The role of ecological footprinting in the Well-Being of Future Generations Act

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Dear Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru / National Assembly for Wales,

The Well-Being Of Future Generations Act requires Welsh Ministers to promote sustainable development and publish national indicators to measure progress towards the achievement of the well-being goals, and take account of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the UK's assessment of the risks of the current and predicted impact of climate change and report their progress every year.

The accompanying Technical Note provides details on sources of information for each of the indicators. But it is not clear in the legislation's Technical Note how or by whom the data for indicator 14, The Ecological Footprint of Wales, is to be calculated. This is the only indicator for which the Note gives no source, existing or planned. Ecological footprinting is a quantifiable but complex process which the Act has in common with One Planet Development as defined in TAN 6 and its accompanying guidance.

The Act's Technical Note observes that ecological footprinting is also a proposed indicator 12.2.1 by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (December 2015) to assist in measuring the target to achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources by 2030.

I was told by Cathy Madge, Head of Engagement and Partnerships, Future Generation Commissioner’s Office, at an event I attended on 21 September 2016 at Gorseinon, that indicator 14 had been abandoned. Yet it is enshrined in the Act.

Also, the document One Wales: One Planet (2009) contains a goal to "Stabilise the public sector’s ecological footprint by 2020, then reduce", and a further goal to "Within the lifetime of a generation... see Wales using only its fair share of the earth’s resources." The headline indicator for this goal is given as: Wales’ Ecological Footprint. Supporting indicators are given as: Total Resource Use, Greenhouse gas emissions, Waste arisings, Household waste recycled or composted, and Mobility.

Please can you clarify:
1) if the indicator is to be kept for the WBFG Act;
2) if so how the data to support it will be collected and measurements calculated
3) the status of the goals contained in One Wales: One Planet.

Yours faithfully,

David Thorpe

NAfW - Access to Information, Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru / National Assembly for Wales

Dear Mr Thorpe,

I believe that this request should be directed to the Welsh Government as this is a Welsh Government initiative and we hold no information relating to this request.

Their email address is: [email address]

I would be more than happy to pass this request to them but I need your permission to do so.

Regards,

Buddug

Buddug Saer

Rheolwr Rhyddid Gwybodaeth
Freedom of Information Manager

Llywodraethu ac Archwilio
Governance and Audit

Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru
National Assembly for Wales

Ff/T:  0300 200 6544

www.cynulliadcymru.org
www.assemblywales.org

Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru yw'r corff sy'n cael ei ethol yn ddemocrataidd i gynrychioli buddiannau Cymru a'i phobl, i ddeddfu ar gyfer Cymru, i gytuno ar drethi yng Nghymru, ac i ddwyn Llywodraeth Cymru i gyfrif.

The National Assembly for Wales is the democratically elected body that represents the interests of Wales and its people, makes laws for Wales, agrees Welsh taxes and holds the Welsh Government to account.

Croesewir gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg neu Saesneg.
We welcome correspondence in Welsh or English.

Dylid ystyried unrhyw ddatganiad neu sylw a geir yn y neges hon fel un personol ac nid o reidrwydd yn fynegiant o safbwynt Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru, unrhyw ran ohono neu unrhyw gorff cysylltiedig

Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any constituent part or connected body.

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Dear NAfW - Access to Information,

I beg your pardon. I understood NAfW scrutinised the WG's work. In that case please forward the request. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

David Thorpe

NAfW - Access to Information, Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru / National Assembly for Wales

No problem. I will copy you into the message.

Regards,

Buddug

Buddug Saer

Rheolwr Rhyddid Gwybodaeth
Freedom of Information Manager

Ff/T: 0300 200 6544

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NAfW - Access to Information, Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru / National Assembly for Wales

Welsh Government Freedom of Information Officer,

Please see the following request that the requestor has agreed that I pass onto you.

Regards,

Buddug

Buddug Saer

Rheolwr Rhyddid Gwybodaeth
Freedom of Information Manager

Ff/T: 0300 200 6544

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Dear NAfW - Access to Information,

I have not had a reply to this. Please can you tell me who to contact directly?

