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Book orders: Pedidos a Ediciones Paraninfo S.A
Avenida Filipinas, 50
28003 Madrid
Tno. 91 4456218/ 91 3308915


DEYNA made a Guide or field note-book to produce the Agendas in 1995 and published it in 1997. This guide has been given out to the 183 municipalities of Soria and has been extensively divulged outside this region. It was presented by the EEB of Brussel at the ICLEI Conference of Stockholm (1997) and is today in the hands of UNESCO, the Worldwatch Institute of Washington, PNUMA, the Spanish Universities and Ministries.

In april 2004, DEYNA publishes the book "The Local Agenda 21". You'll find more information about the book at the end of this page.

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The Deyna Model of the Local Agenda 21 is the starting point and guiding line of the project. Our Agenda model has been carried out under the guidance of the local authorities and with the participation of the social groups that constitute the municipalities, that is, "from below to above", in a participative democracy, with the aim of achieving each municipality's desired goals. The model is simple, short, comparable and easy to divulge.

Once the Agendas have been carried out, the municipalities have a program of sustainable socio-economic action at their disposal.

DEYNA is focussing on the realization of the "Local Agendas 21" in the region of Soria, which has turned the province of Soria into the territory where most municipalities have implemented the "Local Agendas 21".

As for its extrapolation, it is already turning into a fact.

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Gloss on the "Deyna Model of the Local Agenda 21"

The "DEYNA Model of the Local Agenda 21" answers the requirements of the "Program 21" of the UNO, and has been endowed with a procedure that did not appear in said programm. Therefore, it is nowadays a basic and vertebral instrument for stimulating the Sustainable Development, as the "Local Agendas 21" are the starting point and guiding line to achieve it. The "Program 21", because of its complexity and lack of an adequate vehicle ("Deyna Model of the Local Agenda 21"), has only penetrated the administrative technical levels (from above to below) and has not reached, up to now, its true addressees, the individual and the small local associations, which is the only arousing and efective action towards Sustainable Development, and the change of consumer habits and attitudes at all levels.

The "Deyna Model of the Local Agenda 21" can be easily processed to reach local, regional and provincial conclusions, in a word, by means of the "Deyna model", it becomes possible for the "Program 21" to get based on a new awareness ("from below to above") that tends in the same direction as the administrative actions ("from above to below"), avoiding imposed or supposed wills and opening the possibility for the "Program 21" - which it has not had until now - of being assimilated by all social levels, the only way of achieving a sustainable socio-economic development.

A new institution has been created, called the "Local Agenda 21 Committee"

If we begin to deal with the serious problems of humankind from the awareness of equity, of knowledge and from a change of habits in the use of resources, it means leading the steps of this planet's societies in the right direction and setting the fundaments for finding a definitive solution to the greatest problem of humankind, which is poverty.

Following the elaboration of the Agendas, the created "Commissions for the Local Agenda 21" and the town councils will have the possibility of getting support and advice from the Foundation for Development and Nature (DEYNA), to sustainably realize the mentioned objectives and others derived from these same objectives, so that the whole province can coherently and harmoniously progress towards the common goal of Sustainable Development.

The book "The Local Agenda 21"

La Agenda 21 Local (portada)
La Agenda 21 Local (contraportada)
Frontpage and backpage of the book.
Author: Pelayo del Riego Artigas
Incluing preface by Antonio Lamela

The book "The Local Agenda 21" was published by DEYNA on april 2004, and can be acquired from:

C/Castelló, 37 - 28001 Madrid (Spain)
Teléf: +34 91 4363700
Fax:   +34 91 5753998

Reflections on Local Agenda 21

Right away we offer some thoughts on:

  • The Local Agenda 21 instituted by Program 21 (and developed by consensus at the Rio 92 conference by 179 countries, including Spain)
  • How it is being implemented as Local Agenda 21
  • The DEYNA model of Local Agenda 21

    1. Local Agenda 21 has become identified with the execution of a costly environmental audit (and diagnosis) as a substantial preliminary, indispensable, and inherent condition. The authors of Program 21, who know what environmental audits are and have not overlooked them, prescribe them in Chapter 30 for industrial companies. This is the only instance in which audits are referred to in the 700 pages of Program 21. Audits are not even mentioned in Chapter 28, where Local Agenda 21 is instituted.

    2. According to Chapter 28 of Program 21, by 1996, only four years later, most of the local Agendas 21 should have been implemented (in more than 500,000 municipalities of the planet). Would this time limit have been established if the authors of Program 21 had been thinking of environmental audits or diagnoses? The outcome of this very expensive approach is that after 11 years fewer than 7000 Local Agendas 21 have been developed in the world, 65% of them in Europe. Is this logical? Are Local Agendas 21 intended only for rich municipalities while the poor remain on the sidelines? At the current rate of 700 a year, it will take 1500 years (15 centuries) to develop the one million local Agendas 21 that are still pending.

