Skip to content

Sustainable development could drive decision-making in Scotland 

The Scottish Government has opened a consultation on a Wellbeing & Sustainable Development Bill (WSD) for Scotland.

This presents an important opportunity for those of us concerned with creating a fairer world, because the new legislation would mean public bodies need to consider wellbeing and sustainable development in all of their decisions. Definitions of wellbeing and sustainable development would be embedded in law for clarity for everyone. The legislation could also introduce a Future Generations Commissioner for Scotland, who would scrutinise decisions, provide support, and promote the concepts of wellbeing and sustainable development. As our members will know, SIDA has been campaigning for such a bill for some time, and have outlined what we think it should include in this report

We need your help

However, much depends on how sustainable development is defined and the current proposals don’t clearly take into account those outside Scotland. The proposed definition is: “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” By simply including ‘across the world’ after ‘future generations’ we would be more clearly acknowledging that our decisions impact upon those around the world, and they must be taken into account. 

The proposals also do not reference policy coherence for sustainable development, which is crucial if we want joined-up policymaking which links global and domestic priorities, alongside human and environmental wellbeing.  

SIDA is working with other organisations interested in furthering wellbeing and sustainable development in Scotland, to create some guidance for responding to the consultation. We’re hoping our members will join us in pushing for clear consideration of those outside of Scotland’s borders in what could be transformative legislation for Scotland. We’ll be sharing the guidance in our January newsletter and you have until 14th February to respond to the consultation. 

Get involved!

The Scottish Government are hosting a series of workshops to discuss the consultation. We’d encourage members to go along and ask whether a global dimension can be added to the bill. Raising this point at these workshops as well as in the written consultation will help let the government know that this is a widespread concern, and may encourage other attendees to include a global aspect in their own responses.  

Scottish Government workshop dates & times

16/01/2024: 09:30 – 11:30 
16/01/2024: 14:00 – 16:30
17/01/2024: 14:00 – 16:00
18/01/2024: 09:30 – 11:30
23/01/2024: 09:30 – 11:30
24/01/2024: 14:00 – 16:00
25/01/2024: 09:30 – 11:30
25/01/2024: 14:00 – 16:00
30/01/2024: 14:00 – 16:00 
31/01/2024: 09:30 – 11:30
31/01/2024: 14:00 – 16:00
01/02/2024: 09:30 – 11:30
01/02/2024: 14:00 – 16:00

If you’d like to attend one of the workshops send your three preferred session times to:  

More information

If you have any thoughts on the consultation or would like to find out more about our work on this contact Louise:

Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest news, events, resources and funding updates.

Sign up now