Hampshire County Council

Cabinet

1 June 2004

The Aalborg Commitments for Sustainable Development

Report of the Director of Environment

Item 7

Contact: Michael Hardy, ext 7895 email: michael.hardy@hants.gov.uk

1. Summary

1.1 The following decision is sought:

2. Reason

2.1 This decision supports the Corporate Strategy in its entirety.

3. Other Options Considered and Rejected

3.1 Not to become involved in the European Cities and Towns Towards Sustainability movement.

4. Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Decision Maker or Other Executive Member Consulted - None.

5. Dispensation granted by the Standards Committee - Not applicable.

6. Reason(s) for the Matter being dealt with if Urgent - Not applicable.

Approved by: .................................... Date: ...................................

Councillor T K Thornber

Hampshire County Council

Cabinet

1 June 2004

The Aalborg Commitments for Sustainable Development

Report of the Director of Environment

Contact: Michael Hardy, ext 7895 email: michael.hardy@hants.gov.uk

1. Summary

1.1 The Fourth European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns (Aalborg+10) takes place between 9 and 11 June 2004 in Aalborg, Denmark.

1.2 The Aalborg+10 conference provides an excellent opportunity for Hampshire County Council to become one of the principal signatories to the Aalborg Commitments which will be launched at this event.

1.3 The Aalborg Commitments are a milestone for Hampshire County Council and demonstrate its commitment to drive sustainable development in both the County Council itself, through the Corporate Strategy, and the community of Hampshire as a whole. The Aalborg Commitments will play a central role in energising and integrating sustainability into the Hampshire Community Strategy documents produced by the Hampshire Strategic Partnership. As more authorities sign up to the Commitments, they will bring the opportunity to develop consistency and continuity to the treatment of sustainable development in the Community Strategy process across Hampshire.

2. Background

2.1 The Charter of European Cities and Towns Towards Sustainability (known as The Aalborg Charter) was approved at the European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns in Aalborg, Denmark on 27 May 1994. It was originally aimed at promoting sustainability among urban administrations across Europe.

2.2 The Aalborg Charter has been updated and expanded and is being relaunched at the Aalborg+10 Conference from 9 to 11 June in Aalborg, Denmark as the Aalborg Commitments. The Aalborg Commitments are now aimed at all local government and see the role of local government in terms which the County Council would strongly support, eg:

2.3 The European Commission is strongly supportive of the Aalborg Commitments and sees them as a vehicle for local administrations to deliver the sustainability aspirations of the "Gothenburg Agenda" agreed in June 2001.

2.4 "Thinking globally, acting locally" describes the general thrust of the Aalborg Commitments and the themes within the commitments closely match the current objectives of the County Council.

2.5 Signatories to the Aalborg Commitments will:

3. Analysis

3.1 Signing up to the Aalborg Commitments would enable the County Council to become part of the principal group of local authorities across Europe tackling sustainability. This would be a good opportunity to demonstrate the County Council's desire to be in the forefront of activity that other local authorities are likely to follow.

3.2 The County Council can also learn from those experiencing similar challenges to its own, both for immediate concerns that may be emerging from the community strategy process, or in some cases from those currently experiencing conditions that Hampshire is likely to encounter within the next 15 to 20 years. Being in contact with those with similar objectives offers considerable potential benefits for informing future priority resource allocation decisions for the County Council.

3.3 The Aalborg Commitments present an excellent opportunity for providing a clear action-orientated approach for delivery of the overarching sustainability objectives of the County Council Corporate Strategy. Once committed the County Council should receive acclaim from the wider community by signifying it is aware of its collective responsibility towards ensuring the long-term sustainable future of services for the people of Hampshire.

3.4 The Aalborg Commitments, through an action orientated approach, provide the strings tying together the many different areas of service provision and the County Council will, by being a signatory, play a central role within Local Strategic Partnerships and the Hampshire Strategic Partnership in energising and integrating sustainability into local policy making.

3.5 The Aalborg Commitments bring an holistic focus to viewing the county as a single strategic unit, enabling Hampshire's important rural environments to be considered jointly with the significant urban environments in which most of Hampshire's population lives.

3.6 The opportunities and benefits as detailed above are also relevant to all local authorities in Southern England. It is understood that Southampton City Council, Surrey County Council and Essex County Council are looking at the benefits of becoming signatories to the Aalborg Commitments following the Aalborg +10 Conference in June.

3.7 The County Council is in a promising position with an enlightened approach to sustainability within its many existing objectives that could already contribute most of the specific actions required to achieve the Aalborg Commitments.

3.8 The Corporate Strategy reflects the requirement for a corporate approach to sustainability becoming a part of all decisions made across the County Council. The Corporate Sustainable Development Strategy currently provides the mechanism to enable the County Council to undertake its own activities in a sustainable way.

3.9 Being a signatory to the Aalborg Commitments would give visible emphasis to the County Council's corporate commitment to sustainable development.

4. Conclusion

4.1 The Aalborg Commitments link local authorities with a common goal and will help foster new relationships with other local administrations from across Europe.

4.2 The Aalborg Commitments do not significantly increase the resource need above those already devoted by the County Council to working towards local sustainability, whilst additionally offering the County Council a chance to demonstrate local achievements that apply to internationally desirable goals.

4.3 The County Council, by becoming a signatory, will become involved in a very extensive movement across Europe, with the potential of receiving information on how other local authorities deal with current or potential future problems being faced in Hampshire. It is seen, therefore, as a valuable information sharing tool to help inform policy decision makers to the benefit of the entire community of Hampshire.

Recommendation

That authority be given for Hampshire County Council to sign the Aalborg Commitments, the final terms of which to be agreed at the Fourth European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns, Aalborg, Denmark, between 9 and 11 June 2004.

Section 100 D - Local Government Act 1972 - background papers

The following documents disclose facts or matters on which this report, or an important part of it, is based and has been relied upon to a material extent in the preparation of this report.

NB the list excludes:

1.

Published works.

2.

Documents which disclose exempt or confidential information as defined in the Act.

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