The First Decade List According to Key Subject Areas





Youth & Lifelong Learning

Older People

The Economy

Health and Social Care

Social Justice

Equality and Human Rights





Sport and Culture


The Welsh Language

Welsh Law

Wales and the World

Introduction to the 'What They've Done For Us'  list 




Wales and the World

The First Decade

Welcome to Aled Edwards' "What They've Done For Us" Wales and the World list. Written a little in the style of Monty Python's Life of Brian "What have the Romans done for us?"  the list aims to provide a reliable record of the distinctive Welsh policies brought about by devolution (1999-2009). Beyond underlining the distinctiveness of Welsh policies no substantive attempt is made here to evaluate the performance of Welsh Assembly Governments or to list the policies brought about by other UK legislatures but not adopted in Wales. The dates in brackets normally indicate when the development was announced by the Welsh Assembly Government through a press release.

Third Assembly 2007 - 2009


Children in hospitals and schools in New York were treated to special one-off private screenings of the cartoon version of A Child’s Christmas in Wales thanks to the Welsh Assembly Government office in New York. (December 2008).


Helped Wales celebrate its first Christmas as a Fair Trade nation during a visit by the First Minister to Fair do’s/ Siopa Teg in Canton, Cardiff. (December 2008).


Wales’ Minister for the Environment, represented Wales at crucial UN talks in Poland to thrash out a new deal on climate change. (December 2008).


Signed an international deal to help African regions to fight climate change. The agreement, between the Assembly Government and the United Nations Development Programme, helped regional governments in Africa to create their own climate change action plans – and gain the expertise to bid for the funds to deliver them. (November 2008).


Highlighted the strong links between Wales and Lesotho at a reception in Cardiff to welcome King Letsie III of Lesotho on his first visit to Wales. (November 2008).


Welcomed the President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves to the Senedd. (October 2008).


Welcomed the The Hon. Nyombi Thembo, Minister of State in the Ugandan Government responsible for the Luwero Triangle of Uganda to Wales. (October 2008).


Welcomed delegates from the International Forum on Child Welfare to Cardiff. (September 2008).


An independent panel agreed in June 2008, that the Wales Fair Trade Forum, funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, could announce that Wales is a Fair Trade Nation.  The Welsh Assembly Government congratulated the Wales Fair Trade Forum on this achievement. Over 60% of people in Wales recognised the Fair Trade Mark and knew what it means representing an increase of 44% from November 2006. (June 2008).


Met two Welsh volunteers, who left Wales to work in Africa for two months, as part of a new Welsh Assembly Government international and skills development programme. They were chosen as part of the first group of seven Welsh volunteers to travel to sub-Saharan Africa to take part in the International Learning Opportunities programme, funded by the Wales for Africa framework. (February 208).


Announced that the best of Welsh culture would be on show at a major Washington D.C festival held during Independence Day celebrations in 2009. The annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival will see over 100 Welsh artists, performers and cultural scholars cross the Atlantic to take part. (November 2007).


Announced on the eve of World Poverty Day the launch of a groundbreaking project placing Wales at the forefront of a global pilot programme building community development and twinning links with Sub-Saharan Africa. Funded by the Welsh Assembly Government’s Wales for Africa Framework and managed by Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) the Gold Star project was expected to reflect considerable benefits to Welsh communities as well as to Africa. (October 2007).

