Select Committee on Environmental Audit Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 16

Memorandum from HM Treasury

  This memorandum provides information on the Treasury's input to UK preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

  2.  HM Treasury is involved in the UK's preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development through the MISC 18 ministerial group, and through official-level contacts with other government departments. Input to the ministerial group on matters of Treasury competence is coordinated centrally, with contributions from relevant policy teams. Treasury has produced (jointly with the Department for International Development) a paper for MISC 18 covering the linkages between the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the UN summit on Financing for Development. We have not actively publicised the summit or our own involvement.

  3.  In addition to contributions to the UKs preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development; the Chancellor has taken a leading role in international efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. In recent speeches, the Chancellor has led international calls for developed countries to increase the volume and effectiveness of aid, and to build a Global New Deal to ensure the world's poor can share fairly the benefits of prosperity throughout the world.

HEADLINE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT INDICATORS THE TREASURY HAS RESPONSIBILITY FOR

  4.  The UK Sustainable Development Strategy A Better Quality of Life (1999) commits the Government to report annually on its progress towards achieving sustainable development. Progress is measured against the 15 headline indicators and 147 core indicators identified in the 1999 paper Quality of Life Counts.

  5.  The forthcoming Sustainable Development Annual Report sets out the indicators for which the Treasury has lead responsibility and those for which we make a significant contribution. The latest data demonstrates that the indicators for which the Treasury has lead responsibility are moving in the direction of meeting the Government's sustainable development objectives.

  6.  The Treasury has an important role to play in promoting sustainable development through the allocation of resources to departments during the spending review. Departments with a Public Service Agreement (PSA) have been requested to produce a Sustainable Development Report as part of their proposal to the Spending Review outlining the sustainable development implications of their department's priorities.

  7.  As the Treasury's ENV (G) minister the Financial Secretary is taking a lead role incorporating sustainable development into the Spending Review. Departmental progress has been reported through the ENV (G) committee meetings and the Financial Secretary will be holding a series of bilateral meetings to enable ministers to discuss the content of their department's sustainable development report.

  8.  Through its Aims, Objectives and Public Service Agreement (PSA) targets, the Treasury contributes directly to three of the Government's headline indicators:

  H1:  Economic Output (GDP).

  H3:  Employment (% of working age people in work).

  H4:  Poverty and social exclusion.

  Moreover, the Treasury substantially contributes, through its aims and objectives, to the indicator on investments (H2: Investment as % of GDP).

INTERNAL MECHANISM OF MONITORING CONTRIBUTION TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

  9.  The Government remains committed to environmental appraisal and evaluation of its Budget measures and makes available the methodologies underpinning the environmental appraisals which are published in its Budget document.

  10.  The Government will appraise all Budget measures which have a significant impact on the environment or serve an environmental purpose. This is in line with its own guidance on appraising and evaluating the effects of policy measures.

  11.  In line with its sustainable development policy, the Government ensures that policy design, appraisal and evaluation takes account of costs and benefits, the precautionary principle, and the need to make the polluter pay by internalising costs.

February 2002



 
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