What is Agenda 21?

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Agenda 21 refers to a voluntary action plan formulated by the United Nations back in 1992 to promote sustainable development.  Through Agenda 21, countries and organizations around the world are encouraged to implement projects that can help the environment and natural resources.  Aside from the UN’s peace-keeping efforts across the globe, the organization also strives to help poor and developing countries combat various concerns like pollution, over-population, and sustainable use of the Earth’s natural resources.  As the world’s population gets bigger and bigger with more countries developing at a very fast pace, the UN has basically come up with a strategy to help countries around the world have a better understanding of environmental and socio-economic concerns through Agenda 21.

The action plan included in Agenda 21 is composed of 40 chapters which are divided into 4 main sections.  The first section covers the socio-economic aspect of sustainable development.  In this section, topics relating to population, poverty, and health are thoroughly presented.  The second section covers management and conservation steps in terms of natural resources.  This section also includes articles relating to protection of the atmosphere and the remaining forests and wildlife of the Earth.  Problems relating to pollution and wastes are also discussed in the second section.  The third section of Agenda 21 discusses people’s contribution and roles to promote sustainable development.  The last section meanwhile presents the various ways to implement the strategies and plans included in Agenda 21.

The application of Agenda 21 is voluntary in nature.  This simply means that member countries of the UN for example are not bound or obliged to implement all steps included in the action plan.  The basic purpose of documenting sustainable development strategies is to help other nations and governments in terms of solving their own socio-economic and environmental concerns.  Agenda 21 is also released to give a sense of responsibility to existing governments and organizations in terms of the use of resources in order to better protect what is left of the Earth for the benefit of future generations.

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