    3. Chapter 28 of Program 21 prescribes only direct, real, and effective participation by citizens (and insists repeatedly on the participation of women, young people, indigenous populations, and even children).  And it adds … "by holding consultations and promoting consensus, local authorities receive the input of citizens." Is this feasible by means of surveys, polls, or brief forums that usually are a simulacrum of participation, or more likely to occur with real, direct, and effective participation as proposed in Program 21 and the DEYNA model?

    4. The most suitable vehicle and, in fact, the only vehicle designed to secure the indispensable involvement of the community in sustainable development is Local Agenda 21. If the citizens of each town do not really practice this, it will not serve any purpose at all if sustainable development is promoted with slogans. This is the specific and special "trickle-up" action prescribed by Program 21. The other actions prescribed by Program 21, agendas and strategies, are almost all, if not all, "trickle-down" proposals (from states, governments, administrations, technicians, and scientists).

    5. Program 21 is a program for "change" and change is difficult, it awakens resistance and it requires sacrifice and breaking habits that are well rooted and have a long tradition. Such a change is only possible if the six billion inhabitants of the Planet, or as many of them as possible, develop a strong and serious awareness of the need for change. This awareness can only arise from real and effective citizen participation, as understood by Program 21 and repeated again and again. Marketing methods are unsuitable since they are usually designed to stimulate an increase or improvement, not a decrease, or, much less, difficult and radical changes.

    6. Local Agenda 21 has been confused with environmental quality standards (ISO, EMAS) for no justifiable reason. Environmental quality standards have their own field of action and scope of application, to which we have no objection, as is logical. Local Agenda 21 is socioeconomic plan that is sustainable and linked to the intergenerational solidarity agreed upon by citizens and local authorities for the good of each town, it's that simple. It is not something that is strictly confined to the "environment" or "urban environmental quality" and does not require the necessary intervention of technical specialists, as is usually understood. Some Local Agendas 21 that are cited as examples are urban plans and controlled demolitions designed to improve the quality of tourism, which has little to do with their nominal designation. While undoubtedly legitimate and positive actions, there is no reason to call them Local Agendas 21, which confuses the target audiences of Agendas 21.
7. The Aalborg Charter (Denmark) was signed on 17 May 1994 in the Danish city of Aalborg by local European leaders attending the European Conference of Sustainable Cities and Towns. This conference was sponsored by the "International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives" (ICLEI), an organization that appeared in 1990 at the World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future, which has propitiated the development of the European concept of local Agendas 21 of audits and diagnoses.

However, the fact that local authorities take refuge behind the concept of the European city where the document was signed does not achieve any convincing appearance of substantial citizen participation, as prescribed by Chapter 28 of Program 21, which is the document that instituted the local Agenda 21. The concept of town counts for nothing, while that of the city carried some weight (in itself untenable by definition), and the consensus cited is none other than that which is reached or can be reached by political groups. In the original document in English, Program 21 isn't cited, although Agenda 21 is. This undoubtedly loosens the link because Program 21 is still published by the UN under the name of Program 21, although it is known colloquially as Global Agenda 21 or just Agenda 21. The universality of the actions does not seem to be a concern. The self-complacency of Europeans with their indicators (Europe occupies only 6.6% of the surface of the planet and has 12% of the world population) does not contribute to any significant solution, given the atmospheric, marine, and other "rebound" effects. The indicators published by the UNEP (GEO = "Global Environmental Outlooks") are planetary and are recorded in more than one hundred observatories. In our opinion, the behavior of 88% of the worldwide population occupying 93.4% of the land surface is more relevant for the well-being of the Planet. Europe should offer solutions and good, universally applicable examples, no matter how "simple" these may seem, instead of celebrating their own excellence and exclusivity.

Local leaders, a common concept in development, turn it into a corporative document and clearly have a prominent role in the other modalities of Agendas 21 (national, autonomic, administrative, provincial, etc), as well as in the noble effort to develop plans for excellence, environmental management, audit-proof quality, diagnoses, etc. However, the role of local leaders in Local Agenda 21 is to summon the citizens of towns to engage in a dialogue and agree upon a local action plan, as prescribed by Program 21. Local Agenda 21 is special, inescapable, and must be implanted, as few other programs must be, in more than 1,000,000 municipalities or similar territories throughout the Planet. These programs must be truly popular, as was so presciently foreseen by Program 21, because this is the only population segment (no less than the vast majority of the 6,000,000,000 inhabitants of the world) that has not yet become integrated and directly implicated in sustainable development. If this population segment does not consciously become involved in the task, there will never be sustainable development.

