Sustainable development indicators for Wales
New sustainable development indicators for Wales report progress on the commitment to sustainable development as the central organising principle of the Welsh Government.
The new figures show improvements in 19 of the 44 areas measured (up from 17 last year), including air quality, electricity production from renewable resources and recycling rates. A further 18 indicators have shown little or no change.
Headline indicators and the full suite
A set of five headline indicators collectively present a high level view of progress towards sustainable development:
- Economic output – Gross Value Added (GVA) and GVA per head;
- Social justice – percentage of the population in low-income households;
- Biodiversity conservation – status of priority habitats and species;
- Ecological footprint – Wales’ global ecological footprint;
- Wellbeing – physical and mental health – life satisfaction.
Further indicators grouped under the chapter headings of the Welsh Government’s policies to promote sustainable development:
- Sustainable resource use;
- Sustaining the environment;
- A sustainable economy;
- A sustainable society;
- The wellbeing of Wales.
Developing indicators of wellbeing
The Welsh Government’s new Sustainable Development Scheme included a commitment to report on the wellbeing of Wales as a 5th headline indicator of sustainable development.
This year’s indicators report physical and mental wellbeing, using data from the Welsh Health Survey, and overall life satisfaction, using the new National Survey for Wales. Other measures of wellbeing that are under development and due to be included in the National Survey.
Commitment to one planet living
Welsh Ministers have a duty to have a scheme setting out how they will promote sustainable development in everything that they do – the Welsh Government’s scheme for Sustainable Development, One Wales: One Planet, defines sustainable development as:
“enhancing the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of people and communities, achieving a better quality of life for our own and future generations, in ways which:
- promote social justice and equality of opportunity, and;
- enhance the natural and cultural environment and respect its limits – using only our fair share of the earth’s resources and sustaining our cultural legacy”.
Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development John Griffiths welcomed the figures:
“I am pleased that these figures show how Wales has made good progress in a number of areas that are key to making Wales a sustainable nation. The statistics show improvements in key areas such as urban and rural air quality, production of electricity from renewable sources and household waste recycling and composting.
“The Welsh Government is committed to one planet living, where we live and plan for a future that only uses our fair share of the earth’s resources. Today’s figures prove that we are making good progress but of course there is still scope for improvement.”
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