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The Rio + 10 interviews

Kaarin Taipale
ICLEI and Local Agenda 21


Why is it so important to make our cities sustainable?

Half the population lives in cities, and most of the consumption of resources and production of wastes takes place in cities. Do you think it is really possible for mega-cities like New York, Cairo, Mexico City, or Sao Paolo to become ecologically sustainable?

Tell us about ICLEI.

In the implementation of Local Agenda 21, how important is it for the community stakeholders to define a shared common vision of the future of their city? Have there been any success stories where a top-down plan was made by the mayor or local authority?

ICLEI's Local Agenda 21 Planning Guide, published in 1996, recommends a set of Local Agenda 21 Campaign Milestones, starting with the formation of a multi-sector stakeholder group, performing a sustainability audit of the city, forging a shared community vision of the future, implementing the vision, followed up by community-based monitoring and evaluation. Do you still recommend this approach?

How important is it to identify a set of indicators that all the stakeholder groups will agree as being valid, in order to perform a sustainability audit of the city at the start of the process? In other words, after you form the stakeholder groups, then...

Can you give me some examples of cities where this process was most successfully done, where a shared community vision was actually created and then put into action?

What about the capital cities in Europe? Are any of them following ICLEI's advice and doing a real multi-stakeholder consultation process?

What are the main obstacles in doing Local Agenda 21, the main things that hold it back?

How do you feel, personally, about the state of the world since Rio?

What is the Action Project that you launched here at Johannesburg?