LEAP is an effective method of environmental management and decision-making, designed for improvement of local social and environmental conditions. Representatives of the local state authorities, businesses, NGOs and scientists get and work together for 12-24 months to come up with a common strategy regarding the priorities of further development of the local community. This process transforms into Action Plans, which serve as a unique guidance on handling socio-economic problems of local communities.
LEAP includes shaping of a local community’s vision of its future, environmental assessment, setting of environmental priorities, selection of efficient ways of handling of urgent matters, taking measures to achieve real improvement of the state of environment and health of people. LEAP is based on the idea of active public participation in the decision-making by the local authorities.
New approach to the way of handling of environmental issues reflects understanding of the fact that local authorities and communities are best of all aware of the local problems, challenges and needs. Decentralization of the decision-making process enables to adjust environmental actions to the real needs of a particular community or region.
The purpose of LEAP is to support and develop the mutually agreed process powered by the local authorities, representatives of industry, and citizens. The ultimate result of this process would be preparation of the Local Environmental Action Plan developed with the participation of all stakeholders.
Preparation of LEAP requires the use of various tools for analysis, assessment, strategic planning and institutional development of the local communities, including evaluation of the community needs, public consultations, environmental risk assessment, financial analysis and many other things.
LEAP implementation is a continuous process, which involves monitoring and assessment of the programme and project efficiency. All stakeholders can get involved in its implementation, but the leading role would normally belong to a local administration. Some actions can be performed by joining forces of a community. The local enterprises can make a significant contribution to the LEAP implementation process. One of examples of the LEAP promotion is contribution of money and resources to implementation of a municipal environmental programme.
Local Agenda 21
Essentially, the Local Agenda 21 is a long-term development plan for a certain community or territorial entity. This sustainable development plan is put together with the help of the general public based on the national policy for sustainable development and local particularities. Today representatives of the local authorities have to initiate wide public discussions on development of the Local Agendas for the 21st century. For this purpose, all municipal, district or rural administrations must ensure incorporation of the sustainable development principles into their operations. In order to achieve this goal, local authorities and citizens should develop a mechanism through which they would be able to carry out joint activities designed for establishment of the sustainable community, as well as for development of a particular city, district or village.
Achievement of the local sustainable development implies application of strategic planning methods as a real tool for the community management improvement. It enables a local community to identify its long-term development goals and to involve broad layers of the population in the governance process. Besides, the Local Agenda 21 strategy encourages efficient use of municipal and rural resources, and helps to ensure expedient and effective response to the constantly changing modern life conditions. When developing strategies, it is recommended to follow the principles of public partnership and cooperation between local self-government bodies and citizens, non-governmental organizations, business community and scientists.