CAFOD is calling on the Welsh Government to ensure the protection of our environment in order to achieve long-term sustainable development and maintain Wales for future generations. CAFOD, along with over 20 other Welsh organisations, is part of the Sustainable Development Alliance (SD Alliance). The SD Alliance has brought together organisations from across Wales which are focused on pushing the Welsh Government to make a real and sustainable long-term difference to Wales with the Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill.
The Future Generations bill, introduced on 7th July 2014 looks at how public bodies are organised and how they function in order to improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of Wales. Each public body has set well-being goals to be met which will be monitored by the Future Generations Commissioner.
Since February 2014 there has been an ongoing discussion between the Welsh government and groups across Wales that will be affected by the bill. The interim report of the Wales We Want national conversation, which has informed the drafting process of the Future Generations Bill through fortnightly reports to the First Minister, was published alongside the bill. The national conversations informing this report targeted groups across Wales including schools, community networks, local authorities, higher education institutions, housing associations, NGOs and others. The content of the conversations looked at responses to the proposed long-term goals, how success with these goals could be measured and how we can all contribute to them.
The focus of the campaign by the SD Alliance to push the Welsh government to protect our future generations with this bill is so that we can protect our environment in the long term whilst ensuring a good quality of life for everyone on the planet.
Kieran O’Brien, Diocesan Manager for CAFOD South Wales, said: “We have joined the SD Alliance so that we can lobby our government in Wales to take into account the real meaning of sustainable development, to help people to help themselves. The Welsh government has a chance with this bill to make changes to how public bodies operate and to take steps to protect our environment for future generations.”
“Climate change is an issue that affects every single person across the world. It is crucial that we take this opportunity in Wales to make a sustainable change that will ensure the integrity of Wales for our future generations and allow us to play our part in tackling climate change.”
The questions that the SD Alliance is now asking are whether the bill has gone far enough. Is it going far enough towards protecting the Welsh environment and supporting sustainable development for our future generations? What we, as part of the SD Alliance, want to see are three things:
To place in legislation a distinctive, robust and resilient Welsh definition of sustainable development, drawing on international and Welsh precedents.
- To place a duty on the devolved public sector to exercise its functions so as to achieve sustainable development.
- To create an independent Sustainable Development Commissioner, appointed by the Assembly rather than the Welsh Government, to hold public bodies to account.
Chair of the Sustainable Development Alliance, Anne Meikle said: “We need to be prepared for a world where there is fierce competition for resources such as energy and timber, and recognise that decisions we make in Wales have a direct impact on people and nature globally. It’s notable that today’s interim report on ‘The Wales We Want’ highlights climate change as a key issue facing future generations.”
Find out more about the SD Alliance proposals