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Cover image Sustainable Development Strategies: A Resource Book
Barry Dalal-Clayton and Stephen Bass
2002, 388pp
ISBN 1853839477
Order No. 9165IIED (hardcover)
Order No. 9166IIED (paperback)
This resource book provides guidance on how to develop, implement and assess national sustainable development strategies (NSDSs). It is based on an analysis of past and current practice, in both developed and developing countries, to undertake comprehensive approaches to sustainable development. In particular, it builds on dialogues and learning in the eight countries directly involved in a project on NSDSs undertaken by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (Box 1.1), as well as on the work of a wide range of organizations, such as the Capacity 21 initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the World Bank, World Conservation Union (IUCN), International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and many other groups (see the extensive References chapter at the end of the book). Versions are available in English, French, and Spanish.

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Cover image Stakeholder Dialogues on Sustainable Development Strategies: Lessons, Opportunities and Developing Country Case Studies
Environmental Planning Issues No. 26
Barry Dalal-Clayton, Krystyna Swiderska and Stephen Bass (eds)
2002, 152pp
ISBN 1 84369 288 0
Order No. 9215IIED

This book provides a unique set of case studies summarising recent developing country experiences of developing and implementing national sustainable development strategies (NSDSs). These are based directly on the work of country teams that facilitated multi-stakeholder dialogues on NSDSs. Drawing also from this work and from broader international experience, the early chapters explore new thinking and provide key lessons about the development, implementation and monitoring of NSDSs; and explore how the continuous improvement approach now advocated for NSDSs can link their development and implementation with the needs and opportunities for research. The book is a practical complement to a recent Resource Book on Sustainable Development Strategies, compiled by IIED and published by the OECD and UNDP (2002) which provides guidance on how to develop, assess and implement and implement such strategies.

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Background Information on the Resource Book



In 1992, Agenda 21 called for all countries to develop national sustainable development strategies (NSDSs). These are intended to translate the ideas and commitments of the Earth Summit into concrete policies and actions. Agenda 21 recognised that key decisions are needed at the national level, and should be made by stakeholders together. It believed that the huge agenda inherent in sustainable development needed an orderly approach – a ‘strategy’. But Agenda 21 stopped short of defining such a strategy, or even of guidance on how to go about it.

The United Nations (UN) held a Special Session to review progress five years after the Earth Summit. Delegates were concerned about continued environmental deterioration, and social and economic marginalisation. There have been success stories, but they are fragmented, or they have caused other problems. Sustainable development as a mainstream process of societal transformation still seems elusive. Strategic policy and institutional changes are still required.

The Rio+5 assessment led governments to set a target of 2002 for introducing national sustainable development strategies. The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD, in its 1996 Shaping the 21st Century publication, called for the formulation and implementation of an NSDS in every country by 2005 (as one of seven International Development Targets). It also committed DAC members to support developing countries’ NSDSs. But, again, no attempt was made to set out what a strategy would include or involve – in spite of growing experience with a number of international and local strategic models. ‘How would I know one if I saw one?’ one minister asked.

During 1999-2001, members of the OECD/DAC Working Party on Development Cooperation and Environment worked in partnership with eight developing countries to assess experience of country-level sustainable development strategies: Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Tanzania and Thailand. Through dialogues involving stakeholders from government, the private sector and civil society, past and existing strategic planning experiences were analysed, key issues and challenges identified, and principles for best practice developed. An iterative process involving in-country discussions and three international workshops in Tanzania, Thailand and Bolivia, led to consensus on the final text of the Policy Guidance (Strategies for Sustainable Development: Guidance for Development Cooperation (OECD-DAC 2001a). This Resource Book is the companion to the Policy Guidance. Both publications draw from international experience of many strategic approaches to sustainable development over the past two decades.

The Policy Guidance sets out best practice in developing and operating strategic processes for sustainable development, and on how development cooperation agencies can best assist developing countries in such processes, and includes a set of set of principles which underpin the development of effective strategies in many developing countries (Chapter 3, Box 3.1).

In November 2001, a UN International Forum on National Strategies for Sustainable Development (held in preparation for the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, WSSD) agreed guidance on NSDSs which confirms almost identical ‘elements’ of successful strategies (Box 3.2) for both developed and developing countries alike.

Following up on this, PrepCom3 for the WSSD in March/April 2002, noted the work of the OECD DAC and the Ghana Forum and called for the endorsement of the UN Guidance and launch of a manual on NSDSs at the WSSD (to be confirmed at PrepCom4 in May/June 2002).

This Resource Book meets the needs of such a manual, providing in-depth information on processes and methodologies. It was prepared by the International Institute for Environment and Development, working in collaboration with members of the partner country teams (see above) and a number of other organisations and individuals. It will be of value to a wide range of organisations, institutions and individuals in both developed and developing countries aiming to bring about sustainable development.



Select the links below to view PDF versions of each section:

Acknowledgements, Contents, List of figures, tables and boxes, Preface, Acronyms and abbreviations
View PDF: English (106K)
  French (160K)
  Spanish (163K)

1. About the resource book
View PDF: English (56K)
  French (31K)
  Spanish (33K)

2. Sustainable development and the need for strategic responses
View PDF: English (146K)
  French (190K)
  Spanish (187K)

3. The nature of sustainable development strategies and current practice
View PDF: English (219K)
  French (327K)
  Spanish (422K)

4. Key steps in starting or improving strategies for sustainable development
View PDF: English (197K)
  French (304K)
  Spanish (298K)

5. Analysis
View PDF: English (308K)
  French (490K)
  Spanish (521K)

6. Participation in strategies for sustainable development
View PDF: English (482K)
  French (375K)
  Spanish (363K)

7. Communications
View PDF: English (155K)
  French (201K)
  Spanish (200K)

8. Strategy decision-making
View PDF: English (187K)
  French (269K)
  Spanish (260K)

9. The financial basis for strategies
View PDF: English (124K)
  French (177K)
  Spanish (169K)

10. Monitoring and evaluation systems
View PDF: English (120K)
  French (132K)
  Spanish (134K)

View PDF: English (38K)
  French (33K)
  Spanish (33K)

View PDF: English (90K)
  French (107K)
  Spanish (95K)

View PDF: English (82K)


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