Rethinking Sustainable Development Strategies.
Promoting Strategic Analysis, Debate and Action
Dalal-Clayton D.B., Bass
S., Robins N. and Swyderska K. (1998): Rethinking Sustainable Development Strategies.
Promoting Strategic Analysis, Debate and Action. Environmental Planning Issues
No.6, International Institute for Environment and Development, London.
Agenda 21 urges all countries
to introduce a national strategy for sustainable development. In 1997, five
years after Rio, the UN General Assembly Special Session set a target date of
2002 for introducing such strategies in all countries. The OECD-DAC has set
a target date of 2005 for countries to meet the same aim. Yet no official guidance
has been provided on how to develop strategies. Indeed there is much current
debate on what such a strategy is or should be, and how donors can help in their
development and implementation. Whilst past experience indicates that a blueprint
approach is not appropriate, there has been little examination of whether past
strategies have had any effective impact. There remains uncertainty about how
best to proceed.
This paper re-examines the
experience to date, considers why recommendations of past reviews have not been
addressed or implemented, draws out some key lessons and identifies a range
of challenges. It argues that a new focus and approach is required which places
less emphasis on the production of a strategy document and focuses on processes
which can facilitate strategic analysis, debate and action. Such an approach
should be more cost-effective, politically appealing and economically viable,
and respond to real needs locally, while enabling countries to contribute better
to international decisions. The authors set out IIEDís first thoughts on why
such a new start is required and what it might mean in practice. The focus is
primarily on developing countries, but many of the themes have relevance elsewhere.
The paper concludes with suggestions of both how the process may be started
and some basic elements of the approach.
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