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Assessing national sustainable development strategies: Strengthening the links to operational policy

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At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, it was agreed that all countries should develop a national sustainable develop-ment strategy (NSDS) as a key component of implementing the goals of Agenda 21. Progress has been limited. Few countries have established a formal strategy, and many of the strategies that exist have been only partially implemented. This article proposes an approach that addresses the need to improve existing strategic planning mechanisms. The approach is based on a periodic assessment of existing systems, to evaluate the extent to which they incorporate NSDS principles, and identify areas to be strengthened. The article describes an assessment methodology, presents examples of its use, and discusses ways in which current approaches to NSDS may be complemented by continual review and improvement of existing planning processes.

Keywords: Development planning; Environmental management; Evaluation; Impact assessment; National sustainable development strategy; Strategic environmental assessment

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Impact Assessment Research Centre, Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM), School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.

Publication date: May 1, 2006


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