        Second Assembly 2003 - 2007

bullet First Minister visited the Republic of Latvia to further build on links between both countries following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding more than two years previously. (October 2006).
bullet Launched the Wales for Africa initiative. (October 2006).
bullet Announced that Wales would host one of the world’s major conferences on holography, attracting some of the top scientists, technologists, artists and specialist holographic companies from across the globe. The 7th International Symposium on Display Holography would take place at Technium OpTIC, St Asaph, North Wales – part of the Welsh Assembly Government’s pan-Wales Technium network – between the 10-14 July 2006. (June 2006).
bullet The Welsh Assembly Government provided a grant of £214,00 over three years (from 2005-06)  to Dolen Cymru enabling them to offer professional development opportunities for teachers from Wales in Lesotho, and for teachers from Lesotho to visit Wales. (May 2006).
bullet Welcomed the initiative by the UNESCO Cymru-Wales to actively support the UN Freedom of the Press Day on 3 May 2006.
bullet Taxi drivers in the Russian capital celebrated St David's Day by handing out 3,500 daffodils and a card containing information about Wales to their customers. The promotion, which was supported by Moscow's famous taxi company, New Yellow Taxis, was initiated by WalesTrade International, the Welsh Assembly’s overseas trade arm, as part of a campaign to promote Wales around the world. (March 2006).
bullet Launched a consultation on how Wales could play a bigger role in international development, and provide a response to international emergencies. (December 2005).
bullet Welcomed a Canadian delegation to Cardiff for the annual Canada-UK Colloquium. (November 2005).
bullet First Minister accepted the nomination to serve as President of the European Regions with Legislative Powers (REGLEG) organisation for 2006. (November 2005).
bullet Marked the 140th anniversary of the first Welsh settlers arriving in Patagonia by carrying out a number of visits in the country. (November 2005).
bullet Stressed the need for people to continue supporting survivors of the South Asian earthquake. (October 2005).
bullet Offered a warm welcome to Foreign Ministers from all 25 European Union member states, as Wales hosted one of the most prestigious events in the European Presidency calendar. (September 2005).
bullet First Minister Rhodri Morgan addressed one of the biggest gatherings of overseas diplomats ever held in Wales at the Diplomat Magazine conference in the National Museum and Galleries in Cardiff. (June  2005).
bullet Celebrated the first anniversary of Cardiff as a Fairtrade City in March 2005.
bullet The Welsh Assembly Government is a co-founding member of the International Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development (nrg4SD) which was formed at the World Summit on SD in Johannesburg in 2002. The network includes a balance of members from developed and developing countries.
bullet The First Minister invited representatives of Tsunami-hit countries and aid agencies to join him at the Tsunami Relief Concert. His guests included the High Commissioner of the Maldives, representatives of the Malaysian High Commission and Indonesian Embassy, the Chief Executive of the Disaster Emergencies Committee and representatives of Oxfam, CAFOD, Save the Children, Action Aid, British Red Cross and Christian Aid. (January 2005).
bullet Business and government representatives from five new EU Member states gathered at the Assembly Government's European Structural Funds 2000-2006 Conference in Swansea to see how European funding was transforming the social and economic landscape of Wales (May 2004).
bullet Wales and the Republic of Latvia united in an historic co-operation agreement within days of Latvia joining the European Union. (May 2004).
bullet First Minister Rhodri Morgan took a leading role in the European Commission’s Cohesion Forum  where political leaders from all levels of government across the European Union gathered to discuss the future of regional development in Europe after 2006. (May 2004).
bullet Business and government representatives from five new EU member states gathered in Swansea to learn how European Structural Funds are transforming the social and economic landscape of Wales. (May 2004).
bullet Announced funding for projects totalling £30,000 for Higher Education Institutions in Wales to develop links with Cuban institutions. (May 2004).
bullet The Wales International Centre in New York was officially opened. (March 2004).
bullet Signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Polish region of Silesia in October 2004 and also MoU with Brittany in January 2004.
bullet Hosted a summit meeting of the British-Irish Council at the Museum of Welsh Life, St Fagans. (November 2003).
bullet Welsh Education and Lifelong Learning Minister appointed Vice-President of the European Association which is taking forward developments in the important field of lifelong learning. (September 2003).
bullet The First Minister welcomed the then European Commission for Regional Policy, Michel Barnier, to Wales to see first-hand how Structural Funds Programmes 2000-2006 were delivering for the Welsh economy and its people (September 2003).

        First Assembly 1999 - 2003

bullet Encouraged the Department of International Development to take a more active role and interest in Wales, especially in supporting the educational aspects of international development in schools.
bullet Set up the all party Wales Overseas Agencies Group on international development. In giving evidence to the Richard Commission it was stated that  WOAG agencies had successfully changed their approaches since 1999 so as to relate to the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG). This is because they were convinced that the National Assembly's remit is relevant to their international aims and priorities. Examples of where they had influence on the Assembly's business were: the first St David's Day debate, on the subject of International Debt; evidence to Assembly Subject Committees on Education for Sustainable Development, Global Citizenship, and Asylum and Immigration issues; input into plenary debates on Afghanistan, HIV/AIDS, Fair Trade, Development Education, Sustainable Development, and Asylum Seekers and Refugees; the setting-up in April 2001 of the All Party Group and briefings to the First Minister prior to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, plus joint events held in Johannesburg in August 2002. (February 2003).
bullet Was the first UK legislature to provide a political platform for commemorating the Armenian holocaust. (October 2002).
bullet Successfully argued that national flags and symbols should be displayed on car number-plates. (January 2002).
bullet Forged new links with other bilingual cultures such as Canada in the context of creating law in two languages. (November 2001).
bullet Opened an office in Brussels so that Wales can better influence policies in May 2000.
bullet Helped to secure an initial £45 million worth of business from around the world for Welsh companies following the creation of WalesTrade International in June 2000.
bullet Set a marker for a more outward looking approach by announcing an additional £100,000 from the budget for international relations (2000-01).
bullet Secured a voice for Wales in the developing European Constitutional Regions network which acts as a pressure group for regions with legislative powers. (From 1999).
bullet Began to facilitate an increasing number of high profile visits to Wales including, at the time,  the Premier of New South Wales, Vice-Premier of China, President of Nigeria, Crown Prince Billah of Brunei, the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and President Pujol of Catalunya and organised programmes (April 2000-March 2001) through the Assembly’s Overseas Unit, for 129 foreign delegations. 37 of the programmes were arranged on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.