Yours sincerely,

David Thorpe

NAfW - Access to Information, Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru / National Assembly for Wales

Mr. Thorpe,

The email address for the Welsh Government Freedom of Information Officer is as below.

[email address]

If you require any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us again.

Best regards,
Chris Melhuish
Freedom of Information Officer

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Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru / National Assembly for Wales

Dear David,

Thank you for your email of 4 November regarding the role of ecological footprinting and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. I apologise for the delay in replying.

The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 (‘the Act’) provides for seven well-being goals for Wales covering economic, social, environmental and cultural aspects of Wales’ well-being. The architecture of the Act includes mechanisms to track national progress in achieving the seven well-being goals through national indicators. On 16 March 2016 the previous Welsh Government laid before the National Assembly for Wales a suite of 46 national indicators to measure the seven well-being goals. A technical document and Welsh Government response to the consultation was issued alongside the final indicators, and written statement to the Assembly was made. The list of indicators can be found here: http://gov.wales/topics/people-and-commu...

The 46 indicators will enable the Government, Assembly Members and any citizen in Wales to find out what progress in being made at a Wales level in achieving the seven well-being goals. We will report annually on the national indicators where data is available, but it will be the case that not each indicator will be available annually.

National Indicator 14 uses the ‘Ecological Footprint of Wales’, which is an indicator of the total environmental burden that society places on the planet. It represents the area of land needed to provide the raw materials, energy and food, as well as absorb pollution and waste created and is measured in global hectares. As with some indicators this would be reported on a periodic basis. Historically Wales has used the Ecological Footprint as a measure of whether Wales is developing in a more sustainable way, and remains a useful tool in explaining the concept of a ‘One Planet Nation’. You rightly acknowledge that this can be complex, and we recognised this as part of the development of the national indicators set. On balance, the Government took the view that an Ecological Footprint remains a useful proxy for whether Wales is developing in a sustainable way. There is no current intention to review the national indicators, and therefore National Indicator 14 will remain as part of the set.

The Technical Document, published alongside the indicators outlines the technical measurement and source of the data to be used to measure that indicator. For indicator 14 this referred back to methodology used for the last update published in 2015. This can be found here: http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcount...

The reference to the work by the United Nations Economic and Social Council proposal was provided as a contextual indicator to aid future analysis. Further information on the approach taken by the United Nations to measuring the 17 Sustainable Development Goals can be found here http://unstats.un.org/sdgs/.

In your email you also refer to climate change and so I would draw your attention to Indicator 41 which covers the emissions of greenhouse gases within Wales, this will be reported on through two ways, (i) emissions from what we produce in Wales, and (ii) a footprint basis of Welsh consumer emissions which will be reported every 5 years. This ensures alignment with the Environment (Wales) Act 2016, and complements indicator 41 on the ‘Ecological Footprint’.

With regards to the status of ‘One Wales: One Planet’ this was the Sustainable Development Scheme (2009) of the Welsh Assembly Government made under section 79 of the Government of Wales Act 2006. It set out how the Welsh Assembly Government intended to promote sustainable development in the exercise of the Welsh Ministers’ functions. The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 strengthens the legislative duties on Welsh Ministers and puts in place a stronger set of duties for action to advance sustainable development in Wales. In particular the Act puts in place seven well-being goals for Wales into law, rather than in a statutory scheme, and extends the well-being duty beyond just the Welsh Ministers to specified public bodies in wales. For further information on the development of the legislation please see the Revised Explanatory Memorandum (2016) for the Act which can be found here: http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/mgIssue...

The Welsh Government has recently published Taking Wales Forward : The Welsh Government’s well-being objectives (2016) set out how we will use the Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015 to help deliver our programme for government and maximise our contribution to the 7 shared national well-being goals. This can be found here: http://gov.wales/about/programme-for-gov...

Kind regards,

Glyn Jones
Prif Ystadegydd/Chief Statistician
Llywodraeth Cymru/Welsh Government
Ffôn/Tel: 029 20826691
www.cymru.gov.uk/ystadegau  www.wales.gov.uk/statistics
Twitter: www.twitter.com/statisticswales | www.twitter.com/ystadegaucymru

Hapus i gyfathrebu’n Saesneg neu yn y Gymraeg/Happy to communicate in English or Welsh

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