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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
Email: iclei@iclei.org
Inter­net Web­site: http://www.iclei.org

 

© ICLEI-Canada, 1997.
All Rights Reserved. No part of this pub­li­ca­tion may be repro­duced, stored in a
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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.

 

RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Notes

  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

About Nathan Laurenson

Editor at The Daily Resistance, Citizen Journalist, Activist and Co Host Of Battle Of New Orleans Radio On 990 AM WGSO Airs 8pm Wed.| Resist Daily