Select Committee on Environmental Audit Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from The Ministry of Defence (MoD)

Q1. What input has your department had to the UK preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development?

    —  The Committee is aware that each department is represented on the MISC 18 Ministerial Group on the World Summit on Sustainable Development chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister. Please outline how your department co-ordinates its input to this Committee.

    —  Is MISC 18 the key route by which your department is contributing to the UK preparations for the World Summit?

    —  Please outline how are far other involvement in the preparations (additional to attendance at MISC 18) came about. For example, was it by request from another department, instigated by your department, and/or part of your department's ongoing work?

    —  Please give details of any papers/strategies/other work that your department has prepared to support your contribution to MISC 18 and the UK preparations in general. Has the department carried out or contributed to any special reviews of progress connected to the Johannesburg summit? Have thee been discussed at management board level in your department?

    —  Has the department actively publicised the preparations for the World Summit and its own involvement?

  A1. Neither the Secretary of State for Defence nor any other Ministry of Defence Minister is a member of MISC 18. However, at official level, the Ministry of Defence has been represented on the WSSD Inter-Departmental Group, which acts as a forum to express views on, and receive feedback about, events and preparations for WSSD. The Group comprises officials representing all Government departments, the devolved administrations and relevant agencies. To date, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has led in reporting to MISC 18 on behalf of the Group, and officials from other departments, including the Ministry of Defence, have only been consulted on the Government's communication strategy for WSSD, which together with their memorandum DEFRA will be submitting to the Committee. As preparations for the summit develop, it is likely that all Government departments, including the Ministry of Defence, will make a greater contribution to the WSSD Inter-Departmental Group. Membership of this Group will be the only route by which the Ministry of Defence will be contributing to preparations for WSSD.

  The Ministry of Defence is planning a seminar for senior managers on the subject of sustainable development. The aim of the seminar, which will take place in May 2002, is to communicate to departmental senior managers the importance and implications of the Government's sustainable development agenda. Senior managers will be encouraged to disseminate this message cross their own areas of responsibility and throughout the department.

  The seminar will include presentations from:

    —  the Ministry of Defence's 2nd Permanent Under Secretary (2nd PUS) on the new role for the department's Green Minister in monitoring progress towards sustainable development within the Ministry of Defence;

    —  an official of DEFRA's Sustainable Development Unit on sustainable development across Government;

    —  the Chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission on the Commission's role; and

    —  the Ministry of Defence's Chief Environment and Safety Officer on the work the department is undertaking to develop and implement a departmental sustainable development strategy based on the Government model.

  This seminar will also serve as the key means by which the Ministry of Defence will publicise to senior managers the WSSD and the UK Government's preparations for the summit.

  In more general terms, detailed information on sustainable development has been published in the department's Environmental Manual, Joint Services Publication (JSP) 418, a copy of which is in the Library of the House of Commons. In addition, sustainable development is addressed within a suite of environmental courses run by the Royal Air Force and which are open to all Service personnel and civilian staff in the department. Consideration is also being given to the introduction of a separate specific training module on sustainable development.

Q2. 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.

  A2. Work on a Ministry of Defence sustainable development strategy, based on the Government's strategy, is being taken forward within the Department. The strategy will apply to, and be implemented across, all areas of the Ministry of Defence, including agencies.

  The development of the departmental strategy includes ongoing work to identify those national indicators, which are particularly relevant to the Department's polices and operations. In addition, the strategy will seek to go beyond the national indicators by identifying a number of MoD-specific indicators in the environmental, social and economic spheres.

Q3. 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?

  A3. The Ministry of Defence's sustainable development strategy will be used to co-ordinate and monitor the adequacy of our contribution to the environmental, social and economic indicators of sustainable development. The Department will report annually on progress towards sustainable development in the Defence Environment and Safety Report, copies of which will be made available to members of the Environmental Audit Committee.

  The principles and aims of sustainable development were also incorporated into the documentation supporting MOD's contribution to Spending Review (SR) 2000. In come cases, environmental issues led to detailed measures being proposed for new funding in the Spending Review. Sustainable development commitments will be included in the Ministry of Defence's Public Service Agreements (PSAs) or Service Delivery Agreements (SDAs) supporting future Spending Review agreements. Work has already begun on addressing the incorporation of sustainable development into the bids for SR 2002, with all bids being subjected to an integrated sustainable appraisal.

  In common with most other countries participating in WSSD, it is not the UK Government's intention to produce a detailed assessment of progress in relation to Agenda 21. Progress since the Rio Earth Summit will be reviewed at the 10th annual United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UNSCD) meeting in New York in the Spring.

February 2002

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 25 April 2002