In 1992, the Rio Summit created the Agenda 21 (action program for the 21st century). Chapter 28 concerned the implementation of sustainable development initiatives in regional and local authorities.
In France, Local Agenda 21 is a voluntary process, conditioned by the will of the mayor or the president and that’s can explain the delay for adoption of local Agenda 21. Two events reinforced the interest of elected people in the SD Process: the Johannesburg Summit in 2002 and the Grenelle process in 2007. But the national and regional levels have developed soft incentives in order to encourage the political will.
Since 2010, regional administrations of the Ministry of SD “DREAL” are in charge of providing technical (and a little bit of financial) support to Local Agenda 21 and animate regional networks of engaged local authorities, called “Comité regional Agenda 21”.
Some regions or departments have soon understood that they had to support the local authorities of their territories to make them contribute to the sustainable development of the region and to articulate their action. Their help is both individual (bring a financial and technical support through request for proposals) and collective (drive regional networks of engaged authorities). We can find examples in the region Centre, the Conseil general de la Gironde and the Conseil general de l’Hérault. In Gironde, 61 local authorities are engaged in an Agenda 21 and federated in the Conseil départemental des Agenda 21 (CDA21). The region Pays-de-la-Loire transferred this mission to the first regional Comité 21 (an association).
Some groupments of municipalities have followed this example, such as Plaine Commune: both the Communauté d’agglomération and the 8 municipalities of the territory drive their own A21 and aim at articulating their processes. Click here to see this example.
source : Comité 21