A truly green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic will be the key to accelerating Wales’ transition to a low-carbon economy and a healthier, more equal nation.
That is the call to action from the Chair of Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Sir David Henshaw today (14 July) as he sets out his plans to drive forward a taskforce charged with putting climate plans at the heart of Wales’ inclusive and sustainable economic recovery.
As the nation embarks on its emergence from the Covid-19 outbreak, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths has asked Sir David to lead a coalition of experts to develop ideas that link climate action with job creation, inclusive and fair economic growth, and other development priorities.
The group will focus its efforts on delivering practical and prioritised action that uses the tools in Wales’ legislation and the expertise ingrained in its communities to inform long-term proposals focussed on:
- Carbon emission and climate risk
- Reversing the decline in biodiversity
- Connecting people and nature through investments in green infrastructure
Sir David is joined on the panel by Future Generations Commissioner, Sophie Howe along with senior representatives from business, environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the farming and third sector and Local Government.
Each will be asked to contribute their wide range of expertise, and draw in the views of their own networks, to help identify innovative and fair approaches that meet the needs of communities in Wales, while accelerating the response to the climate and nature emergencies.
Chair of NRW, Sir David Henshaw said:
“The coronavirus pandemic has forced the world into collective pause and allowed us to reflect on the Wales we want to see as we emerge from one of the most challenging period of our lives.
“We need to better understand what kind of natural environment the people of Wales want to see in the future by asking what they value about it, what are the opportunities it can provide and what we need to do to achieve it.”
“By drawing on the expertise and knowledge we have in our environmental, private and third sectors, we can ensure the climate and nature emergencies we continue to face are enshrined as key pillars in the development of Wales’ recovery plans.
“Only by working as a collective, putting the right policies in place and investing early can we work towards achieving a sustainable, climate-neutral and fair future economy for Wales. I am pleased to have been asked to lead on this crucial all-Wales alliance for a green recovery and I look forward to starting this important journey together.”
The Welsh Government declaration of a Climate Emergency in April of 2019 has since been matched with a growing determination from public bodies, businesses and communities to play a greater role in reducing emissions, tackling climate change and protecting the natural environment.
Outlining her vision for the taskforce, Lesley Griffiths said:
“The group Sir David is chairing is part of the work across Welsh Government to invite people with a wide range of perspectives to help shape and challenge our plans for recovery. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has severely disrupted the work of organisations who are vital to the protection of nature in Wales, including the extremely important work carried out by volunteers. We must now rebuild and strengthen our ability to protect nature, and increase the presence of nature in our communities for the benefit of our health and our economy. To do this we will mobilise across government and throughout communities in every part of Wales, and this group will be a powerful driver of that action.”
The participating representatives and organisations in the taskforce are:
- Justin Albert, Director of National Trust Wales
- Peter Davies, Chair, Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA)
- Sophie Howe – Future Generations Commissioner
- Chris Johnes – Building Communities Trust
- Lesley Jones, Chief Executive, Keep Wales Tidy
- Prof Calvin Jones, Cardiff Business School
- Cllr Andrew Morgan, Chair, Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA)
- Peter Perry, Chief Executive Dwr Cymru Welsh Water
- Sue Pritchard, RSA Food, Farming & Countryside Commission
- Vivienne Sugar, Chair, Bevan Foundation
- David Lea Wilson, Halen Mon
Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner:
“The green recovery must be a deep green recovery – not a greenwash.
“Our focus has to be working together towards a proper green recovery for Wales that works for nature, people and the climate, for everyone’s sake.
“I’m pleased the taskforce will be focused on practical, prioritised action to bring benefits for the environment and communities, helping accelerate what we know works.
“The response to the COVID crisis needs visionary ideas, so we can protect ourselves against the uncertainties of another crisis in the form of the climate and nature emergency. We’re being given an opportunity for real change – let’s take it.”
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