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Desertification Indicator System for Mediterranean Europe

1. Definition



Brief definition

Percentage of municipalities which have adopted and implemented Local Agenda 21

Unit of measure


2. Position within the logical framework DPSIR

Type of Indicator


3. Target and political pertinence


This ratio provides an indication of the community efforts to improve sustainable policies and measures with a participatory approach.

Importance with respect to desertification

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification promotes an innovative approach, enhancing full participation and involvement of affected populations and local communities, i.e. civil societies and non-governmental organisations, in the implementation process of the UNCCD. It is based on the principle that policies and projects should involve the groups affected by them from the beginning to the end. Not only is this a fundamental principle of democratic government at every level, it is the chief guarantee of success. Local Agenda 21 (LA21) is a policy initiative aimed at encouraging local authorities to promote more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable communities. Communities implementing LA21 improve institutional capacity and capability, both public and private, in order to evaluate and address the crucial questions related to policy choices and modes of implementation among development options, based on an understanding of environmental potentials and limits and of needs as perceived by the people of the country concerned.

International Conventions and agreements

One of the key commitments in the UNCCD is the use of a bottom-up and participatory approach focusing on actions at the local level with supportive measures at other levels and streamlining the use of human, financial and technical resources to combat desertification. This issue is included in Agenda 21, Chapter 23, which calls for broad public participation in decision making as a fundamental prerequisite for the achievement of sustainable development. (Charter of European Cities and Towns Towards Sustainability, The Aalborg Charter, approved by the participants at the European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns in Aalborg, Denmark on 27 May 1994.)

Secondary objectives of the indicator

Evaluation of investments to improve sustainable development.

4. Methodological description and basic definitions

Definitions and basic concepts

Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment. Action plans at the local level comprise Local Agenda 21

Benchmarks Indication of the values/ranges of value


Methods of measurement

The indicator is calculated by dividing the number of municipalities that have adopted and implemented Local Agenda 21 by the total number of municipalities of the area and expressed as a percentage.

Limits of the indicator

The indicator does not show the effective effort of the community in quantitative and qualitative ways, in their implementation of Local Agenda 21.

Linkages with other indicators


5. Evaluation of data needs and availability

Data required to calculate the indicator

Number of municipalities that have adopted and implemented Local Agenda 21. Number of municipalities included in the area.

Data sources

National data are available from national statistical offices and country publications. http://www.sustainable-cities.org/sub1.html shows a list of all European local and regional authorities that have joined the Campaign by signing up to the Aalborg Charter.

Availability of data from national and international sources


6. Institutions that have participated in developing the indicator

Main institutions responsible

University of Basilicata, Italy

Other contributing organizations

Universities of Lisbon, Murcia, Athens

7. Additional information


Action Towards Local Sustainability (European Project for local government et al): http://www.sustainability.org/

Other references


Contacts Name and address

University of Basilicata
Prof Giovanni Quaranta
email: quaranta@unibas.it