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The Sustainable Development Act

What will the act do?

HMGOG has committed to adopting a Sustainable Development and Future Generations Act during the life of this Parliament and is working with relevant stakeholders in the development of a Bill that:

  • requires public bodies to undertake action in pursuit of sustainable development within and across their areas of responsibility 

  • requires public bodies to report progress on such action;

  • defines the duties of the Commissioner who is to advise, assist, and report on progress made by public bodies in carrying out their functions in accordance with this Act, as well as promote and support actions across the wider community.

  • defines the duties of the Minister who is to identify national priorities and targets for sustainable development and report to Parliament on progress.

How will the act interpret sustainable development?

Sustainable development is understood as the process of improving the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of Gibraltar by taking action, in accordance with the sustainable development principle, aimed at achieving the SDGs. 

The Act is contextualized within the UN SD Goals “UN Sustainable Development Goals” adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 25th September 2015 (UN document reference A/RES/70/1).

For further details please see ‘Sustainable Development Goals

What will it require and by whom?

The draft Bill identifies roles and specifies the duties of the Minister, public bodies and the Commissioner.

The Minister is required to:
  1. Commission and publish a report (a “future trends report”) that contains predictions of likely “Future Trends” in the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of Gibraltar and which, in turn, informs the setting of indicators and objectives.

  2. Identify “Government Priorities” from the thematic objectives defined by the SDGs. These are to be set and published no later than 6 months after the date on which the general election took place and be applicable for the term of office. The priorities are to be informed by the Future Trends Report.

  3. Publish ‘national indicators’ (and milestones) in relation to the ‘Government Priorities’ applied for measuring progress towards the achievement of the SDGs.

  4. Receive the Commission’s annual reports of progress and the Future Generations Report every three years and table these before Parliament.

Public Bodies are required to:
  1. undertake action in pursuit of sustainable development in a way that accords with the sustainable development principles;

  2. adopt a connected approach across government and the community;

  3. set and publish Sustainable Development and Future Generations Goals (SDFGs) for their areas of responsibility and within two years from the commencement of the Act and annually thereafter. The SDFGs must align with national indicators and Government Priorities in relation to the SDFGs.

  4. report against the SDFGs by sending annual progress documents to the Commission.

The Commissioner is required to:
  1. promote the sustainable development principle, in particular to act as a guardian of the ability of future generations to meet their needs;

  2. advise and assist public bodies in carrying out their functions in accordance with this Act  (this includes supporting public bodies when setting SDFGs);

  3. encourage public bodies to work in a more connected manner;

  4. report on the extent to which public bodies set objectives and progress towards sustainable development aligned to the Government Priorities in relation to the SDGs;

  5. encourage, promote and support community and business organisations  as well as public bodies to take greater account of the long-term impact of the things that they do; and,

  6. use the Commissioner’s mandate to identify and support the adoption of decisions that respect intergenerational equity and improve the future of Gibraltar;

  7. annually report and publish an independent assessment on the progress made by public bodies in meeting their commitments in respect of that financial year (Annual Summary).

  8. prepare and publish, the Futures Generations Report every 3-4 yrs, containing the Commissioner’s assessment of the improvement made by public bodies.

  9. In addition, it may commission a review of specific public bodies (if there is a failure of engagement, poor performance over the reporting period) and/or research study to inform its duties as defined by the Act.

For further information please see the draft Bill.

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