was “in essence an agency of the United States Government” and that its “productions are not objective but are directed overwhelmingly at promoting the globalist concept.”

In Norman Dodd’s interview with G. Edward Griffin in 1982, Mr. Dodd explained he was told by Rowan Gaither, the president of the Ford Foundation that, “We are here in response to similar directives the substance of which is that we shall use our grant making power so to alter life in the United States that it can be comfortably merged with the Soviet Union.”

In regards to the Carnegie Foundation, the investigation revealed through the minutes of their first trustee meeting from 1908 the first year of the Carnegie Foundation’s operations that a question was raised: Is there any other means known more effective than war assuming you wish to alter the life of an entire people?  After one year of serious discussion it was concluded the answer was no.  In 1909 the minutes revealed another question, “How do we involve the United States in a war?”  The answer to this was by controlling the U.S. State Department.  This would be achieved by taking control of the diplomatic machinery of this country.  Then we eventually are in WWI at which time a telegram was dispatched to President Woodrow Wilson cautioning him to see the war didn’t end to quickly.”  After WWI the focus shifted to preventing reversion of life to pre-1914 which is when WWI broke out.  This could be achieved by controlling education.  And for this, they looked to the Rockefeller Foundation for assistance.

The Reese Committee had basically directed Congressman Dodd to prove whether the United States had indeed become the victim of a conspiracy.  I’d say the answer to this matter is an overwhelming yes.  As I stated previously, things aren’t always as they appear to be.



(a): Rene A. Wormser, Foundations: Their Power and Influence (New York: Devin-Adair, 1958), pp. 304-305.

(b):  “Dodd Report to the Reece Committee on Foundations (1954)”