CARDIFF: Social responsibility of Local authorities

 With the recent focus on economic matters, the failure of national governments to reach an accord in Copenhagen and the media-scandals around climate science, tackling Climate Change appears to have slipped down ‘things to do’ list over the last 18 months.  In 2000 Cardiff Council adopted a 5 year Local Sustainability Strategy to respond to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and the growing agenda on sustainable development. In 2005, both a Wales Audit Office Review of the Local Sustainability Strategy and an Environmental Scrutiny Committee task and finish group concluded that despite notable successes, the Council’s strategic approach to sustainable development needed to be redrawn. The main recommendations were to develop a high level Sustainable Development Policy with a SMART Action Plan underneath this.
Thus, the Council’s Sustainable Development Policy Statement was adopted in 2006 along with the first Sustainable Development Action Programme for 2006-09. The second version of the Sustainable Development Action Programme for 2009-12 has been developed during 2008 (section 5). The Action Programme is structured around the following topics:
Policy and Plans
Performance and Projects
Appraisal and Evidence
Physical Developments
Communication and Capacity Building
Targets may be set at an international level, but they will be delivered at a local level.  Cardiff Council has recognised that it can make a difference in a number of key areas, as a deliverer of services, for instance by reducing carbon emissions from the Council’s buildings, street lighting and municipal waste by 60% by 2018; as democratically elected city leaders, signing up to the ‘10:10’ campaign to reduce carbon emissions by 10% in 2010 and the European Commission’s Covenant of Mayors; as city developers through a sustainable planning approach, particularly relating to the impact of flooding and extreme weather events.
But also with an European dimension. Cardiff, who is twinned with Nantes among other cities currently holds the UK vice presidency of the Conference of Atlantic Arc Cities. Cities that decided to actively tackle climate change. In this context, Cardiff is coordinating a working group in Climate Change that not only allows Atlantic Cities to have an exchange forum, but also provides for innovative solutions, building on Cardiff’s successful experience.
For Atlantic Cities like Nantes or Vitoria Gasteiz, green urban strategies have been recognised with a “Green Capital” label, whose requirements can be found here.
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