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Local Agenda 21
A Brief History and its
application in Aberdeen
Belinda Miller
Local Agenda 21 Co-ordinator
Aberdeen City Council
The Rise of Global
Environment Action
• Rachel Carson’s book ‘Silent Spring’ 1962 One of the most influential books of the 20th
• Exposed the destruction of wildlife through
the widespread use of pesticides
• Achieved new public awareness of the
• Led to changes in government policy
A slow change in attitudes
• UN Conference on the Human
Environment 1972 Delineated the
‘rights’ of the human family to a healthy
and productive environment
• 1980 - World Conservation Strategy
(IUCN) advanced the idea of
sustainable development - in terms of
development and environment (but not
Our Common Future 1987
• World Commission on Environment &
• Introduced fuller concept of Sustainable
• ‘A Global Agenda for Change’ - Gro Harlem
• Possible to achieve global economic
development without compromising future
generations chances to meet their needs
Earth Summit
Rio 1992
• Agreements on co-operation on
development & environment issues
• Political commitment at highest levels
- 174
• Opened paths for communication &
co-operation between official and
• Raised public awareness
AGENDA 21 - the global
plan of action for sustainable
• Reflects the political commitment to
achieving a balance between the
economic, environmental and social
needs of the world community.
• Calls for local action to achieve
global objectives and promotion of
broad-based participation
Local Agenda 21
• The concept of “Local Agenda 21”
effectively combines these key
elements by presenting a unique
framework that enables the
necessary global-local link and
revitalises local communities
through increased participation.
1992 - 2002
• Convention on Biodiversity (1992) &
Biosafety Protocol (2000) - conservation
of & sustainable use of biological
• Framework Convention on Climate
Change (1993) & Kyoto protocol (1999)stabilise greenhouse gases
• Convention on Desertification (1994)
tackle the impacts of & mitigate the
effects of droughts.
1992 - 2002
• Convention on Persistent organic pollutants
(2001) - tackle chemical substances that
persist and bioaccumulate through the food
web and pose a risk to human health and to
the environment.
• Agreement on conservation and
management of straddling and highly
migratory fish stocks (1995)
• Millennium Summit (2000), 18 targets and
48 indicators
World Summit on Sustainable
Development, Johannesburg
26 August- 4 September 2002
“By the end of the new century, if we are both
lucky and wise we will exit in better shape
than we entered. People everywhere will
have acquired a decent quality of life, with the
expectation of more improvements to come.
Whether it happens depends fundamentally
on the shift to a new ethic, which sees
humanity as part of the biosphere and its
faithful steward, not just resident master &
economic maximizer”
E O Wilson, Time, April/May 2000
The Few Successes
The summit delivered about 41 new
• Far-reaching deal on restoring fish
stocks by 2015
• Doubling access to sanitation and
clean water by 2015.
No More (shameful) Summits
The biggest disappointment was the lost
attempt to set firm targets on increasing the
world's share of 'clean' renewable energy to
help reduce CO2 emissions and tackle climate
• World Trade Organisation - failed talks
• Kyoto still not ratified
• Europe moving ahead, US going
• Africa - still struggling with poverty
• Water shortage could be the next third
world war?
• But is Local Action Moving the World?
Aberdeen’s Community Plan and
its Local Agenda 21 Strategy
•Climate Change,
•Sustainable Procurement,
•State of the Environment
•Resources Use
Awareness Raising
•Your Health and the Environment
•Climate Change and The Environment
•The Eco Challenge
•Our Green Times
•Web site - Your City - Your Environment
A Wide Range of Projects
•Annual Environment Strategy Report
•Home Energy Conservation
•Green Travel
•Waste Reduction and Recycling
•Biodiversity Actions
The Future
• Local Agenda 21 vs/ Community
• Majority Action vs Globalisation
• Environment vs Economic
• Resources vs Political Priorities
• Future vs Now
Local Agenda 21
A Brief History and its
application in Aberdeen
Carson, Rachel, Silent Spring, Penguin (1962)
WCED, Our Common Future, Oxford, (1987)
The Real World Coalition - From here to
Sustainability, Earthscan (2001)