Sustainable Development Strategies:
A Resource Book
By Barry Dalal-Clayton and Stephen Bass
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
and United Nations Development Programmme.
Institute for Environment and Development
3 Endsleigh Street, London WC1H ODD
Tel: +44-207-388-2117; Fax: +44-207-388-2826
http://www.iied.org (see also:
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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
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.
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