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Western Isles Quality Of Life Initiative

Introduction

The Western Isles Quality of Life Initiative was set up to look at ways of improving the quality of life of today’s residents without using resources that future generations may need. In other words, becoming more sustainable.

Background to the Initiative - Rio 1992

In 1992 the United Nations held an “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro about Environment and Development following concerns about the way the world’s natural resources were being depleted. Leaders from almost every nation attended this summit, and at it they each signed an agreement called Agenda 21. This was basically a series of commitments regarding biodiversity, sustainable development and the environment.

After the Rio summit, the UK government produced it’s first National Sustainable Development Strategy which is essentially an action plan for sustainable development in the 21st Century. This reflected the point of view that sustainable development should be embraced and incorporated into policies, as a way of preserving the quality of life and environment for ourselves and future generations.
Local Agenda 21 is the process of developing local policies for sustainable development and building partnerships between local authorities and other sectors to implement them. Local Agenda 21 brings global measures for sustainability to a local level and should involve engagement of local communities in bringing forward and implementing local projects. The local agenda 21 in Western Isles is known as the Western Isles Quality of Life Initiative.

Rio + 10 – Johannesburg

As a follow up to the Earth Summit in Rio de Janerio, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) took place in Johannesburg in September 2002. This summit brought together tens of thousands of participants, including heads of State and Government, national delegates and leaders from non-governmental organisations, businesses and other major groups to direct the world's attention toward meeting difficult challenges, including improving people's lives and conserving our natural resources in a world that is growing in population, with ever-increasing demands for food, water, shelter, sanitation, energy, health services and economic security.

For more information about the Johannesburg summit go to www.earthsummit2002.org.

Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is defined as "meeting the needs and aspirations of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." It covers economic and social issues as well as environmental ones - all important elements when considering quality of life. Tackling social, environmental and economic issues together is what sustainable development is all about.

Sustainable Development involves re-thinking some of the ways in which we currently use our resources. For example, the world's reserves of coal and oil are finite and the supply reduces as we use them. Therefore we need to consider alternative ways to produce the energy needed to fuel our transport, industries and heating systems. 'Renewable' energy sources, ie those that won't run out, include the sun, wind and water.

Some people live with the constant worry of how to make ends meet financially. Others suffer from poor health, perhaps depression stemming from money worries. Improving health and eliminating poverty are equally important in becoming more sustainable. Take a look at what the Community Well Being Forum and the Local Economic forums are doing in Western Isles.

Good health, financial security and the ability to have a say in decision-making are the individuals own resources. Lets work together to achieve these for everyone living in the Western Isles.

 



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