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Summary of Durban’s Local Agenda 21 Programme, A: The sustainable development challenge

Debra Roberts, Nicci Diederichs

Working paper, 34 pages

Durban's Local Agenda 21 programme has been at the forefront of the Local Agenda 21 movement in Southern Africa since the mid-1990s. This paper describes the first four phases of the programme, 1994-2001 and the difficulties faced in localising the sustainable development concept in Durban, in particular the initiation and development of the programme during a period of local government transformation and restructuring. The perception that Local Agenda 21 has a 'green' focus and is 'anti-development' (due to its location within an environment department) has also resulted in a lack of proactive and sustained political support. The lack of human and financial resources has restricted the programme's capacity to build support and consensus among stakeholders. The programme has, however, helped keep sustainable development on the city's agenda and has provided a mechanism through which local stakeholders can interact with local government around environmental management issues.

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