Embedding sustainable development across Government, after the Secretary of State's announcement on the future of the Sustainable Development Commission - Environmental Audit Committee Contents

Written evidence submitted by Richard Lochhead MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, the Scottish Government

Thank you for your letter asking about the Scottish Government's approach to sustainable development and its response to the UK Government's decision to withdraw funding from the Sustainable Development Commission.

The Scottish Government is still considering the best way forward for Scotland following the UK Government's decision. We will make announcements in due course. I also note that the attached summary of SDC's current role, funding and activities in Scotland has recently been shared with the committee at official level.

On the wider question about how sustainable development is pursued by the UK and Devolved Governments, it might be helpful if I explain that The Scottish Government does not manage a separate sustainable development strategy. Instead, our distinctive approach has been to mainstream sustainable development across the organisation through our central Purpose of "creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth".

This is set out in the Scottish Government's Economic Strategy, supported by the National Performance Framework, which now provides a shared set of high level outcomes to focus the whole of the public sector. In particular our 15 National Outcomes help us address the sustainable development principle of focusing across economic, social and environmental factors in decision making.

SDC looked closely at this structure in 2008 and were positive about the approach to sustainable development governance.

The Scottish Government attaches high priority to sustainable economic growth and our approach takes account of our unique circumstances in Scotland. However, we believe it is important that, whatever the solution going forward in our respective administrations, we continue to work together to share and learn from each other's experiences.

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