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Changes needed if Wales is to meet global commitment to sustainable development.

Welsh Government ¹Well-being of Wales 2016-17 report indicates how Wales is performing against well-being goals.

Two years ago global leaders signed up to the most ambitious and comprehensive agreement ever seen – the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These 17 goals have the potential to transform our world. If they are delivered, we will see an end to poverty and hunger; fairer and more equal societies; a thriving natural environment and solutions to climate change.

Wales was one of first countries in the world to show commitment to sustainable development through a legal requirement – the Well-being of Future Generations Act.

Nikhil Seth, Director of Division for Sustainable Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations said: “The Wales Future Generations Act captures the spirit and essence of two decades of United Nations work in the area of sustainable development and serves as a model for other regions and countries”.

The Act expects public bodies, including the Welsh Government, to think long term and work towards shared goals. Their decisions must not negatively affect the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Today’s Well-being of Wales Report indicates how Wales is performing against the seven well-being goals which are outlined in the Act.

On the publication of today’s Report by the Welsh Government, Anne Meikle, Head of WWF Cymru said:

“We welcome the link between progress on Wales’ well-being with the SDGs in today’s report. Engaging with the SDGs offers Wales an opportunity, to show its credentials as a good global citizen. There is good practice to share in Wales but also a lot to learn from other countries.

“However, the indicators in today’s report show, there is an ongoing decline in the well- being of our environment. Our key natural resources are being depleted faster than they can be replaced. Our plants and wildlife are still decreasing and none of our ecosystems are functioning as they should.

“Reversing this requires radical change in programmes and policies from Welsh Government to ensure the well-being of our environment is at the heart of all its decisions. The forthcoming economic strategy from Welsh Government needs to clearly demonstrate how it will reverse the decline in biodiversity and overuse of natural resources.”

The report states that ‘Biological diversity is declining, and no ecosystems in Wales can be said to have all the features needed for resilience’. There is, however, a global decline in biodiversity - as WWF’s Living Planet Report 2016 states.

We depend on nature for the air we breathe, the food we produce, the materials we use and the economy we rely on - not least, for our health and happiness. The decline in our environmental health presents problems for us now but also stores up huge problems for future generations - our grandchildren, unless we act now to reverse this trend.

Now more than ever there is an urgent need to deliver on sustainable development in Wales and contribute to the global efforts.

 

- Ends –

 

Editor’s notes

Wales Well-being Report:

http://gov.wales/statistics-and-research/well-being-wales/?lang=en

National Indicators:

http://gov.wales/statistics-and-research/national-indicators-mapping-well-being-goals/?lang=en

WWF’s Living Planet Report 2016:

http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/all_publications/lpr_2016/

Global biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate, putting the survival of other species and our own future at risk. The latest edition of WWF’s Living Planet Report brings home the enormity of the situation - and how we can start to put it right. The Living Planet Index reveals that global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles declined by 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012. We could witness a two-thirds decline in the half-century from 1970 to 2020 – unless we act now to reform our food and energy systems and meet global commitments on addressing climate change, protecting biodiversity and supporting sustainable development.

 

To find out more about WWF Cymru’s work please visit our website: www.wwf.wales

 

 

For further information, please contact:

Heini Evans,

Tel: +44 (0) 29 20538505 / +44 (0)7909 997 846

Email: HEvans@wwf.org.uk

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