Dorset Agenda 21 (da21)
Dorset Agenda 21 is a county wide charity whose mission is to 'encourage climate-friendly and sustainable communities in Dorset'.
The Dorset Agenda 21 Forum was originally founded in 1995, in response to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, to bring together community groups, organisations and individuals to support the Local Agenda 21 process in Dorset.
Further to a major and successful awareness raising and consultative process the Forum published Dorset's Local Agenda 21 strategy - 'Dorset in the 21st century: an agenda for action'. The organisation has continued to be involved in partnerships, notably the Dorset Energy Partnership, Environmental Theme Group, and the 3rd Sector Infrastructure Group (3SIG).
In 2002 the Dorset Agenda 21 Forum become Dorset Agenda 21 (opens in a new window) a registered charity and independent not for profit company. The organisation has now become known as da21.
The charity has developed and undertaken a number of projects both to support its mission including notably;
- Healthy Futures – an environmental and educational awareness project for primary schools which engaged 1000 pupils involving schools in North and West Dorset District Councils, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council and NHS Trust.
- Community Choices for Sustainable Living (CCSL) a DEFRA funded three year project to encourage low carbon, sustainable communities in Dorset (2004 – 2007). Partners included the ECOS Trust and Devon Sustainable Buildings Trust. A network of local action groups resulted from DA21's work with CCSL
- Dorset Climate Change Coalition (2006 – present).
This is a partnership of public and community sector organisations, who are working to mitigate climate change. da21 were a founding member of the coalition and continue to be the secretariat.
In April 2009 da21 was awarded funding along with Dorset Community Action, Dorset Youth Association, and Dorset Volunteer Bureau from the Big Lottery Fund to support its role as community sustainability hub for the 3rd Sector in the County.
The Agenda 21 process was unprecedented at the time but has now largely been superseded as the issues of Climate Change and Peak Oil have become key focal points for new grassroots activity such as Transition towns (opens in a new window) . However, the principles laid down within the original document still hold true today, that we cannot achieve a truly sustainable and socially just society without all sections of society working together to address economic, environmental and social issues as one.