The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development expresses and reaffirms in multiple instances the commitment of Member States to achieve sustainable development for all, taking into account different levels of national development and capacities, different national realities and levels of development as well as respecting national policy space for sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, especially for developing states.
Paragraph 21 of the 2030 Agenda acknowledges “the importance of the regional and sub-regional dimensions, regional economic integration and interconnectivity in sustainable development. Regional and sub-regional frameworks can facilitate the effective translation of sustainable development policies into concrete action at national level”
In addition, paragraph 45 focuses on national parliaments “through their enactment of legislation and adoption of budgets and their role in ensuring accountability for the effective implementation”
The need to take into consideration national realities, national levels of development as well as national priorities and development strategies, is repeatedly mentioned throughout the Future We Want, outcome document of the Rio+20 Conference.
The Future Want identifies that, as a requirement for sustainable development, “the meaningful involvement and active participation of regional, national and subnational legislatures and judiciaries, and all major groups: women, children and youth, indigenous peoples, non-governmental organizations, local authorities, workers and trade unions, business and industry, the scientific and technological community, and farmers, as well as other stakeholders”
. Member States agree to work more closely with the major groups and other stakeholders and encourage their active participation, as appropriate, in processes that contribute to decision-making, planning and implementation of policies and programmes for sustainable development at all levels.
In addition, the active engagement of both the public and private sector are recognized as an essential contributor to the achievement of sustainable development, including through the important tool of public-private partnerships. Member States also expressed their support to national regulatory and policy frameworks that enable business and industry to advance sustainable development initiatives, taking into account the importance of corporate social responsibility.
In 2002, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) though paragraph 162 b urged member States to take immediate steps towards making progress in formulating and elaborating national strategies for sustainable development, and to begin their implementation by 2005.
The integration of principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes corresponds to Millennium Development Goal Target 7 A of the United Nations Millennium Declaration.
The 1997 Special Session of the General Assembly also noted the importance of NSDS and set a target of 2002 for their formulation and elaboration.
Chapter 8 of Agenda 21 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.