At their inception in 1998, Regional Development Agencies were tasked with five key purposes to further economic development within their regions, one of which was to “contribute to the achievement of sustainable development”. One of the aims of Northwest Development Agency (NWDA) was therefore to grow and develop the economy of the region whilst minimising any negative environmental and social impacts of that growth.
The NWDA adopted a regional leadership role in each of the workstreams, forming strong partnerships with other regional governance organisations; primarily Government Office Northwest; Northwest Regional Assembly (later 4NW) and the Environment Agency, but also the region’s other public, private and voluntary sector bodies. Each workstream formed its own partnership structures with wider networks to develop and deliver their strategies, policies and work programmes. Internally, all of this work was overseen by a sub-committee of the main NWDA Board. The sub-committee was unusual in being the only one which permitted attendance by external representatives of other regional organisations.
The work of the regional partners was undertaken within four work-streams, recognising the overlaps and interactions between them:
- Sustainable Consumption and Production
- Energy and Environmental Technologies Sector Development
- Environmental Quality
There was, and still is, a real need and opportunity for new ideas and innovative approaches to economic development which engender resilience and sustainability as core values.