Cover Image
close this bookImplementing Agenda 21: NGO Experiences from around the World (NGLS)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPreface
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentAuthors
View the documentNGOS and the UN system since the earth summit: The NGO steering committee for the commission on sustainable development
close this folderThe issues
View the documentThe implementation of agenda 21 and indigenous peoples
View the documentSustainable development of non-timber forest products
View the documentICLEI responds to UNCED
View the documentLess is more: Synthetic chemical hazards and the right to know
View the documentGreening the consumer
View the documentThe ego-volunteer concept: An alternative approach to sustainable development
View the documentThe unsaid in UNCED
View the documentSustainable development and world citizenship
View the documentCampaigning for local natural resource management in Africa
close this folderCountry experiences
View the documentImplementing agenda 21: The Caribbean NGO experience
View the documentReligion and conservation in Ghana
View the documentCitizens and the biodiversity convention: the indian experience
View the documentThe local partners approach to urban waste management in Morocco
View the documentPakistan: Implementing agenda 21 locally
View the documentRussian ngos: Searching for a sustainable future
View the documentScotland after UNCED
View the documentAgenda 21 for Slovenia
View the documentSaving the plants that save lives in the South Pacific
View the documentZambian women and economic empowerment


Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development

The Special Session of the General Assembly for the five-year review of Agenda 21 provides an extraordinary opportunity for all those involved in its implementation to step back and take stock of what has gone right (and why), what has gone wrong (and why), and where we go from here.

To carry out this evaluation, governments will have before them evidence of many kinds and from many sources. As this evidence is examined, it will he important to keep in mind a few broad and fundamental questions. Since 1992, is the world community closer to meeting human needs? Is the quality of life improving for the world's population? Are we reducing risks to the quality of life and enhancing our capacity to meet needs? Are we broadening options for the future?

The answers may not he that easy to come by because, among other things, the yardsticks for measuring progress are not yet available in many instances. The exercise currently underway, aimed at developing, agreeing to, testing and adopting sustainable development indicators, is an important means to address this. Even when these indicators are in use, however, they will need to be complemented by first-hand insight into the progress of the post-Rio process.

In this light, the contributions in this hook are invaluable NGOs have a long and rich history of involvement with the UN, ever since the first years of the Organization when they were instrumental in getting the women's issue on the international policy agenda. The Earth Summit was a fuming point. ushering in a new chapter of quantitatively as well as qualitatively increased NGO involvement.

NGOs now speak from a number of perspectives: as local practitioners in the implementation process, as watchdogs who can he counted on to sound the alarm when national or international authorities fail to meet commitments, and as advocates who push for sustainable development policies and programmes at all levels

We are fortunate, in this hook, to hear NGOs' views from these diverse perspectives. NGO reflection on and lessons learned from their multidimensional experiences are essential to carrying out the demanding and critical task at hand that of accurately assessing the effectiveness of existing policies and practices in meeting the goals of Agenda 21 so that, with new insights and renewed commitment, we can chart a more effective sustainable development course for a better future.