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Wales commits to UK-wide strategic Framework for sustainable development

7 March 2005

The Welsh Assembly's engagement in the UK-wide commitment to taking immediate action on sustainable development was welcomed today (March 7th) by the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC). The SDC also welcomed the commitment that the countries of the UK will act jointly on these issues when that would add value - for example in public awareness campaigns.

The UK's Shared Framework for sustainable development to 2020, 'One future - different paths' makes commitments for action on priority issues and sets out common measurements for reporting progress. Within this framework, each administration has, or will have, its own strategy, and the Welsh Assembly has already published its Action Plan.

Carwyn Jones, Minister for Environment, Planning and Countryside, is today (March 7th) launching the UK Framework on a joint platform with Jack McConnell, First Minister for Scotland, at the 'Sustainable Development: Promoting Bes Practice in Wales and Scotland' conference at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, hosted by the SDC in association with Cynnal Cymru - the Sustainable Development Forum for Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government, the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Sustainable Development Forum.

Carwyn Jones will also announce the development of A Framework for Sustainable Development in NHS Wales. He says: 'I welcome the UK Framework because it helps support the Assembly's long standing commitmento SD. It puts in place a cear srategic commitment to the immediate priorities that demand action from all administrations. Issues such as climae change, sustainableconsumpion and production, and protection of the planet's natural resources require action both within and between governments if we are to achieve our shared goal of living better with less impact on the environment that supports us. In Wales we are implementing our second SD ActionPlan, and the development of the NHS Wales Framework is an example of how we are working toembed SD across our responsibilites.'

SDC Chair, Jonathon Porritt comments: 'Like it or not, learning how to create wealth in ways thatdo not damage the environment is just about the biggest challenge any governmen has to grapple with today. The Welsh Assembly is starting to get on top of that challenge, and the new UK Strategic Framework strongly reinforces these positive steps.'

SDC Vice Chair for Wales, Rod Aspinwall says: 'The big challenge for the Welsh Assembly Government now is to translate its unique legal duty and clear commitment to SD into real and effective changes in policy and practice, and I welcome the development o the NHS Framework as part o that pocess 2005 wll aso see the Assemby gear up its reform of public services and set out its strategic approach to transport - both o which provide great opportunities for sustainable development which none of us can afford to miss. The SDC looks forward to working with the Assembly and Cynnal Cymru on all of these issues'.

'One future - differentpaths' recognises the role of the SDC in ensuring that governments in the UK individually and collectively achieve their independent sustainable development Strategies. The SDC's conference supports this remit by bringing together an audience of over 200 sustainable development practitioners and policy makers from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England in order to share best practice.

Best practice examples from Wales will include Welsh Health Estates work with the Carbon Trust Wales to enable the health service in Wales to achieve a 15% reduction in primary energy consumption by 2010. This pilot study showed how NHS Wales could reduce its carbon emissions by 28,000 tonnes and reduce its energy bills by over £2 million per year. The approach is now being rolled out across NHS Wales as part of the Assembly's SD Action Plan.


Editors notes:

- The new UK Shared Framework for Sustainable Development, 'One Future - Differen Paths', complements the Welsh Assembly's Sustainable Development Action Plan. The Framework brings together, for the first time, a common vision and set of principles for sustainable development to 2020 agreed by the UK Government and the administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to provide a consistent approach and focus across the UK.

- The Welsh Assembly's Sustainable Development Action Plan 2004-2007 was launched in December 04. The Action Pan, and other information on the Assembly's approach to sustainable development can be accessed at: www.wales.gov.uk/themessustainabledev/index.htm

- Section 121 of the Government of Wales Act 1998 places a legal duty on the National Assembly for Wales to make a scheme setting out how it will promote sustainable development in the exercise of its functions. This duty is unique in the UK.

- The Sustainable Development Commission is the independent government advisor on sustainable development, reporting to the First Ministers for Wales and Scotland as well as the Prime Minister to put sustainable development at the centre of government policy.

- Sustainable development provides a framework for redirecting our economies and societies to enable everyone to meet their basic needs and improve their quality of life while ensuring that the natural resources on which we all depend are maintained and enhanced, both for our benefit and for that of future generations.

- The Framework for Sustainable Development on NHS Wales will be developed in 2005 by the Welsh Assembly Government and SDC. It will help NHS managers through what can be a complex topic and ensure that the NHS uses its leverage as Wales biggest employer, a huge landowner and major purchaser of services, to benefit the social, economic and environmental determinants of health.

- Cynnal Cymru - the Sustainable Development Forum for Wales is an independent not-for-profit company open to everyone in Welsh society. It aims to promote sustainable development, to be a catalyst for change and a forum for debate, development and dissemination of information about sustainable development http://www.cynnalcymru.org

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