Newcastle reaffirms sustainable development goals on 25th anniversary milestone

02 Aug 2022

The 25th anniversary of an historic declaration signed in Newcastle to pursue sustainable development was marked before representatives from Hunter businesses, not-for-profit, local and state government today.

The Newcastle Declaration was endorsed at the Pathways to Sustainability International Conference hosted by City of Newcastle in June 1997, and signed by former Newcastle Lord Mayor Greg Heys, as well as representatives from the International Union of Local Authorities, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI,) Australian Local Government Association.

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The Declaration made its way around the world, being presented to the United Nations at the 1997: Rio +5 Conference in New York.

The acknowledgement of its 25-year milestone came during today's meeting of the Hunter Region Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Collaboration Group, which works together on ways to achieve the United Nations' goals across the region.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said City of Newcastle remained committed to the objectives laid out in the original Newcastle Declaration.

“It is important to recognise this significant milestone and the actions of our former leaders who were forward thinking for their time in responding to the challenge of establishing sustainable management practices with the Newcastle Declaration,” Cr Nelmes said.

“As a result, City of Newcastle is now a leader in this space and over the past 25 years has successfully achieved economic, social, cultural and ecological goals by integrating sustainability into the design and implementation of our policies, programs and projects.

"City of Newcastle was the first local government in NSW to switch to 100 per cent renewable electricity supply, with our 5-megawatt solar farm and a power purchase agreement with the Sapphire Wind Farm.

“By meeting together with local businesses, government representatives, and not-for-profit organisations that are also committed to sustainable development initiatives, we will collaborate on ways we can bring the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals to life in Greater Newcastle for an environmentally sustainable future."

Lincoln Hawkins reflected on the Pathways to Sustainability International Conference in 1997 as the Conference Chair and acknowledged the collective work of all those involved in the Newcastle Declaration.

“The Pathways Conference was held during a crossroads in the 1990s - a very significant time in Newcastle with the 1997 Bicentenary," Mr Hawkins said.

"The Newcastle Declaration was agreed on behalf of towns and cities around the world, who took a major step toward embracing the global challenge of sustainability at a local level.

"The challenges and opportunities faced then are clearly no less important today. Their legacy continues to play a critical leadership role in showing us how to successfully transition to sustainability."

CN is a proud long-standing member of ICLEI and is committed to the requirements of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, has taken the Cities Race to Zero Pledge, and recently endorsed The Malmo Commitment.