Chapter 8 of Agenda 21 calls on countries to improve or restructure the decision-making process so that consideration of socio-economic and environmental issues is fully integrated and a broader range of public participation assured. It also calls on countries to adopt national strategies for sustainable development (NSDS) that "should build upon and harmonize the various sectoral economic, social and environmental policies and plans that are operating in the country."
Five years later, the 1997 Special Session of the General Assembly again noted the importance of NSDS and set a target of 2002 for their formulations and elaboration.
In 2002, the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) urged States not only to "take immediate steps to make progress in the formulation and elaboration of national strategies for sustainable development," but also to "begin their implementation by 2005."
In addition, integrating the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes is one of the targets contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration to reach the goal of environmental sustainability.
Governments have continued to reiterate their commitment to develop and implement NSDS at subsequent CSD sessions.