Select Committee on Environmental Audit Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from the Department for Culture Media and Sport


  1.  This Memorandum addresses the points raised in the Annex to the Committee Clerk's letter of 31 January to the Rt Hon Baroness Blackstone, Minister for the Arts, requesting information on how DCMS is contributing to the Government's preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg in August 2002.

  2.  This Department is in an unusual position in that while it has more associated bodies than any other Department, it can only advise and encourage these rather than directly influence them. There are funding agreements with each, and we have urged that the concept of "sustainable development" is included in each agreement. We have some sponsored bodies, like the National Museum for Science and Industry, the Natural History Museum and the Royal Parks Agency, which actively promote environmentally sound practices, and have educational programmes available for the general public in place. We are currently discussing the informal education possibilities with our bodies and with the Sustainable Development Education Panel, and will hold a conference to explore DCMS' contribution at the end of April. But we cannot expect all our bodies to participate to the same extent, because it is not equally appropriate.


What input has your department had to the UK preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development?

  3.  The Department for Culture Media and Sport is not directly represented on the MISC 18 Ministerial Group on the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).

  4.  Our most direct involvement in WSSD is as one of a number of Government Departments with a stake in the Sustainable Tourism initiative backed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which relates to British tourists going abroad. The British Tourism Authority published its strategy for the sustainable development of inbound tourism in September 2001.

Please set out which UK sustainable development indicators your department has lead responsibility for and which other indicators the department's policies particularly impact upon.

  5.  While DCMS does not have lead responsibility for any sustainable development indicators, we reflect the wider implications of sustainable development in our high level aims of:

    —  improving quality of life through cultural and sporting activities,

    —  broadening access for all to a rich and varied cultural and sporting life, and to our distinctive built environment and in encouraging conservation of the best of the past;

and in the following Departmental objectives:

    —  to promote the role of the DCMS sectors in urban and rural regeneration, in pursuing sustainability and in combatting social exclusion;

    —  to improve the larger towns and cities to make them better places to live and work;

    —  to improve energy efficiency and tackle waste;

    —  to ensure that the objective of the Lottery Fund supports DCMS's and other national priorities (lottery distributors are required to consider the sustainable development implications of bids).

What systems does your department have in place to monitor progress on how far the department's policies are contributing to UK progress on sustainable development and the issues that were mapped out in Agenda 21 after the Rio Earth summit in 1992?

  6.  DCMS is working with the Office for National Statistics and the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit to provide better local area information on access to services by developing a single geographically referenced register of all cultural, arts, sports and other leisure facilities. This will assist in producing local cultural indices to reflect the cultural capital and vitality of communities which may be used in defining quality of life in any given area.

February 2002

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