Jeff Cuthbert, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty
Our long-term vision for Wales by 2050 is to be the best place to live, learn, work, and do business. We want our businesses, our public services, the third sector and Government to have worked together to achieve the goals that are set out in the proposed and ground-breaking Future Generations Bill (working title).
We will have thought more about the long term, worked better together, taken early action and engaged with citizens on this journey. This will mean people in Wales are healthier and happier and more bilingual; our economy is prosperous and our environment is resilient. This will help improve the well-being of Wales over the long term by taking a sustainable development path.
Today, Wales faces a number of complex challenges. Many of these are a legacy from the past, but it is important that this generation does not leave them as challenges for the next. We need to create sustainable, quality jobs and get the right economic growth to lift people out of poverty. We need to make our environment and our communities more resilient to the major environmental problems we face, including addressing declining biodiversity. We need people to be healthy, to achieve their potential and to make Wales a more equal society. We need to reduce our consumption of natural resources and act to tackle the causes and consequences of climate change.
We must think differently and we must act collectively.
We are not alone in taking up this challenge. Over the past two years there has been a global conversation, facilitated by the United Nations, with people the world over to seek their views on a set of international Sustainable Development Goals which build on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals. In Wales too, we need to build a consensus around the shared goals which are the most important to all of us, including our children and grandchildren.
Proposed draft Goals for Wales’ future
Our proposals for a Future Generations Bill will set ambitious, long term goals to reflect the Wales we want to see in the future. Putting these goals into law will set a course for public services in Wales to pull together towards a healthier and more prosperous country, by balancing the economy, the environment and society. To help achieve these shared goals, we propose to make it the law that named public service organisations must show how they contribute effectively to the achievement of the goals through the objectives that they set and the actions that they take.
It is intended that statutory partnerships will be established so that organisations are enabled to work better together at the local level. We will continue to use other tools available to us such as the refreshed Sustainable Development Charter. Our approach to sustainable procurement will enable us to engage businesses, the third sector, and other organisations. This will help to achieve these goals so that we improve the lives of people now and in the future.
We have developed proposed draft goals to help inform discussion on the Wales we want by 2050, as follows:
- Wales is prosperous and innovative
- Wales is a more equal nation
- Wales uses a fair share of natural resources
- People in Wales are healthier
- Communities across Wales are safer, cohesive and resilient
- People in Wales participate in our shared culture, with a thriving Welsh language
We will measure the progress we are collectively making to achieve the goals.
The pilot national conversation
As a Government, we have a key role in promoting a more inclusive and empowered society, now and for decades to come.
To support this aspiration and to make it real, I want to involve people across Wales in conversations on what are the most important issues for them in improving their lives and those of their families and communities.
Today the Commissioner for Sustainable Futures is launching a pilot national conversation to enhance our understanding of the long term issues that future generations might face. It will be an opportunity for everybody to inform the long term goals for Wales.
It will consist of a number of engagement exercises over three months, which will feed into an interim report on behalf of our Future Generations in Wales that will be published prior to the introduction of the Bill to the National Assembly for Wales.
I would urge Assembly Members to become involved and to encourage your constituents to join the conversation over the next three months. The conversation will reach out across Wales and engage with as many people as possible. Reaching young people as part of this will be essential – they are the next generation and the parents and grandparents of future generations.