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Environmental Issues (Agenda 21)

Last Modified June 17, 2014
 

We are committed to sustainable development through our Local Agenda 21 process, which means we try to continuously improve our services, policies and practices to contribute to a better quality of life for everyone now, and for future generations.

Agenda 21 is a plan for sustainable development that was drawn up and agreed at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Over 120 nations signed up to this plan, which considers the impact on our future of the balance between the environmental, economic and social issues of today's activities, policies and new developments.

The Agenda 21 agreement covers a wide range of issues and gives responsibilities to different groups. This includes an obligation for local councils all over the world to draw up and implement Local Agenda 21 plans. Part of this Local Agenda 21 process is concerned with engaging the local community and raising awareness of issues relating to sustainability such as energy efficiency, recycling, transport and water and environmental conservation.

One such report is our latest HECA (Home Energy Conservation Act) report.

What does Agenda 21 cover?

Internationally it includes a very wide range of subjects. The list below gives the main headings of the International Agenda 21 document.

Social and economic dimensions

  • Combating poverty
  • Changing consumption patterns
  • Population and sustainability
  • Protecting and promoting human health
  • Sustainable human settlements, making decisions for sustainability

Conserving / managing resources

  • Combating deforestation
  • Combating desertification and drought
  • Conservation of biological diversity
  • Management of biotechnology
  • Managing hazardous waste and sewage
  • Managing land sustainability
  • Managing radioactive waste
  • Protecting the atmosphere
  • Protecting and managing fresh water
  • Protecting and managing the oceans
  • Safer use of toxic chemicals
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Sustainable mountain development
  • Sustainable rural development

Strengthening major groups

  • business and industry
  • children and young people
  • indigenous people
  • local authorities
  • partnerships with non-Government organisations
  • scientists and technologists
  • strengthening the role of farmers
  • women
  • workers and trade unions

Means of implementation

  • creating capacity
  • education, training, public awareness
  • financing sustainable development
  • information for decision-making
  • international law
  • organising for sustainability
  • science for sustainable development
  • technology transfer

 

The UK plan sets out the four main issues that need to be addressed. These are:

  • Effective protection of the environment - such as protecting the atmosphere, tackling deforestation, conserving biodiversity and managing radioactive waste;
  • Maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment by increasing education, technology and law;
  • Prudent use of natural resources, for example consumption of fossil fuels (such as oil coal and gas) in energy production and transport;
  • Social progress which recognises the needs of everyone, by strengthening major groups such as women, children, local authorities and trade unions.
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