The LA21 project started with the introduction of a pilot phase in 9 locations (Baia Mare, Oradea, Iasi, Targu Mures, Galati, Ploiesti, Giurgiu, Ramnicu Valcea, and Miercurea Ciuc), which completed their respective Local Plans for Sustainable Development.

One of the main goals achieved in the pilot phase was the establishment of a methodology, according to which the Local Agendas were drafted in all of the participating cities. By gaining this important know-how, the effectiveness of the LA21 process was enhanced, contributing to the strengthening of the local authorities’ capacity to adopt the principles of sustainable development in their local strategies. The project covered the following stages:
- Creating the local LA 21 structure: Local Steering Committee, Local LA 21 Office, and Working Groups;
-  Elaboration of a Local Sustainable Development Strategy and a Local Action Plan, followed by a wide consultation process in order to secure additional inputs before finalizing the documents;
-  Identification and development of the priority projects;
- Support for the implementation of selected priority projects, with due consideration of the need to ensuring synergies with other UNDP projects in the same locations.

The drafts of the Local Plans incorporated the critical remarks, comments, and new ideas collected through the public consultation process. Each set of documents had three major components: Local Strategy, Local Action Plan, and Priority Projects.

The public consultation process used appropriate methodologies in the pilot cities and provided significant and relevant comments and suggestions from the public. During that process, round tables and interactive discussions were organized, which were covered by the local media (TV, radio and newspapers).

As a result of this intensive consultation process, by the end of February 2003, all 9 pilot cities finalized their Local Plans for Sustainable Development. Each pilot city printed the Local Sustainable Development Strategy as follows: 400 copies in Romanian and 200 copies in English. The Local Plan for Sustainable Development was officially adopted by the local Council in each of the pilot cities.