Updated 4 March, 2004

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National Strategies for Sustainable Development:

"A strategic and participatory process of analysis, debate, capacity strengthening, planning and action towards sustainable development."


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The Project
Concepts of Sustainable Development
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Tools for Sustainable Development Planning
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Agenda 21, agreed at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, called on all countries to introduce national strategies for sustainable development (nssd). Since then, two international targets have been set: a Special Session of the UN General Assembly (Rio +5) set a target date of 2002 for nssds to be introduced; while the OECD  Development Assistance Committee (DAC) has set a target date of 2005 for nssds to be in the process of implementation. 

To assist in meeting these targets, the OECD/DAC initiated a project to develop policy guidance for development assistance agencies on the development and implementation of nssds. This project, 'OECD/DAC Donor-Developing Country Dialogues on National Strategies for Sustainable Development', involves a review of experience with nssds (and other strategies for environment and development) in a number of developing countries, on the basis of consultations with a range of stakeholders. The project focuses in particular on the kinds of processes and conditions required to make nssds work in practice.

Sustainable development is concerned with achieving a quality of life that can be maintained for many generations because it is:

  • Ecologically sustainable - maintaining the long-term viability of of supporting ecosystems;

  • Economically viable - paying for itself with costs not exceeding income; and

  • Socially desirable - fulfilling people's cultural, material and spiritual needs in equitable ways.

Agenda 21 (1992) called for the preparation of national strategies for sustainable development (nssds) to turn it's concepts into concrete policies and actions. The Development Assistance Committees' (OECD / DAC) strategy, Shaping the 21st Century (1996), sets a target date of 2005 for such strategies to be in the process of implementation in every country


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