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A clarion call to the whole world

24 February 2003

That was how Jonathon Porritt, Chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission, described the Prime Minister's speech at the launch of the
Government's annual Quality of Life Report.

'The message couldn't be clearer: if we want a more prosperous, secure and equitable world, then the practice of sustainable development has to be at the heart of everything we do. No longer can the rich expect to get richer by trashing the planet or ignoring the poor.'

The Prime Minister's speech confronts that reality head-on, in its appraisal both of the international scene and the challenges here in the UK. The Prime Minister's personal commitment to set the UK on a path to reduce emissions of CO2 by 60% by
2050 is particularly welcome, especially as this is reinforced in today's Energy White Paper.

As the Prime Minister's advisors on sustainable development, the Commission is enormously heartened by this expression of leadership. Jonathon Porritt again:

'The Commission was critical of the Government's overall performance in the run-up to last year's World Summit on Sustainable Development. Since then, there has been a marked increase in both energy and commitment, driven both by Number 10
and Defra. One speech does not a sustainable future make, but it sure as hell sets out some of the contours of such a future - and should be more than sufficient to raise the sights of some of his Cabinet colleagues still plodding along in the same
old unsustainable way.'


Notes for editors:

1. The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) is the Government's independent sustainable development advisor, reporting to Tony Blair and the
devolved administration leaders. The Commission's objectives include advocating a compelling vision of a sustainable economy and society, and
reviewing how far sustainable development is being achieved in the UK across all sectors.

2. Sustainable development provides a framework for redirecting our economies to enable everyone to meet their basic needs and improve their quality of life while ensuring that the natural resources on which they depend are maintained and enhanced, both for their benefit and for that of future
generations.

3. The Government's annual report for 2002, Achieving a better quality of life:
Review of progress towards sustainable development, is launched today. It will
be available on the Government's sustainable development website
(www.sustainable-development.org.uk).

4. The report measures progress against 15 sustainable development indicators.
These indicators cover economic output; investment; employment; poverty and social exclusion; education; health; housing; crime; climate change; air quality;road traffic; river water quality; wildlife; land use; waste.

5. On 12 February, the Sustainable Development Commission published an audit of the Government's Climate Change Programme. It concludes that the UK is likely to achieve its Kyoto target for reductions in greenhouse gases as a whole, but that the measures to achieve the Government's owndomestic goal, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2010, are not in place.
Further information about the audit is available at www.sd-commission.org.uk.

6. The Sustainable Development Commission's most recent publication, Agenda:
where next for sustainable development, is available at www.sdcommission.org.uk

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