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Need for a minister for sustainable development

10 January 2011

Government advisor welcomes Environmental Audit Commission’s call for stronger political leadership on sustainable development issues 

Westminster's Environmental Audit Committee's report on embedding sustainable development across Government published today (Monday 10th January) focuses on the need for greater political leadership from the top, and recommends a new Minister for Sustainable Development placed in the Cabinet Office.

The Sustainable Development Commission welcomes this clarion call to Government to show some clear leadership on the sustainable development agenda.

SDC Chief Executive Andrew Lee said:

"The previous Government's arrangements for sustainable development were widely admired around the world as an example of best practice.

As we start the lead-up to the third Earth Summit, the UK Government must demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that any new arrangements put in place are significantly better than the ones it is so rapidly dismantling. Sustainable development, like climate change within it, must sit above party politics and departmental fiefdoms.

The EAC report hits the nail on the head by proposing that responsibility for this crucial long-term agenda should sit with a senior Minister at the heart of government, in the Cabinet Office. To be effective it will be crucial that this Minister has clout and has the heavyweight backing of No10 and the Treasury.

We have written to a number of key Ministers setting out the critical tests we think should be applied to any new proposals. We hope the Government will take up the EAC's recommendations and will be looking very carefully at forthcoming announcements by Ministers."

» Read the SDC's submission to the EAC inquiry

» Read the EAC's full report

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