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Local Agenda 21: ‘Meaningful and Effective ’ Participation?

  • Frans Coenen

‘Local Agenda 21’ (LA21) refers to the general goal set for local communities by Chapter 28 of the ‘action plan for sustainable development’ adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. Chapter 28 is an appeal to ‘local authorities’ to engage in a dialogue for sustainable development with the members of their constituencies. This dialogue seeks for a new participation process where the communication between local authorities and all local stakeholders goes beyond existing and traditional consultation. By nature LA21 is therefore a participatory reform. What is unique about LA21 as a participatory reform is that Chapter 28 of the Agenda was developed at the supra-national level. LA21 is being actioned in more than 6,400 local authorities in 113 countries (CSD, 2002).

Given that LA21 is a supra-national initiative it leaves considerable room for cross-national variation as to how, when, and why, the LA21 idea becomes salient. The substance of any particular ‘Local Agenda 21’ will be related to the specific nature of the local community in question (its geography, demography, economics, society, and culture) (Lafferty & Eckerberg, 1998). In this respect Chapter 28 can cope with diversity between local authorities.

Keywords

Sustainable Development Local Authority Public Participation Sustainable Community Participation Process 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frans Coenen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TwenteSchool of Management and Governance, Center for Clean Technology and Environmental PolicyThe Netherlands

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