APRS Resources

Wellbeing and Sustainable Development Bill – Letter

This is a letter from Scottish Environment LINK members to the new Deputy First Minister about the Wellbeing and Sustainable Development Bill.

Dear Deputy First Minister 

Wellbeing and Sustainable Development (Scotland) Bill 

On behalf of a diverse group of organisations interested in furthering wellbeing and sustainable  development in Scotland, we would like to extend our congratulations on your appointment as  Deputy First Minister. 

We are writing to express our collective support for the government’s commitment to introducing a  Wellbeing and Sustainable Development (Scotland) Bill (WSD Bill). As organisations working to  promote the wellbeing of individuals, communities, and the environment, both here and globally,  we firmly believe that such legislation is essential to create a more equitable, resilient, and  sustainable Scotland. 

This Bill would help to ensure actions in Scotland contribute to the betterment of wellbeing, both  here in Scotland and elsewhere, as we navigate out of converging global crises. By enshrining  principles of sustainable development and wellbeing in law, we can ensure that they are considered  in all policy decisions, while also giving clarity to how public bodies and other actors deliver policy on  the ground to support a positive impact on the wellbeing of people and the planet. 

This legislation should define sustainable development and make it a statutory requirement for all  public bodies and local authorities in Scotland to take full account of the short and long-term  sustainable development impact of their decisions, both in Scotland and elsewhere. The legislation  should also relocate and strengthen the duties on Ministers and public bodies relating to the  National Outcomes so that they more clearly drive policy and spending decisions. This would include  requirements to produce delivery plans, engage in meaningful and ongoing public engagement,  ensure regular and accessible reporting on progress and strengthen the links between the National  Outcomes and the Scottish Budget. Ultimately, we believe this legislation can be world leading and  help us ensure the National Outcomes become the golden thread underpinning public life in  Scotland.  

We would therefore like to emphasise the significance of connecting the ongoing review of the  National Outcomes to the development of the WSD Bill. The legislation can provide the necessary 

foundation and guidance to ensure that the next iteration of the National Performance Framework  truly becomes Scotland’s ‘National Wellbeing Framework’ and fulfils its role as our localised delivery  mechanism for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By doing so, it will contribute to the  realisation of our shared vision for a thriving Scotland that considers the local and global implications  of decisions and actions, both now and in the future. 

Lastly, we would like to underline our support for the introduction of an independent Wellbeing and  Sustainable Development or Future Generations Commissioner to support implementation of the  Bill. Such a Commissioner would: 

• be placed on statutory footing as part of the WSD Bill to signal the importance the  Government places on sustainable development and the wellbeing of current and future  generations; 

• provide a space for learning to coalesce; 

• help build the capacity of public bodies and support them to understand and implement  duties relating to sustainable development and the delivery of the National Outcomes; • monitor the implementation of sustainable development duties through scrutiny and  investigative powers; 

• assess delivery of the National Outcomes and address the implementation gap; • be an ambassador to engage the wider public, and provide advice and scrutiny to the  Scottish Government. 

Above all, the creation of a new Commissioner would support a shift towards long-termism in policy  making. Current political structures reward short-term policy interventions, even when they incur  future costs, on health, the environment and so on. By bringing a future generations lens to decision  making, a Commissioner could help to embed the principles of long-termism, and as such should be  seen as an investment in prevention, not a cost. 

Once again, congratulations on your new role, and we look forward to working together to promote  the wellbeing and sustainable development agenda. We would be delighted to have the opportunity  to meet with you and discuss these matters further, allowing us to explore how our collective efforts  can create a positive and transformative impact for people everywhere and the planet. 

Yours sincerely, 

Action to Protect Rural Scotland (APRS) 

Bat Conservation Trust 

Butterfly Conservation 

Carnegie UK 

CEMVO Scotland 

Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management 

Christian Aid 

Community Enterprise in Scotland 

Corra Foundation 

Emma Sedgwick – Rural Communications 

Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland 

Ethnic Minority Environmental Network 

Friends of the Earth Scotland 

Generations Working Together 

Global Justice Now

Marine Conservation Society 

National Trust for Scotland 

NCD Alliance Scotland 

One Parent Families Scotland 

Overstory Finance 

Oxfam Scotland 

Quakers in Scotland 


Scotland CAN B 

Scotland’s International Development Alliance Scottish Community Safety Network 

Scottish Fair Trade Forum 

Scottish Wildlife Trust 

SCVO (Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations) THAW Orkney 

The Froglife Trust 

The Poverty Alliance 

Transform Scotland 

University of Strathclyde Centre for Sustainable Development Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland

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