NOTE TO THE READER


PURPOSE

The purpose of the Directory is to facilitate communication and exchange between national sustainable development bodies. It is not intended to highlight or evaluate the success of these bodies. We hope it will also prove useful to the NGO community, the private sector, and United Nations agencies as they monitor the progress of national sustainable development strategies around the world.

The Directory seeks to identify institutional mechanisms created at the national level for the implementation of Agenda 21 and other sustainable development programmes. These mechanisms take different forms. Some are multi-stakeholder bodies including representatives from government agencies, non-governmental organizations, academic and research institutions, the productive sector and others. In some countries, they are primarily governmental initiatives, which may include partial participation of NGOs and other civil society groups. In several instances, a network of non-governmental organizations has been established for the purpose of advising the government on the development of national sustainable development strategies. The largest category in this Directory is made up of countries which have so far established a contact office for environmental or Rio follow-up initiatives. There is still a number of countries on which information is pending or unavailable.

METHODOLOGY

The first edition of the Directory was the product of an extensive effort by the Earth Council, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Resources Institute, involving hundreds of telephone calls, faxes, and letters. Through repeated contacts with United Nations country missions, United Nations Development Programme regional offices, embassy attachés, members and advisers of the Earth Council, non-governmental organizations and national government officials, information was obtained on sustainable development bodies in 130 countries and three regions (Central America, the European Union and the Pacific Island Countries). These bodies were each requested to complete a questionnaire. The information contained in the first edition was taken directly from the responses we received.

Three sources of information allowed the Earth Council to produce this second edition of the Directory. First, we received letters throughout the year from many of the contacts, notifying us of changes in address, mission or composition. Letters and faxes were sent to all of these contacts in January 1995, requesting them to verify or update the information we had. A second source of information was the Inter-American Meeting of National Councils for Sustainable Development sponsored by the Earth Council in Costa Rica in October 1994, and the Conference of Courchevel organized by the French Government in January 1995 with the European National Councils. A third source was the information kindly provided by the United Nations Department of Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development from the National Reports compiled for the April 1995 meeting of the U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development.

In the Composition section that appears in individual country entries, we have classified the members of the National Councils into five broad groups: governmental, non-governmental, academic/research, business/productive and other. In the business/productive sector we included representatives of workers' unions and organizations as well as companies and enterprises. Some countries provided information already in this format; for those which did not, we used our own judgement. We hope we have accurately portrayed the composition of each organization, and welcome corrections if we have not.

NEXT STEPS

This Directory is by nature a work in progress. We welcome contributions from users to help us keep it accurate and up-to-date.


* Contributions and comments can be forwarded to the Programme on National Councils for Sustainable Development, attention: Diomar Silveira, Programme Officer, c/o Earth Council, Apartado 2323-1002, San José, Costa Rica (TEL: 506-256-1611; FAX 506-255-2197; E-mail: dsilveira@terra.ecouncil.ac.cr / terra.ecouncil@igc.apc.org.

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