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Last Updated: Monday, 22 March, 2004, 06:54 GMT
Leaders debate global policies
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The assembly plans to cut carbon emissions by 20% by 2020
The forward-thinking policies of the Welsh assembly will be outlined to hundreds of delegates at a high profile conference in Cardiff later.

The assembly is one of only three governments which has adopted sustainable development as part of its constitution.

The policies are based on meeting needs without compromising the future.

Around 400 representatives from regional governments around the world are expected at the four-day event.

During the conference at the city hall delegates from 35 regions will share information about the practicalities of sustainable development policies.

They will debate issues such as trade, tourism, food production and local government.

There is no viable alternative to developing in a sustainable way, and it must be tackled on a global scale
Rhodri Morgan

Speaking ahead of the event, First Minister Rhodri Morgan, said: "At the heart of sustainable development is the simple idea of ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come.

"There is no viable alternative to developing in a sustainable way, and it must be tackled on a global scale.

"It is an area where regional, rather than national, governments, are making the most progress.

"This is perhaps because regional governments such as ours in Wales are close enough to the people to match our actions to the needs of the people while being strategic enough to make the links between areas of policy.

"As devolution and decentralisation become more common, so too I hope will the reality of a sustainable future. "

Sustainable development policies aim to take full account of the social, economic and environmental impact of decisions over the long-term.

One of the areas which the assembly has identified as an sustainable development issue is climate change and the reduction of emissions.

The assembly have set an ambition to achieve a 20% reduction in net carbon emissions by 2020 and will be monitoring the results to show what progress has been made in Wales.

Global warming and the need to limit climate change and preparing for changes that cannot be averted has also been identified as one of the key challenges by the European Union.

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