Agenda 21  is a non-binding action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development. It is a product of the Earth Summit (UN Conference on Environment and Development) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. It is an action agenda for the UN, other multilateral organizations, and individual governments around the world that can be executed at local, national, and global levels.
The “21” in Agenda 21 refers to the 21st century. It has been affirmed and had a few modifications at subsequent UN conferences. Its aim is achieving global sustainable development. One major objective of the Agenda 21 initiative is that every local government should draw its own local Agenda 21. Since 2015, Sustainable Development Goals are included in the Agenda 2030.
Structure and contents
Agenda 21 is a 350-page document divided into 40 chapters that have been grouped into 4 sections:
Section I: Social and Economic Dimensions is directed toward combating poverty, especially in developing countries, changing consumption patterns, promoting health, achieving a more sustainable population, and sustainable settlement in decision making.
Section II: Conservation and Management of Resources for Development includes atmospheric protection, combating deforestation, protecting fragile environments, conservation of biological diversity (biodiversity), control of pollution and the management of biotechnology, and radioactive wastes.
Section III: Strengthening the Role of Major Groups includes the roles of children and youth, women, NGOs, local authorities, business and industry, and workers; and strengthening the role of indigenous peoples, their communities, and farmers.
Section IV: Means of Implementation includes science, technology transfer, education, international institutions, and financial mechanisms