Agenda 21 (LA21) is not a new program designed by the Local Authority (PBT) to
establish the development under its administrative area. It has been introduced
since the Conference of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil which was
held from 3rd to 14th June 1992. Agenda 21 is a friendly global development
program while “21” represent for the 21st century. It has been
introduced in Malaysia since 1999 and nowadays, for local authorities in
Malaysia are still in the process of implementation. But even though it is
already 15 years since the introduction process, Malaysia is still lagging
behind in its implementation.
Agenda 21 program was signed by over 178 government representatives including
Malaysia. Agenda 21 contains 40 chapters which are all in relation to
development and Chapter 28 in Agenda 21 entitled “Local Authorities’
Effort in Supporting Agenda 21” stipulates that PBTs carry out community
consultation processes to form “Local Agenda 21” respectively. Hence,
LA21 is an Agenda 21 at the local level that focuses on Local Authorities for a
the conference, 5 important documents were produced such as the Environment and
Development (Rio Declaration on Environment and Development), Biodiversity
Consensus (Convention on Biology Diversity), Framework Convention on Climate
Change, Forest Principle and LA21.
LA21 is a program involving local
communities, private sector and local authorities (District Council, Municipal
Council, City Council and City Hall). They all work together to plan and manage
their neighbourhoods towards sustainable development.
Through Utusan Malaysia newspaper
dated 18th October 2000, entitled PBT to be called to the Sustainable
Development Unit Body, all PBTs are urged to set up LA21 units or Mapan
Development Unit respectively each later in 2002 and according to the Minister
of Housing and Local Government, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, the establishment it
needs to be implemented from now on as the four PBTs that are pioneering the
project will expire two years from now, in 2002 and it is also in line with the
government’s commitment and commitment to formulate the LA21 program at the
government level in 2002. According to Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, LA21 is a local
agenda designed specifically to enable local authorities, communities and the
private sector to work together in every development project. With the LA21
project, all parties are given the opportunity to voice their opinions in any
development planning and among the issues that can be addressed jointly by the
community, the private and the local authorities are pollution problems,
resource waste, recycling, cleanliness and social issues.
It is therefore clear that the role of all parties is crucial in the success of the LA21 project towards sustainable development. This is because with the project the issues can be solved jointly between the community, the private sector and the government. In addition, with the encouraging cooperation between all parties able to produce something new to the stable development in the future. They also can contribute their ideas on how to find the best solution for every problem appeared. This wills indirectly make them be more potential in shaping the development actions plan toward achieving the aim for LA21 which is to create sustainable development. According to Elias (2000) the awareness among the participations in LA21 was very low not only among the general public, but also among officials in government. There are certain countries in the transition (former Soviet Union countries and the Balkan countries), the government officer at the national and local level did take little consideration of Agenda 21 and the principles of sustainable development in approving their physical development. At the same time, a lack of information and knowledge is visible at the next stage especially at the sub-regional and local government level. Problem faced by an NGO (center for Environment and Sustainable Development) from Russia shows that awareness by both the public and government official of sustainable development is extremely low. Responsible authority and officers at national and state level who prepare the LA21 often have no clear picture on how to invite major groups to make representation. Furthermore, bureaucratic tendencies, lack of knowledge, training and responsibilities and the task of undertaking public participation can be a complicated and expensive exercise for authorities. These clearly hampered the implementation of LA21 Action plans at these countries.