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Sustainable Development Wind Turbines
'Promoting sustainable development and poverty reduction underpinned by human rights, democracy, good governance and protection of the environment'

Active Diplomacy for a Changing World: The UK's International Priorities (the FCO's White Paper, published in March 2006).


What is sustainable development?

Sustainable development is 'development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs' (the Brundtland report, 1987). The goal of sustainable development is to enable all people throughout the world to satisfy their basic needs and enjoy a good quality of life, without compromising the quality of life of future generations.

For more information about what sustainable development is see the Government's sustainable development website or the Sustainable Development Commission’s site.

UK sustainable development policy

Sustainable development is at the heart of the UK's domestic and international policies. The UK Government's Sustainable Development Strategy – Securing the Future – was launched by the Former Prime Minister in March 2005. It sets out four priority areas:

  • Sustainable consumption and production
  • Climate change and energy
  • Natural resource protection and environmental enhancement
  • Sustainable communities.

Action in these priority areas will be based on five principles for sustainable development:

  • Living within environmental limits
  • Ensuring a strong, healthy and just society
  • Achieving a sustainable economy
  • Promoting good governance
  • Using sound science responsibly

The FCO Sustainable Development Action Plan

The FCO SD Action Plan was published in January 2007 to complement the SD Strategy (see below). The Plan focuses on the specific actions we will take up to March 2008 to achieve the objectives of the Strategy.

PDF The FCO Sustainable Development Action Plan, January 2007.  (PDF, 2MB)

You can also see our strategy framework for Partnership with Stakeholders for Corporate Social Responsibility, Trade Unions and Business.


The FCO Sustainable Development Strategy

The FCO Sustainable Development Strategy was published in March 2005. It provides a framework for the FCO's work on sustainable development from 2005 to 2008 and sets out how the FCO will help deliver the UK's international priorities on sustainable development.
PDF Summary version of Strategy  (PDF, 126 KB)
PDF FCO Sustainable Development Strategy  (PDF, 1 MB)

Achievements so far

In March 2006 we carried out a review of progress towards the targets and objectives in our Strategy and produced a summary of the key achievements so far.
PDF Review of Progress: Key Achievements  (PDF, 211 KB)

Audit of the FCO Sustainable Development Strategy

In November 2006 the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) completed an audit of our SD Strategy and progress to date. The SDC is the UK's watchdog on sustainable development and assesses government's progress in achieving the aims set out in Securing the Future. Their assessment of our Strategy can be summarised as good with some improvement needed. Their full report is available below, along with executive and super-executive summaries.

PDF Sustainable Development Commission - Full Report, November 2006  (PDF, 412K)
PDF Sustainable Development Commission - Executive summary, November 2006  (PDF, 97K)
PDF Sustainable Development Commission - Super executive summary, November 2006  (PDF, 36K)

The FCO's Sustainable Development Work

Use the links below to find out more about what we're doing to promote sustainable development, and how we work:

  • The FCO's Sustainable Development Programme, under the Global Opportunities Fund
  • Environmental governance and natural resources
  • Forestry and illegal logging
  • Sustainable tourism
  • Action through the UN
  • Action through the EU
  • Priority countries
  • Environmental management on our own estate
  • Strategy Launched

    The Sustainable Development Strategy is available for you to download in both full and summary versions.

    FCO Sustainable Development Strategy...

    It sets out how the FCO will help deliver the UK's international priorities on sustainable development.