Planning for change: guidelines for national programmes on sustainable consumption and production

Planning for change: guidelines for national programmes on sustainable consumption and production

Practical steps for developing, implementing and monitoring national SCP programmes

Promoting sustainable consumption and production is key to environmental protection and improving human well-being through sustainable development.This document presents guidelines for governments and other stakeholders on how to plan, develop, implement and monitor a national sustainable consumption and production (SCP) programme.

The document suggests that there is no single method by which national SCP programmes can or should be instituted, but there is general agreement on the key principles that should be respected, such as obtaining high-level national commitment and leadership and integrating with existing national strategies.

The author outlines practical steps for the development, implementation and monitoring of national SCP programmes and considers the key building blocks involved in programme development such as the political, technical, participatory and resource mobilisation dimensions. It presents nine case studies which illustrate how governments are implementing SCP programmes all over the world. Some of the lessons learned are:

  • ensure the actions are related to the core function of specific entities, that a budget is available before the commitment is made, and that the action is related to a realistic outcome
  • education and public awareness campaigns were selected as key actions of the programme;
  • although some economic measures such as taxes, subsidies and pricing are more effective,these measures were not chosen as priorities probably because political acceptance is more difficult to achieve
  • integrating policies and initiatives is one of the main challenges to overcome - the actual implementation of the programme is far more challenging than the development of the framework, and limited financial and human resources as well as a lack of will to accept commitments are major problems
  • the development of a programme needs to incorporate evidence gathering needs to enable priorities and policy approaches to be developed
  • working effectively in partnership with the wide range of stakeholders and actors involved is necessary for policy to be developed and implemented
  • participants should be carefully selected to avoid those with vested interests who are not committed to the process
The document recognises that each country’s vision and objectives for its SCP programme will differ, and countries will select priorities based on local economic, social and environmental conditions.The choice of policy instruments employed depends largely on the stated objectives and key priorities. Some countries may use more voluntary and less regulatory instruments, such as ecolabels, eco-design and environmental management systems, while others may use normative instruments such as regulatory standards.