Agenda 21

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Under the Agenda 21 refers to a program of the United Nations . By 178 countries at the Conference on Environment and Development of the United Nations (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 decided it sets guidelines for the 21st century, especially for sustainable development . In addition to government representatives, many non-governmental organizations also took part in this conference . Sustainable development - and with it Agenda 21 - has become the guideline for public action in many places. Local Agenda 21 is its municipal implementation .


With the development concept of sustainable development ( English sustainable development should) by a change in economic , environmental and development policy , the needs of the present generation are satisfied to affect future generations without chances. In terms of sustainable development, economic policy in the industrialized countries and thus also the energy , agricultural and trade policy must be adapted, since the industrialized countries consume significantly more resources in relation to the total population . In emerging and developing countries , Agenda 21 relates more to poverty reduction , population policy , education , health , drinking water and sanitation, sewage and waste disposal, and rural development .

In principle, the Local Agenda 21 criteria ( economy , ecology , sustainability ) also apply to medical issues, so that medicine only becomes social. In medicine that is appropriate to the citizen, one speaks of medicine capable of social agenda 21 if the criteria: economy, ecology, sustainability are met.

Agenda 21 has 359 pages and consists of 40 chapters, which in turn can be divided into four sections:

  1. Social and economic dimensions
  2. Conservation and management of resources for development
  3. Strengthening the role of important groups
  4. Possibilities of implementation

Agenda 21 was agreed as a package of measures that primarily addresses international organizations and national governments; but also all other political levels were called upon to act in accordance with these goals. According to Chapter 28 (“Local initiatives in support of Agenda 21”), many of the global problems can best be solved at the local level. Under the motto “Think globally - act locally!”, Each municipality in the 178 signatory countries is therefore called upon to develop its own (local) Agenda 21 .

On the occasion of the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg ( 2002 ), the representatives of the municipalities declared that after 10 years of only mediocre successes of the “Local Agenda 21” in the next ten years, they would be in favor of an increased implementation of the “Agenda 21” goals through “local action Use 21 “campaigns.

The follow-up agenda (“Agenda 2030”) came into force on January 1, 2016.

Implementation in Germany

In Germany there are currently (as of September 2006) resolutions in over 2,600 municipalities for the development of a Local Agenda 21. This means that an agenda towards sustainability is to be developed at the local level .

At the national level, a Council for Sustainable Development ( Sustainability Council for short ) was set up in 2001 by the then federal government . The committee consists of 15 public figures . The tasks of the council are the development of contributions for the implementation of the German sustainability strategy , the naming of concrete fields of action and projects as well as making sustainability an important public concern.

In April 2002, the federal government adopted the national sustainability strategy . The results of consultations with social groups and proposals from the German Council for Sustainable Development have been incorporated into the program. Above all, the strategy formulates a model of sustainable development on which goals and indicators are based. The strategy was further developed in progress reports.

The State Secretaries' Committee for Sustainable Development is the central steering body of the federal government's sustainability policy.

One of the first model projects for implementing Agenda 21 in Germany was the national project, the Altmühltal -Agenda-21-Projekt (1995–1998) of the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt , which was awarded by the Federal President Roman Herzog , in which over 100 measures were carried out in 25 project areas .

Implementation in Austria

Since it began in Austria in 1997, "Local Agenda 21" processes have now been running in 500 municipalities, cities, districts and regions nationwide, making important contributions to the sustainable development of rural and urban areas. The federal states as well as the Ministry of Life support these future processes - with knowledge, advice, process support, communication and funding. Since the Local Agenda 21 makes essential contributions to strengthening the regions, it is also anchored in the funding program for rural development.

As the first pilot project of the Local Agenda 21 initiated by the City of Vienna , the 9th district of Vienna (Alsergrund) started in 1998 with a comprehensive "activating city diagnosis". The resulting successful actions and changes in public space led from 2002 to a city-wide model of the Local Agenda 21 Vienna. The districts of the city can currently participate voluntarily in the association's program and improve their quality of life through their own agenda offices in the respective districts. The expanded program of the Local Agenda 21 Plus Vienna has existed since 2009, which deals with the main topics of sustainable mobility , public space , intercultural dialogue and the design of city districts for young and old. Another gain for the sustainable urban development of Vienna was the initiated ideas competition ELLA, which gave the citizens of the districts the opportunity to submit their own ideas and implement them independently.

Furthermore, Aktion 21 was founded in 2006 as an umbrella organization for citizens' initiatives, the name of which is based on Agenda 21 . Its aim is to ensure that the population is effectively involved in municipal planning and projects that have a lasting effect on urban quality of life . In the long term, changes to the city constitutions are also sought.


Agenda 21 is also criticized in some areas. The main points of criticism are the divergence between vision and reality, a lack of transparency in the agenda goals and the implementation process, use of ambiguous buzzwords , a lack of democratic processes, cooperation with large corporations, the lack of engagement with nuclear and genetic engineering and globalization , and adherence to the " Growth ideology ”.

See also

Web links





Individual evidence

  1. UNDESA , Division for Sustainable Development Goals: Agenda 21. In: Sustainable Development Goals Knowledge Platform. Retrieved July 20, 2020 .
  2. ( Memento from October 10, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Sustainability portal of the Ministry for an Austria worth living in. Accessed October 7, 2014.
  3. Jörg Bergstedt: Agenda, Expo, Sponsoring - Perspectives on radical, emancipatory environmental protection work. IKO-Verlag for Intercultural Communication 1999, ISBN 3-88939-450-7
  4. Environmental protection from below - criticism of Agenda 21