Urban Environmental Management
Cities, EMS and Everything
Putting up a Green Front
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The Environmental Challenge for Local Governments   

Local governments face a number of environmental challenges - as a result of local activities and lifestyles, but also global environmental trends. These challenges directly affect the action that they can take to remedy the situation. Such challenges are particularly pertinant in moving from an end-of pipe apporach to a more life-cycle oriented approach to managing the local environment.

So what are these challenges?

Use global trends to develop local environment There is a clear need to link global environmental problems to action at the local level. Most global problems are in fact a result of smaller, more local actions (for example, increased use of cars at the local level leading to global warming). Thus, local environmental action needs to be developed keeping these global trends in mind.
Partnerships need to be developed among all local actors Quite clearly, it is not the local government alone that can solve the problems at the local level. All local actors - businesses, NGO/NPOs, citizens groups, schools and universities and others - need to be involved in partnership so that the strengths and capacities of one actor can overcome the shortcoming or deficiencies of another actor, thus leading to better concerted action for the local environment.
There is a need for proactive knowledge transfer of local environmental activities to developing countries Many developing countries are now facing very similar problems that developed countries had faced during their industrialization phases. There is a clear need to help developing countries in order to 'leapfrog' these environmental problems by providing them with solutions before the problems actually occur. This proactive knowledge transfer is much more important than simply financial ODA.
Indept and intensive scientific research and policy development There is a critical need for indept and intensive scientific and technological research in order to understand the causes and effects of our everyday life, and guide policy development for a sustainable society.

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Contact: Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org