Local Agenda 21 Environmental Partnership Fund
The LA21 Environment Partnership Fund which has operated since 1997, promotes sustainable development by assisting small-scale environmental projects at local level.
The projects involve partnership arrangements between local authorities and various local groups including community groups, schools and environmental NGOs.
The Fund encourages involvement of local communities in local action and decision-making and assists them in working towards the goal of sustainable development. The value of the scheme is enhanced by the voluntary effort that it facilitates.
The LA21EPF assists sustainable development from the ground-up and facilitates, at local level, the achievement of the objectives of the Agenda 21 action plan on sustainable development which was agreed at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, in 1992 (the "Earth Summit"). Renewed political commitment for sustainable development was secured at the Rio +20 Conference in Brazil in June 2012, on the 20th anniversary of the "Earth Summit'.
The LA21 EPF is administered by local authorities, while the Department maintains a co-ordinating role. Eligible projects are those which support and complement, at a local level, national environmental policies such as those on Waste, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Air, Water and Sustainable Development. Local authorities are required to provide an equivalent amount of funding to successful projects as the funding provided by the Department. Funding can also be supplemented by other sources, e.g. the private sector, in order to maximise the potential for partnership arrangements.