20/09/2002

Sustainable development does not mean 'sacrificing economic progress'

Recognising the importance of sustainable development does not mean sacrificing economic progress, the First and Deputy First Ministers said today.

David Trimble and Mark Durkan were speaking yesterday at the Ireland/Harvard Conference, themed 'Place, Partnership and Prosperity: Delivering Sustainable Development in the Belfast/Dublin Economic Corridor' held at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.

Addressing the conference, Mr Trimble said: “Delivering sustainable development is an issue for all societies, developing and developed. We cannot stand back and ignore the impact our pursuit of economic growth and regeneration has on the environment around us. That is why the Executive has adopted sustainable development as a key crosscutting theme to underpin the work and priorities set out in our Programme for Government."

Mr Durkan added: “In recent years we have seen many examples of regeneration in Belfast as our society gains greater stability and more confidence. Of course, regeneration and sustainable development is much broader than the built environment. It includes social regeneration through the building of community capacity, thereby giving individuals and groups the greater opportunity to promote self-development.

“The Belfast/Dublin economic corridor has the potential to provide benefits for all the people of Ireland. However, where such a magnet exists to attract businesses, we in government, North and South, must be conscious of the problems that could result from undue concentration of either investment in or population flow to that region.

"Public and private sectors must work together to strike the right balance and take forward the regeneration that is required.”

Mr Trimble concluded by adding Northern Ireland could learn from many events including the Johannesburg Summit, which he attended last month, on sustainable development.

(MB)

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