Source: IFDD, LEF 2016

By Dr Christophe GBOSSOU (EXPADD)

Since its emergence in 1987 (Brundtland Report), the concept of sustainable development has become one of the major paradigms of our century. The idea of taking into account our current needs while integrating those of future generations now structures most political strategies and discourse.

Agenda 21, a relevant tool for implementing this concept in local authorities, initiated in 1992 during the first Earth Summit in RIO, remains, according to observations, still little used in Africa. Indeed, according to the International Council for Local Ecological Initiatives (ICLEI, 2011), there is a low rate of achievement of local Agenda 21s in the African space: this means that few local authorities have embarked on Agenda 21 local.

The level of achievement of local agendas 21 remains low for Africa and South America, which have hardly advanced since 2002 if we refer to the 2002 ICLEI census indicating that out of a total of 6,500 local Agenda 21s, we can count only 2% for Africa, Latin America and North America [réunis] (ANTOINE Gallais et al., 2012).
In Côte d’Ivoire, the process of developing an Agenda 21 began with the establishment of the PNAE-CI (National Action Plan for the Environment in Côte d’Ivoire). This plan, adopted in 1995 for the following 15 years (1996 – 2010), by the Council of Ministers, aimed to provide the government with an effective instrument for the management of natural resources and the preservation of the environment.

In 2011, Côte d’Ivoire also validated its National Sustainable Development Strategy (SNDD). Unfortunately Agenda 21 is not yet effective at the national level and even less at the level of the municipalities.

Today therefore, while Côte d’Ivoire and many African countries are still facing major economic, environmental and social challenges (such as the management of household waste, the low level of exploitation of renewable energies (apart from hydropower), youth unemployment, difficulties in accessing healthcare, etc., and following the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations in September 2015, an activation of this tool is an excellent initiative.