Localizing Agenda 21
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Localizing Agenda 21
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The Localizing Agenda 21 Programme (LA21) aims to help local authorities in secondary towns to achieve more sustainable development by implementing an environmental planning and management process to identify and address priority issues.

The challenge

Today, more than one billion people live in overcrowded, poorly serviced neighbourhoods. They lack clean water and adequate sanitation, their garbage is uncollected and the air that they breathe is polluted. Local authorities have been unable to keep pace with the rapid growth of their cities and towns, and the poor suffer most.

The response

The Localising Agenda 21 (LA21) Programme helps local authorities to use Environmental Planning and Management (EPM) to identify and address key environmental issues. The Programme focuses on the sustainable development of secondary towns. LA21 builds the EPM capacities of local authorities, and supports human resource development. The programme encourages partnerships between various local actors, mobilises resources and promotes exchange between cities facing similar problems.

The key objectives of the LA21 Programme are:

  1. To improve urban environmental planning and management processes by supporting city demonstration projects, assisting policy development and promoting decentralised city-to-city co-operation.
  2. To build local institutional support for environmental planning and management by creating partnerships with selected local institutions, supporting networks of national and regional technical institutions and supporting the national adaptation of EPM tools.

By helping local authorities to implement demonstration projects and improve their capacities to deal with priority urban environmental issues, LA21 responds directly to the challenge of the Millennium Development Goals, and particularly Goal 7, Target 11, which seeks to improve the lives of 100 million slum dwellers by the year 2020.

The approach

The LA21 Programme targets secondary cities. Such cities and towns often lack the competencies needed to deal with their evolving environmental problems, and may not be benefiting from international support. By using the participatory EPM process, each town can create a shared vision for its future development building on the Environmental Profile main findings. Using this vision, local authorities can develop sustainable action plans to tackle existing environmental problems.

Activities at the city level

  • Preparation of strategic action plans based on the development visions of cities
  • Demonstration projects
  • Local authority capacity-building
  • City-to-city co-operation initiatives

Thematic areas

  • Community-based solid waste management
  • Urban mobility
  • Cultural heritage management and promotion of tourism
  • Sustainable water management
  • Access to urban services and social integration
  • Revision of master plans
  • Establishment of municipal environmental management system
  • Strengthening of citizen participation in urban environment planning and management
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