The result is that participation is relegated to a testimonial forum as a way of completing a necessary transaction, culminating finally in surveys and opinion polls. The Letter to the Earth, a truly participatory document, is a decalogue of sustainable development of universal validity that deserves to be more widely known and practiced. Read it and its prescriptions and compare them with those of other documents. The DEYNA model of Agenda 21 adheres closely to this Letter to the Earth and more than 200 Spanish city councils have endorsed it because of the divulgation it received in 2002 by DEYNA, in collaboration with the Biodiversity Foundation, which submitted it to 8104 city councils in Spain. The Declaration of Cork of the EU in 1996 also proclaimed the importance of participation for Sustainable Development.

    8. The cost of implementing a Local Agenda 21 cannot be a hindrance. Of out of 1,000,000 of municipalities of the world, the overwhelming great majority do not have resources but they do have citizens, natives, women, and young people. All of them are capable of dialoguing and politicians can make the effort to reflect on their input and decide what should be done, set goals, and to build awareness. To do so they require only elemental information and motivation to initiate the process, which is simple and brief.

    9. The Local Agenda 21 of each municipality can feasibly reach the awareness-raising goal of making its objectives known, in writing or verbally, to each citizen. Is this possible with the compendia of data generated by the usual Local Agenda 21, which few people read? These data are already known and found in government archives and usually contribute to a stew of cryptic methodologies, complex Anglicisms and graphs, DAFO analyses, ratios, equations, and other products typical of business and postgraduate schools, as well as indicators (the life's blood of statisticians and administrative organizations, which are highly specialized and organized no lower than at the provincial level). This tends to cloak actions (possibly in relation to Program 5 of the EU and the resources of LEADER and PRODER programs) that are condemned to vegetate in city councils. A brief consensus document briefly stating the goals of the municipality in the coming years and signed by participants, who are known to the inhabitants of each municipality, produces awareness, willingness, and a critical mass that can mobilize the community towards Sustainable Development in every town in the world in short time, which is the only time we have.

    10. Local Agenda 21 is not something that is done so that politicians can conclude that "we have met this obligation or requirement so that we can be considered very modern and knowledgeable..." or a commercial product that is offered to local authorities who are uninformed about the subject: "Let us prepare your Agenda 21." The inhabitants of the town and their authorities must do this together; it should be something alive and in continuous evolution and renovation in the future and it should generate a new attitude among citizens and authorities.

    11. A simple, brief, universal, and concise model makes it possible not only to raise awareness and promote collective responsibility, which is the primordial objective of Program 21, but also to obtain information and codifiable and processable data of interest to public authorities.

    12. Therefore, actions in the field of sustainable development between administrations and those administered by them (national, autonomic, and provincial agendas or strategies, and the very specific local Agendas 21) should be convergent, harmonious, easy, and transparent in order to close the circle between idea and action. The necessary participation can be secured if a serious proposal is made, not a pretence. Opinion surveys, which bind no one and are completed anonymously, are not very effective for the matter at hand.

    13. Participation and consensus legitimize actions that are beneficial to the community but, because of their difficult or impossible political capitalization, cannot conceivably be implemented any other way.

    14. Program 21, originally 700 pages long, is widely unknown and is now an expensive book that is difficult to obtain, although, as the treaty for Sustainable Development, it is hard to find anything similar or better. It should be made available to all provincial and local authorities, and to all acting groups (companies, unions, NGOs, associations, and others) so that they can take note of its prescriptions, which should be taught in training centers, and its contents, which should be discussed and analyzed by citizens. There has been no interest in its divulgation. We do not know why.

    15. The DEYNA model of Local Agenda 21®, developed in 1995, is an original Spanish model that can be applied universally. It is the product of years of study, background work, and creative effort by its authors, members of the Spanish Chapter of the Club of Rome. It was awarded a gold medal in the Program of International Projects at the Hannover EXPO 2000 and has received the praise, ratification, and recognition of the author of the Agenda 21 concept, the leading world authority in the material and father and Secretary General of the Earth Summit, Dr. Maurice Strong. This is an excellent program that is easy to implant and has been used by 113 municipalities of Spain, in towns of the provinces of Leon and Cáceres. It merits consideration, and its practice and divulgation should be promoted, since it offers a concept and rigorous methodology that are absolutely faithful to Chapter 28 of Program 21, applicable to towns and any other entity or collective group in which people must acquire information and weigh its implantation in any territory of the planet.



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