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The future we want, within our limits

11 March 2015

Sustainable and digital futures

The Welsh Government is taking the international lead in demonstrating its commitment to sustainable development by preparing a Well-Being of Future Generations Act. 

The Bill has been drafted, public consultation has finished and we await the final outcome. In the meantime, a National Conversation with the people of Wales, initiated in 2014 by the then Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, has just seen the publication of the Pilot Report The Wales We Want. 

Through the Conversation people discussed the Wales that they want to leave behind for their children and grandchildren by 2050. This Conversation also helped to shape the six well-being goals in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Bill when it was introduced in July 2014.

As we read through the Wales We Want, it is time to reflect: can we have that future? Can we have it all? A commitment to promote sustainable development is embedded within the Government of Wales Act and has represented a distinctive part of Wales' devolution journey. Now is the time to ask: can that vision of a sustainable future for Wales be realised?

So far, the Conversation has not taken the plunge and said: yes, we can have that future, but only if we accept that we cannot have it all: there are limits to growth and Welsh society, like the rest of Britain, will have to accept that there will be difficult trade-offs and hard choices to be made if sustainable development is to be promoted.

Professor Susan Baker recently contributed to a panel discussion at Plaid Cymru spring conference on the subject of "Sustainable Development: What are we waiting for?".  You can read the full article on the IWA website: Click on Wales where they are running a series of articles on the Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill looking at what we've got and how it can be improved.

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