Posts By: Graham Smith

Audit Committee report on Government’s lack of ambition on SDGs

The House of Commons Audit Committee recently published its report Sustainable Development Goals in the UK. The Committee is critical of the Government’s lack of ambition in embedding the SDGs. Throughout the report, the Committee refers to recommendations from the evidence provided by FDSD, particularly on the need for Cabinet-level leadership, partnership working and transparent reporting.

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Local authorities should involve local community groups much more in climate resilience

The Urban Heat project has released its final report highlighting the distinctive and largely untapped potential of the local voluntary and community group sector (VCS) in the developm ent of local climate resilience and emergency response. On the basis of three local participatory action research case studies, the report provides a range of ideas –...

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Environmental Audit Committee critical of Treasury’s short-termism

Early in November, the House of Common’s Environmental Audit Committee produced a damning report on the Treasury’s influence on sustainability policy in the UK. The Audit Committee was able to marshal considerable evidence that “the Treasury has ridden roughshod over other departments’ objectives, changing and cancelling long-established environmental policies and projects at short notice with...

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For the Next Generations | Paula Tiihonen

To mark her retirement as the Counsel for the Committe for the Future in the Finish Parliament, Paula Tiihonen brought together a group of significant thinkers and doers for an international seminar on ‘Work for the Next Generation’. A report bringing together contributions from the seminar has now been published. FDSD wishes Paula a happy...

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The courts, the government and air pollution

  This week we have seen the UK government lose twice in the courts – once on air pollution and then on Article 50 to formally start the Brexit process. While there are voices questioning why in a democracy the courts should be able to overturn government decisions, the judgement on air quality highlights the...

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The unedifying Brexit debate: learning lessons from across the pond

  Whether you were for or against Brexit, most would agree that the referendum campaign was far from instructive. It brought out the worst in British politics: primarily two sets of over-privileged, middle-aged white males throwing opinions, thinly disguised as ‘facts’, and insults at each other. It was hard to hear any of the diverse...

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The EU Referendum, Democracy and Sustainable Development

Graham Smith is Professor of Politics at the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster and a specialist in democratic innovation and citizen engagement, with a particular interest in climate politics and the representation of future generations. He is the Chair of FDSD’s Board of Trustees. Britain is about to make a fundamental...

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Floods, community resilience and the “civic middle”: learning lessons from Leeds

The floods that hit wide areas of the UK at the end of last year were devastating for many communities. In many places local crisis management was found wanting. But in Leeds, the spontaneously self-organised volunteering infrastructures were exemplary in their response. In a thorough and insightful assessment of Leeds’ post-flood response, written for the...

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Runciman on democratic politics and climate change

How to sustain democratic politics in the face of climate change? This is the central challenge raised by David Runciman, Professor of Politics at the University of Cambridge in this review essay of recent books on climate politics originally published by the London Review of Books. Runciman guides us through the ongoing debate between two...

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