Agenda 21, a comprehensive action plan from the Earth Summit in 1992, emphasizes the importance of harnessing expertise and capacity from all sectors of society and all types of people to achieve sustainable development. Agenda 21 defined “major groups” which are nine sectors of social, economic and technical stakeholders in sustainable development. Local Authorities is one of major groups and commits to participation and cooperation of local authorities to support Agenda 21.
Agenda 21 states Local Authorities’ initiatives:
“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”.
Twenty years later, Local Authorities keeps high commitment to achieve sustainable development as the main channel through which citizens could organize and participate in international efforts. The outcome document of the Rio +20 Conference in 2012, The Future We Want, acknowledges the key role of local, regional and national legislatures and judiciaries for sustainable development including role in engaging citizens and stakeholders and underscores the importance of involving other stakeholders such as local communities, volunteer groups and foundations, migrants, older persons, and persons with disabilities.
Governments have committed to work more closely with major groups and other stakeholders and to encourage them to participate in planning and implementation of policies and programs for sustainable development at all levels. Also, the Open Working Group created from Local Authorities calls for the active participation of all stakeholders involved in the Post-2015 agenda to build on the successes and challenges faced by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
To learn more, check UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform