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Departing Chair Derek Osborn Wins Prestigious Award

At the Cynnal Cymru Board Meeting on 20th November 2018, Derek Osborn, stepped down from his role as Chair after supporting the charity for five years during which he steered the organisation through a period of change to their current position as a financially independent charity. Gary Brace was nominated as his successor and Mr Osborn was pleased that the role was passed on to someone with the experience and passion to lead Cynnal Cymru through their new and exciting chapter.

Derek Osborn was given the Special Recognition Award at this years’ Sustainable Academy Awards, which was presented to him by his successor. The Award is given to individuals who have dedicated their professional life to furthering the agenda and the embedding of Sustainable Development. The award was to recognise more than his unfailing commitment to Cynnal Cymru; it was also in recognition of decades of tireless work towards making sustainable development part of every nation.  It was an honour for Cynnal Cymru and RenewableUK Cymru to celebrate Mr Osborn’s far reaching achievements which were well illustrated by Gary Brace in his speech: ‘His footprint in the sand of sustainability is that of a giant’.

In the early 1990s, Derek Osborn was the top civil servant in the Department of the Environment, where he was responsible for Sustainable Development (SD) policy, for the negotiations that led to the adoption of Agenda 21 and the Climate Change Convention at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, and for the creation of the UK’s Sustainable Development Strategy which was a global first. He was co-Chairman of the negotiations for the UN General Assembly Special Session held five years after the Rio Earth Summit.

A decade ago, he was spending part of his week in Brussels as the UK’s appointed member to the European Economic and Social Committee and was the first Chairman of their newly created European SD Observatory. He was an expert adviser to that Committee on Sustainable Development issues including the preparation of the Rio Plus 20 Earth Summit in 2012 and its follow-up.

In the business sector, he has been a Non-Executive Director of Severn Trent plc and a member of Dwr Cymru Welsh Water’ Glas Cymru board and has been a member of Tarmac PLC’s Environment Advisory Panel.

In the voluntary sector he has been President of the Stakeholder Forum; an NGO which is the liaison point between international bodies in the environment and development fields. He was one time President of the National Society for Clean Air and Environmental Protection, and has been an advisor to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, a visiting fellow at Green College Oxford and visiting Professor at University College London.

Gary Brace, the new Chair of Cynnal Cymru said:

“It was a brilliant occasion to pay a public tribute to Derek Osborn who has chaired Cynnal Cymru for the last five years, guiding us to become the leading organisation for sustainable development in Wales. It is no exaggeration to say that Derek’s footprint in the sand of sustainability is that of a giant. His contribution to sustainable development at the highest level both internationally and nationally stretches back many decades. It was huge honour for me to present Derek with the Special Recognition Award.”

Mari Arthur, Director of Cynnal Cymru said:

“We have been fortunate at Cynnal to have a Chair of such calibre, experience and passion. Derek has believed in us where many wouldn’t and has seen Cynnal through a difficult time of transition from a wholly funded charity, to one that generates its own income and then through a new partnership with WCVA.

That Cynnal Cymru is still here and contributing to sustainable development projects throughout Wales is largely due to Derek’s leadership. I would like to personally thank our whole Board and Derek’s stewardship in particular, without which our small charity would not now be having such a big impact on making Wales a sustainable nation.

Derek has been an inclusive Chair and has become a good friend of the whole team.”