High profile backing for Welsh ‘future generations’ campaign

Posted on:

  • Big names in environment, business and social justice support alternative Sustainable Development Bill
  • Over 20 organisations now signed up (full list below)
  • A win-win bill for all of Wales – Campaigners say benefits of a strong bill would include green jobs, healthier diets and support for Welsh speaking communities

Leading figures, including business leader Sir Stuart Rose and environmental champion Jonathon Porritt, have thrown their weight behind a campaign for Wales to be a world pioneer on sustainable development1.

Today (16 July 2013) an alliance of over 20 organisations2 publishes its alternative proposal for the Welsh Government’s flagship Sustainable Development Bill.

The group says that the new law will decide how Wales develops for decades to come. In its document, Shaping The Future, it calls for the legislation to include a duty on government and public bodies to achieve sustainable development – meeting the needs of future generations, as well as those alive today.

It also sets out a clear definition of sustainable development and proposes that a Sustainable Development Commissioner for Wales would promote and facilitate sustainable development, as well as handle complaints about how public authorities carry out their duties.

Today’s publication follows concern from campaigners that to date, Welsh Government proposals for the law have been too weak to deliver on bold promises made by ministers. The organisations hope that with a new Minister, Jeff Cuthbert, leading on the development of the law, the Welsh Government will support their alternative plan.

Speaking on behalf of the organisations, Haf Elgar said:

“The Sustainable Development Bill is an amazing opportunity for Wales to set an example to the world by making sure that government and public bodies meet the needs of future generations, as well as people alive now. It’s heartening to see such a wide range of organisations supporting the alternative law that we have published today.”

“We’re putting forward a plan for a strong law which would deliver real benefits for people and the planet. By placing a clear duty on public authorities to achieve sustainable development, ministers would ensure that public bodies work in a joined-up way for the long term, such as creating jobs in ways that combat climate change, making planning decisions which support Welsh-speaking communities and making healthy, local food available to all.”

“We cannot afford to saddle future generations with the consequences of unsustainable decisions. If implemented, this alternative bill will deliver a better quality of life for people in Wales and ensure that we play our part, as global citizens, to help achieve a decent life for people living in poverty around the world.”

QUOTES FROM SHAPING THE FUTURE

“The Sustainable Development Bill offers the exciting prospect of Wales leading on creating a sustainable economy which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially responsible. I support this campaign for a strong law which helps deliver a sustainable economy. If the Welsh Government gets this law right, it will send a powerful and positive message to the business world that Wales is serious about this agenda.”
Sir Stuart Rose – Business leader

“The Bevan Foundation wants to see a Sustainable Development Bill which promotes social justice and equality on the ground as well as in principle. This means giving strong leadership and taking positive action to make Wales a fair and just nation. We recognise the need to tackle social justice and equality within the limits of our planet’s resources and therefore the need to look for solutions for Wales that integrate all aspects of sustainable development.”
Victoria Winckler – Director, Bevan Foundation

“The Sustainable Development Bill offers hope to everyone in the UK who cares about ensuring a healthy planet for future generations. Done properly, it will cement Wales’ position as a global leader in respecting environmental limits – helping to tackle climate change and safeguard the natural world. I fully support the campaign for Welsh Government to pass a strong bill that really delivers on its bold promises.”
Jonathon Porritt – Former Chair of the UK’s Sustainable Development Commission

ENDS

  1. The preamble to the alternative bill contains the following description of sustainable development:

    “Recognising that sustainable development means achieving social justice and
    eliminating poverty in a way which is capable of being continued indefinitely by all
    of earth’s people by respecting environmental limits. Recognising that, in Wales, sustainable development includes sustaining and promoting the Welsh language, culture and heritage while protecting and enhancing the Welsh natural environment and using only our fair share of the world’s resources.”

  2. Organisations supporting the proposed alternative bill include:

    • Bat Conservation Trust
    • Bevan Foundation
    • CAFOD
    • Christian Aid Wales
    • Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg
    • Cynnal Cymru – Sustain Wales
    • Disability in Wales and Africa
    • Fair Trade Wales
    • Friends of the Earth Cymru
    • Life for African Mothers
    • Love Zimbabwe
    • National Federation of Women’s Institutes – Wales
    • Oxfam Cymru
    • RSPB Cymru
    • Stop Climate Chaos Cymru
    • Tearfund
    • Tools for Self Reliance Cymru
    • Wales International Development Hub
    • Welsh Centre for International Affairs
    • Wales Council for Voluntary Action
    • Wildlife Trusts Wales
    • WWF Cymru

  3. Embargoed copies of Shaping The Future are available on request. Interviews are available from alliance representatives in Welsh or English. For further information, please contact Richard Nosworthy, Tel: 029 20454972 / 07920 211 534, Email: rnosworthy@wwf.org.uk