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A summary guide to Agenda 21 Appendix 2 Agenda 21 was adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) Summit meeting on 14 June 1992. Its contains three primary goals toward sustainable development - relevant national level policies and strategies, integration of decision-making processes and community involvement. Agenda 21 is divided into 4 sections and 40 Chapters. A summary of each section is as follows: Section 1 – Social and Economic Dimensions, Chapters 2-8 This Section examines the adverse social and economic issues and outcomes of unsustainable development and resource use. Chapter 2 - International Cooperation to Accelerate Sustainable Development advocates for market pricing mechanisms that account for environmental costs. It additionally calls for consistency of policy and practice between trade and the environment. Chapter 3 – Poverty advocates for strategies that combat poverty, both as a cause and effect of environmental degradation. These include sustainable levels of economic growth, employment growth, income generation and local community empowerment. Chapter 4 – Changing Consumption Patterns examines global market imbalances in the patterns of consumption and production and advocates for more efficient and environmentally sustainable resource use. Chapter 5 – Demographic Dynamics and Sustainability focuses on population growth issues. It advocates for strategies to stabilise population and increase local health and educational standards. Chapter 6 - Human Health addresses primary world health issues, such as adequate nutrition, primary health care, water quality, urban health and environmental pollution. Chapter 7 – Human Settlements examines deteriorating urban environments and proposes integrated planning and environmental management systems, sustainable land use and energy efficiency to meet the challenges of human settlement development. Chapter 8 – Integrated Decision Making provides strategies for an integrated response to environmental, social and economic considerations through four broad areas: integrated environment and development policy, planning and management; effective regulatory and legal frameworks; effective use of market and economic instruments and incentives; and integrated environmental and economic accounting. Section II – Conservation and Management of Resources for Development, Chapters 9-22 This section deals with the “sectoral issues” chapters of Agenda 21. Chapter 9 - Protection of the Atmosphere primarily addresses three atmospheric issues- climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion and trans-boundary air pollution. Chapter 10 – Land Resources provides a framework for developing an integrated approach to sustainable land resources use. The Chapter proposes the set up of sustainability and environmental impact indicators, an ecosystemic approach to land use planning and the set up of public participation processes. Chapter 11 – Forests provides for an integrated framework approach to the planning and management of forest conservation and forest resources. It primarily advocates for the preservation and enhancement of biodiversity and forest resources while meeting expanding human needs. The chapter additionally promotes the use of economic measures, community consultation and the provision of access to special needs groups (such as indigenous). Chapter 12 – Desertification and Drought discusses improved land, water, afforestation and revegetation management strategies to combat and reverse rising land degradation, salinity, desertification and soil erosion. Chapter 13 – Sustainable Mountain Development focuses on halting the deterioration of mountain ecosystems, which, in turn, impact profoundly on biodiversity preservation and human well being. Afforestation, soil preservation strategies and creating alternatives to unsustainable livelihood practices are among primary programs proposed. Chapter 14 – Sustainable Agriculture recognises that major reform in economic, agricultural and environmental policies are required to provide adequate food for an expanding population. Programs primarily target the increase of food production and food security, improving the capacity of higher potential agricultural land and land conservation strategies. Chapter 15 – Biological Diversity recognises the interdependence between functionaries in ecosystems and asserts that preserving the variety and variability of species, genes, populations and ecosystems is intrinsically tied to human quality of life. Chapter 16 – Biotechnology provides notions of the opportunities for biotechnology to contribute to sustainable development, including the requirement for safety, sound management and achieving sustainable benefits. Chapter 17 – Protection of the Oceans reviews the protection, sustainable use and integrated management of oceans and seas. Program areas include marine environment protection, water resources conservation strategies and the preservation/enhancement of migratory aqua fauna. Chapter 18 – Freshwater examines the protection of the quality and supply of freshwater resources and promotes an integrated approach to planning and management Chapter 19 – Toxic Chemicals reviews the assessment of risks entailed in the use of chemicals. The chapter also deals with national risk reduction programs Chapter 20 - Hazardous Wastes primarily raises awareness of the treatment and disposal of hazardous waste at national level activities. Chapter 21 – Solid Wastes primarily sets a series of national programs that allow for waste minimisation, recycling and cooperative integrated programs between countries. Chapter 22 – Radioactive Wastes include intractable and hazardous waste; programs addressing this issue include: their safe management, transportation, handling and disposal. Section III – Strengthening the Role of Major Groups, Chapters 24-32 This Section focuses on local empowerment and alliance building between various social partners to ensure all major groups are actively involved in all program areas of Agenda 21. Chapter 24 – Women aims to ensure the full and equal participation of women, primarily through focussing on the removal of obstacles faced in public life and the provision of services. Chapter 25 – Youth and Children attempts to develop a greater role for youth and their representative agencies in planning and resource management at all levels. Chapter 26 – Indigenous People and their Communities recognises the special relationship between many indigenous communities and their environments. It primarily focuses on the need for adequate community access, participation, consultation and empowerment in the formulation and implementation of land use and resource management and development. Chapter 27 – Non-government Organisations highlights the vital role of NGOs in providing a focus for community involvement – program design, delivery, community education and social cohesion - in sustainable development activities. Chapter 28 – Local Authorities stresses the pivotal role of local government as regional environmental planners in working toward sustainable development and urges each council to develop its own Local Agenda 21. Chapter 29 – Trade Unions points out the role that unions and workers need to embrace in order to develop cleaner production practices, safe work practices and full employment. Chapter 30 – Business and Industry provides a rationale for how responsible entrepreneurship is vital for developing effective strategies for achieving balanced development and environmental protection. Chapter 31 – Scientists and Technologists primarily pushes for improving communications channels between the scientific and technical community and the public as well as improving ways in which governments seek and receive scientific advice. Chapter 32 – Farmers recognises the cogent role of farmers and rural communities as managers and custodians of natural resources and asserts the importance of their involvement in developing regional policies and programs. Section IV – Means of Implementation, Chapters 33-40 Chapter 33 - Finance provides ideas and formats for developing the substantial and new arrangements necessary for the funding of Local Agenda 21 programs in developing countries. Chapter 34 – Technology Transfer defines the conditions under which environmentally sound technologies should be transferred between countries for the benefit of the global environment. To this end, there is particular emphasis on integrated information, access and technological transfer programs. Chapter 35 – Science discusses the role of science in sustainable development, including improved modelling, research programs, new partnerships and data collation. Chapter 36 – Education, Public Awareness and Training emphasises the importance of formal and informal education in making sustainable development central to the planning and conduct of activities in all spheres of life. As such, the chapter focuses on attempting to incorporate environmental training into formal, informal and cross- disciplinary curricula, particularly public awareness and education programs on environmental issues. Chapter 37 – Capacity Building encourages endogenous capacity building mainly in developing countries, with emphasis on the respective roles of public, private and government organisations as experts. Chapter 38 – Institutional Arrangements discusses the necessary arrangements for supporting sustainable development at a global level, with a focus on the changing role of existing institutions and objectives that are necessary. To this end, the primary recommendation is the creation of a UN Commission for Sustainable Development to oversee, develop and monitor Agenda 21. Chapter 39 – Legal Instruments and Mechanisms explores avenues for improvements in the effectiveness of existing and future international law on environment and development, including such issues as consistency of obligations under different instrumentalities and developing country participation. Chapter 40 – Information for Decision-Making is divided into two parts – Bridging the Data Gap and Improving Information Availability. These focus primarily on improved data collation, dissemination and State of the Environment Reporting. Additionally, there is emphasis on recognising local and indigenous knowledge.
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