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Written Statement - Sustainable Development Annual Report 2013-2014

Jeff Cuthbert, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty


In fulfilling the Welsh Ministers’ duty under section 79 of the Government of Wales Act 2006, I have today laid a report before Assembly Members setting out how the proposals in the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Development Scheme have been implemented.

The reporting period covers April 2013 to March 2014 and shows the steps we have taken in fulfilling our commitment to sustainability so that we make sustainable development our core principle. This means an emphasis on social, economic and environmental well-being and looking to the longer-term in the decisions we make now, to the lives of our children’s children as well as current generations.

The report this year differs from previous years as we have decided to align it more closely with the Programme for Government Progress Report which was published earlier in June. Given our commitment to sustainable development as a central organising principle, we consider that it is good practice to have a closer alignment between the two reports.  This has been a consistent finding of the Sustainable Futures Commissioner who has highlighted the need for a greater synergy between the two overarching documents.  Ahead of the passing of the proposed Future Generations Bill (working title), the Welsh Government will be expected to be an exemplar organisation. We must ensure as a Government that we report in a more integrated way on the actions we are taking to embed sustainable development at the heart of what we do.

This year we asked all departments within the Welsh Government to demonstrate how key commitments under the Programme for Government have been or are being delivered in a more sustainable way, to outline why their work is important, the outcomes that are being achieved and what difference we are making.

We have, nevertheless, retained vital elements of the report including the independent commentary provided by Peter Davies, the Commissioner for Sustainable Futures, which I welcome.  It signals our commitment to open, transparent Government.  Including such an independent commentary is a benchmark of good reporting, and gives credibility to the overall Annual Report.   The Future Generations Bill (working title) will place a greater onus on improving reporting on long-term well-being through sustainable development and we will build on this in future years.