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Scotland commits to UK-wide strategic Framework for sustainable development

7 March 2005

NEWS RELEASE

The Scottish Executive's pledge to join other 'Celtic Nations' to take immediate action on sustainable development was welcomed today (March 7th) by its independent advisory body - the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC).

These commitments are set out in the UK's shared Framework For Sustainable Development to 2020, 'One future - differen paths'. The Framework offers both a shared commitment to action and common measurements for reporting progress on these actions.

First Minister, Jack McConnell, is today (March 7th) launching the Framework on a joint platform with Carwyn Jones, Minister for Environment, Countryside and Planning for the Welsh Assembly Government at the 'Sustainable Development: Promoting Best Practce in Wales and Scotland' conference. Hosted by the SDC with SDC Scotland and SDC Wales in association with Cynnal Cymru and the Scottish Sustainable Development Forum, this major event is being held at the Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh.

The First Minister will also announce the start of the public consultation for delivering the Sustainable Development Strategy for Scotland.

SDC Chair, Jonathon Porritt comments 'The message is clear - Scotland is willing and able to lead by example and understands the need to get all sectors involved in that process. In an era of devolution, it is a real test of government to see if the different bits of the system can work together which they will have to do in order to deliver sustainable development.'

'But we're not there yet,' warns Jonathon Porritt. 'Delivery is now the issue. Our hope is for an action-focused Scottish document on wha can be achieved, when and how. As the 'critical friend' of governmen, we will be encouraging the Scottish Executive to rise creatively and purposefully to the challenge.'

SDC, Vice Chair for Scotland, Maureen Child says 'Our purpose and priorities are unified, but Scotland, like everyone else has its own answers. Our conference today shows without doubt thasome of the most innovative thinking and practice in sustainable development is emerging in Scoland and Wales.'

'One future - differen paths' recognises the role of the SDC in ensuring that governments individually and collectively achieve their independent sustainable development Strategies.

The SDC's conference supports this remit by bringing together an audience of over 200 sustainable development practitioners and policy makers from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England to share best practice.

Best practice examples from Scotland will include Forth Valley Food Links (FVFL), whose ethos is "local food for local people" - in other words grow it locally, sell it locally. FVFL work on encouraging use of fresh local vegetables and fruit to help improve people's diet and general health. They work to increase access to fresh, seasonal food to reduce food transport miles and create employment opportunities in the local food sector.

-Ends-

Editors notes:

- The Sustainable Development Commission has identified a wide-ranging and comprehensive set of commitments within the Strategy at www.sd-commission.org.uk

- The new UK Shared Framework for Sustainable Development, 'One Future - Differen Paths'. The Framework brings together, for the first time, a common vision and set of principles for sustainable development to 2020 agreed by the UK Government and the administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to provide a consistent approach and focus across the UK.

- The Sustainable Development Commission is the independent government advisor on sustainable development, reporting to the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales and the Prime Minister. The Commission aims to put sustainable development at the centre of government policy.

- 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.

There will be an SDC media briefing at 09.00 hours Monday 7th March at Murrayfield.

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