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National Sustainable Development Strategies:
Experience and Dilemmas

Dalal-Clayton D.B., Bass S.M.J. Sadler B., Thomson K., Sandbrook R., Robins N. and Hughes R. (1994): National Sustainable Development Strategies: Experience and Dilemmas. Environmental Planning Issues No.6, International Institute for Environment and Development, London.

National strategies for sustainable development (nssds) are focal points for integrating environment and development in decision-making, and for defining and implementing sustainable development priorities. Their importance and value run as a strong theme throughout Agenda 21. A major challenge for nssds is to translate the words and commitments of the UN Conference on Environment and Development into concrete policies and actions that help individual nations embark on paths towards sustainable development, and to stay on course.

This paper discusses the evolution of the nssd concept and provides examples of various national strategy processes that have been undertaken. The main elements of a strategy process are identified and past experience with national strategies discussed. The limitations of an nssd and a range of other dilemmas arising through factors including the political context, what the main objective of the strategy is and the limits of consultation and participation are also examined. A number of principles are identified which may be of use to countries or organisations developing an nssd.

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