NRW report sets out pathway to a sustainable future for Wales

Transforming the way we all live our lives is vital if Wales is to address the climate and nature emergencies it faces.

This is the call to action emerging from a milestone report launched by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) today (27 January 2021).

The State of Natural Resources Report 2020 (SoNaRR2020) is the evidence base that assesses how sustainable is the management of natural resources in Wales.

Using the very latest information and research available, it builds upon the findings of the first report published in 2016 whilst taking a fresh look at the challenges facing the Welsh environment now and in the future.

It also sets out an ambition to bridge the gap from where we are now to where we need to be to achieve Wales’ aspirations for sustainable living.

The report explains how the well-being of both people and the planet are intertwined, setting out how Wales could deliver environmental change through transforming the systems we all use to support our lifestyles.

It suggests that redesigning the energy, transport and food systems could help society to live within its environmental capacity and address the pressures causing the nature and climate emergencies.

By re-assessing the individual actions we take, making pro-environmental behaviours the easiest choice, and taking opportunities for systems change through policy development, SoNaRR2020 presents real opportunity for change.

These changes could include:

  • Reducing food waste
  • Promoting sustainable agricultural and agroecological practices that work with nature
  • Better urban design and planning such as connecting green spaces
  • Setting aside more space for nature
  • Moving towards low carbon and renewable energy
  • Redesigning the transport system as a whole, around sustainable options

Sir David Henshaw, Natural Resources Wales Chairman said;

“As part of our ongoing commitment to taking a greener pathway out of the global Covid-19 pandemic, we must also seize the opportunity to re-imagine how we use global natural resources more sustainably to address the dual threats of the climate and nature emergencies.

“SoNaRR2020 is the evidence base for Wales’s sustainable management of natural resources. And, it provides a platform to collaborate about the part we can all play in that. We still have time to change course towards sustainability, but we need to act now and do so as a society working together.

“Our latest report was created with a concerted effort between NRW and our partners. We’ve worked with the business, public and environmental sectors to make this a robust and wide-reaching report. It holds the keys to unlocking how we can make Wales a sustainable society for us all so that we can live happy, healthy lives in a waythat considers the needs of the environment”.

Welsh Government will use SoNaRR2020 to inform policy development for managing the natural environment.

Welcoming the report, Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said:

“As we continue to face the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, we in Welsh Government have repeatedly committed ourselves to an environmentally-responsible response to the pandemic, and this is our opportunity to focus on a green recovery during this challenging time.

“At this critical moment, the SoNaRR report gives us a comprehensive set of evidence on the state and trends of Wales’ natural resources and ecosystems, as well as looking at how we’re achieving in terms of sustainable management.

“It also gives us the opportunity to discuss the part we all have to play in improving the resilience of our ecosystems, so we can ensure they support the well-being of generations to come.

“As such, it plays a key role in how we understand the challenges we face, and what more we can do to safeguard the environment in a globally responsible way – and I would like to thank Natural Resources Wales and other partners for all of their work in producing the report.”

The official launch of SoNaRR2020 will be delivered virtually on 27 January 2021.

It will be opened by the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths and will include contributions from NRW Chief Executive Clare Pillman, the SoNaRR2020 project team and representatives from SoNaRR2020 partners who contributed to the report.

Read more about the report here.