What are National Strategies for Sustainable Development?
"a strategic and participatory process of analysis, debate, capacity strengthening, planning and action towards sustainable development" (OECD Development Assistance Committee 1999)
The call for National Strategies for Sustainable Development (NSSDs) came out of discussions at the first Earth Summit (Rio de Janeiro, 1992). There is no internationally agreed definition, nor official guidance on how to prepare an NSSD. However NSSDs should define the process by which countries will commit to meeting Sustainable Development targets or “Agenda 21" at a national level.
NSSDs should not require a completely new planning process but rather a reorientation of existing activities. An individual country may have a range of initiatives/strategies (e.g. Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, Comprehensive Development Frameworks, Vision 20:20) in response to international commitments or agreements. These strategies may contribute to or even individually reflect what is considered an "NSSD".
Goal of NSSDs
The aim is for countries to develop on-going strategies toward reducing economic inequality, social instability and environmental degradation.
"to ensure socially responsible economic development while protecting the resource base and the environment for the benefit of future generations." (OECD DAC 1999)
Agreed Time frame
NSSDs introduced in all countries and reviewed at UN CSD 10
at UNGASS “Rio +5" 1997)
NSSDs to be in a process of implementation
Strategies to have reversed loss of environmental resources
Taking the OECD
DAC definition of NSSD as a basis, the following list might be seen as
key (but not the only) elements of an NSSD:
national economic, social and environment trends to give baseline
picture of current national situation. Assessment of existing and
relevant strategies e.g. Local Agenda 21. Regional and international
links to identify common challenges between neighbouring countries and
people from many disciplines e.g. government and society, NGOs,
academia, local authorities, women’s and indigenous groups and the
private sector. Development of ownership through effective communication
and consultation over the choices and dilemmas facing a country and
discussion over alternative actions to address them.
Mobilisation of society as a whole requires an
expansion of knowledge and skills amongst all relevant actors to enable
them to get involved e.g. formal/informal
education, public awareness campaigns and training.
Outline of participative processes. Framing of
approaches for policy coordination and coherence, institutional reform.
Definition of key issues, goals and processes in order to frame and
outline how the strategy will be implemented.
Implementation phase of NSSD at national and local
levels. Coordination and coherence between sectoral operations and
administration of incentives. Regulation, negotiation, conflict
management and crisis prevention, as well as review and amendment of
NSSD. International partnerships for knowledge, information sharing, as
well as sharing and development of best practice and indicators.
International Support for NSSDs
UNESCO and Earth Council have a proposed programme for
"Education, Public Awareness and Training in National Strategies
and Action Plans for Sustainable Development"
The OECD DAC Working Party on Development Cooperation
and the Environment (WP/ENV) have a task force, co-led by the European
Commission and the United Kingdom (Department for International
Development and International Institute Environment and Development).
This will aim to produce guidance on best practice for developing
countries, to assist them with the formulation and implementation of
DFID White Paper, Eliminating World Poverty: A
Challenge for the 21st Century
OECD/DAC (1999) Donor-Developing Country Dialogues on
National Strategies for Sustainable Development. Executive Summary of
OECD/DAC (1999) Assisting Developing Countries with the
Formulation and Implementation of National Strategies for Sustainable