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Sustainable Development

International Development written question – answered on 16th May 2002.

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Photo of Dr Jenny Tonge Dr Jenny Tonge Liberal Democrat, Richmond Park

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made towards the implementation of national strategies for sustainable development for developing countries; and which countries have strategies in place.

Photo of Clare Short Clare Short Secretary of State, Department for International Development

DFID has been supporting the development of National Strategies for sustainable development (NSSDs) initially through working with colleagues at the OECD/DAC to produce policy guidance on this topic. This work has been taken up by the United Nations who have now developed their own policy guidance. This will be a priority issue at the World Summit on sustainable development later this year.

One conclusion of work so far is that developing strategies is more of a process than preparing a document that sits on a shelf. Moreover, the label does not matter. If a national strategy adheres to an agreed set of principles or characteristics of strategic processes for sustainability, then that strategy in effect becomes a NSSD. In this way, poverty reduction strategies that exhibit these characteristics (such as the integration of environmental, economic and social considerations) can be considered NSSDs.

As a consequence, it is not easy to quantify how many NSSDs are in place because they are identified by characteristics not labels.

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