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Publisher: Journals Gateway
Global Environmental Politics (2005) 5 (2): 61–87.
Published: 01 May 2005
AbstractView article PDF
Sustainable Development Councils were among the few specific recommendations for institution building to come out of Rio in 1992. At their best the councils manifest Agenda 21's call for new participatory arrangements. At their worst they represent the frustrations and unmet challenges of the thirteen years since Rio. The article compares attempts to establish councils in three Caribbean states: Grenada, Dominica, and St. Lucia. The cases offer lessons in the survivability of deliberative bodies concerned with sustainable development policy and raise questions about their efficacy. We conclude that such bodies survive when members derive significant if intangible benefits; and that by surviving, they help optimize limited human resources for the implementation of international environmental conventions and provide needed venues for deliberation and accountability. But the relationship between efficacy and survivability is not linear and councils may have to avoid direct challenges to government decision-makers and established relationships between the state and private sector.