Written Answers. - Sustainable Development.

Trevor Sargent


20 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the development of sustainability indicators in the United Kingdom east midlands area which range from the number of farms using organic methods to the percentage of people participating in local voluntary work; and the work which has been done by his Department to establish similar indicators here to augment the information provided by GNP and GDP returns. [7662/00]

I am aware of ongoing work in the UK, at EU level and elsewhere on the development of sustainable development indicators.

In Ireland, the EPA has published Environment in Focus a Discussion Document on Key National Environmental Indicators, 1999, which built on earlier work in this area. The report dis cussed and contained information on over 50 indicators using the DPSIR – Driving Force, Pressure, State, Impact and Response – framework developed at international level. In addition to the work by EPA, a steering group, chaired by my Department and representative of relevant Departments and agencies, has been working on the development of a set of national sustainable development indicators and will shortly be consulting COMHAR in this regard. Advice on devising local sustainability indicators was provided in my Departments' guidelines for local authorities in Local Agenda 21: Local Authorities and Sustainable Development, 1995. These are currently being revised.
Additionally, the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness provides that NESC will be requested to consider the development of a framework by June 2001 to bring into operation national progress indicators to measure economic, social and environmental development.