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OFMDFM ‘Driving Investment through Sustainable Development’

12 March, 2008

Great economic and social development opportunities can be seized by pursuing a sustainable development agenda, said Sinn Féin Junior Minister Gerry Kelly.

Speaking at a Masterclass for senior civil servants and the private sector the Minister said:

"The Executive has agreed that our primary focus is on growing the economy and today's Masterclass will help us appreciate that sustainable development and economic growth are not incompatible ambitions.

"There needs to be a balance between prosperity, people, and our environment. We are building a society not only for ourselves, but for our children and our children's children. What this means is that we must ensure that all of our actions take account of their economic, social and environmental consequences.

"This moves sustainable development very clearly into focus and means that we must ensure that it is very clearly taken into account, requiring us to consider all the impacts of our policies and actions. We have therefore appointed Sustainable Development Champions in each department who have responsibility for co-ordinating actions and promoting awareness and for leading the sustainability agenda within their area of business."

The Masterclass, given by John Cridland, Deputy Director General of the CBI and Peter Hetherington of the Academy for Sustainable Communities to the Senior Civil Service, marks the opening of a comprehensive programme of sustainable development training by OFMDFM.

"Good progress has already been made in mainstreaming sustainability into daily life. Prominent communications campaigns have pushed issues like recycling and renewable energy production into the public agenda. In addition, sustainable development has been formally integrated into our revised curriculum for schools," Mr Kelly continued.

"In order to create a vibrant, long-term future for our young people, and a prosperous, healthy and safe society we must embrace the principles of sustainability in whatever we do and apply those principles in ways which deliver real benefits. Today we will consider how we can do that at the same time as creating opportunities for the private sector." ENDS

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