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Ministers Confirm Withdrawal of SDC NI Funding

7 January 2011

Jim Kitchen

Commenting on the announcement by the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister that the Sustainable Development Commission in Northern Ireland will receive no further funding from 31 March 2011, Head of the SDC in Northern Ireland Jim Kitchen stated:

“There is no way to disguise the fact that the withdrawal of financial support for the Sustainable Development Commission from the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister significantly weakens the Executive’s ability to progress sustainable development in Northern Ireland.

‘It is deeply regrettable that OFMDFM has made this decision.  Following the UK Government’s decision to withdraw funding from the SDC UK, the Welsh Assembly Government has shown real leadership in establishing an independent advisory and scrutiny body on sustainability. The same leadership could be shown here.  

“There is a broad consensus on the need for Northern Ireland to become a sustainable region - we want to take advantage of the transition to a low carbon, sustainable economy. Faced with the most serious economic situation for decades, along with our particular challenges of poverty and poor health, sustainable development gives us the framework for making best use of tight public finances.” 

The decision to cease funding the Sustainable Development Commission in Northern Ireland was contained within a written answer from the First and Deputy First Ministers to Green Party MLA Brian Wilson, dated 31st December 2010 – the full text of the answer can be found below:

Mr B Wilson (North Down): To ask the First and Deputy First Minister whether they can give an assurance that they will continue to fund the Sustainable Development Commission.

ANSWER

‘On 22nd July 2010, DEFRA unilaterally announced its decision to withdraw funding for the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC).  Having given due consideration to the implications of this decision, we have reluctantly accepted that it would not be feasible for the local SDC office to provide the full range of services and we will cease funding of the organisation after 31st March 2011.

We remain in discussions with counterparts in DEFRA and the devolved administrations to ensure that sustainable development remains at the core of our work, and we are actively progressing our plans for future delivery of our sustainable development strategy’

 

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