In 2003, CARE Kenya began marketing and distributing a locally produced SWS product, a bottle of sodium hypochlorite solution branded. This product was promoted by many community organisations in collaboration with CARE, along with developing a hand hygiene training curriculum for nurses and introducing SWS and hygiene education in schools. Such endeavours ensure that communities have access to safe water and have the tools necessary to make water safe themselves.

This case study features in the WEAll Briefing paper “Water in a Wellbeing Economy” – find out more and read the whole paper here.

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Yorkshire Water at its Esholt Wastewater Treatment works in West Yorkshire reuses waste filter media from sludge filter beds by processing the material into construction grade aggregate. Through this, 37000 tons of aggregate have been used in the construction of two railway stations on the Leeds and Bradford line (Spencer, 2018).

Singapore’s NEWater Project – In 2003, Singapore introduced its NEWater project which recycled treated sewage (“used water”) using a three-step purification process involving microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet (UV) disinfection. This water is then injected intro reservoirs to mix with rainwater before being collectively treated for potable use. Over the years, NEWater has grown to meet up to 40% of Singapore’s total water demand. For more info on the case study and the critical factors that allowed it success, see Thai and Rawat, 2018; Lefebvre, 2018.

This case study features in the WEAll Briefing paper “Water in a Wellbeing Economy” – find out more and read the whole paper here.

References/find out more:

  • Spencer, R., 2018. Applying the circular economy to the water sector, AECOM. Accessed at: https://aecom. com/without-limits/article/applying-circular-economywater-sector/
  • Thai, P. T., and Rawat, S., 2018. NEWater in Singapore, PUB Singapore National Water Agency and Global Water forum. Accessed at: https://globalwaterforum. org/2018/01/15/newater-in-singapore/
  • Lefebvre, O., 2018. Beyond NEWater: An insight into Singapore’s water reuse prospects, Current Opinion in Environmental Science & Health, 2: 26-31.

In response to the erosion and habitat loss along the Crouch and Roach estuaries of England due to port construction and other developments, in 2006 the Wallasea island project recycled sediments from its salt marshes to build an integrated flood protection system. This system was allowed to flood, letting its mudflats and salt marshes evolve naturally with the water cycle, and around 514 hectares of wetland was restored. It is now the largest human-made wetland in Europe, a habitat and breeding ground for birds. An additional 269 hectares to be added by 2025.

This case study features in the WEAll Briefing paper “Water in a Wellbeing Economy” – find out more and read the whole paper here.

Kitale in Kenya used public participation to bring water and sanitation to its slum areas by creating a collectively managed community inventory mapping out local institutions, women’s groups and young people’s groups. Public participation, if done in an equitable manner, allows for different value and knowledge systems to be heard and integrated into the decision-making process, creating more holistic frameworks and better governance outcomes. In this manner, it achieves principles 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the Principles of Water Ethics.

This case study features in the WEAll Briefing paper “Water in a Wellbeing Economy” – find out more and read the whole paper here.

Reference: Majale, M. (2009) ‘Developing participatory planning process in Kitale, Kenya’, case study prepared for Planning Sustainable Cities: Global Report on Human Settlements 2009, Nairobi: UN Habitat.

Vermont proposed the creation of a Common Assets Trust (VCAT) in 2007, 2011 and 2012 which mandated state protection of common assets (such as air and water) for present and future generations, while establishing rules in which certain users (predominantly large industries) were charged fees, deposited into a common assets trust fund, which would be managed to protect those assets and serve the interest of present and future generations. In this way, rules are created and mandated for common stewardship, while also encouraging inter and intra-generational equity. Such a policy also has distributive impacts, as funds can be used for government spending and dividend payments to citizens, especially those on the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum.

This case study features in the WEAll Briefing paper “Water in a Wellbeing Economy” – find out more and read the whole paper here.

In 2017, New Zealand granted its third-longest river, the Whanganui, the legal rights of a person as an ancestor of the Whanganui Iwi people. Two guardians were appointed to act as “trustees” on behalf of the river and its current and future beneficiaries, and a financial redress of NZ 80 million was included in the settlement.

Also in 2017, the Uttarakhand High Court in India granted legal status as a person to the Rivers Ganges and Yamuna to prevent further pollution in the already heavily polluted river system. However, no financing was given to support the arrangement, and it received backlash from the Central Government and Uttarakhand High Court for being ‘unimplementable by law’, as it runs through different states.

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This case study features in the WEAll Briefing paper “Water in a Wellbeing Economy” – find out more and read the whole paper here.

Image by billiederamos from Pixabay

By Chrissi Albus, WEAll Youth

Clean drinking water makes a difference between life and death. 

According to the United Nations, up to 2.2 billion people do not have access to safe, clean, and controlled drinking water. (2) Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General said, Access to safe water is a fundamental human need and, therefore, a basic human right. Contaminated water jeopardises both the physical and social health of all people. It is an affront to human dignity.” 

Article 25 of the Human Rights Convention, the right to wellbeing, states that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of themselves and their families. Clean drinking water is an absolute necessity for that. Therefore, one essential goal of our society must be to ensure the availability of safe drinking water for everybody. However, “in some countries, there is a 61% financing gap to achieve the UN’s water and sanitation goals”. (2) It is an injustice how access to water is distributed in this world, especially related to the huge consumption of virtual water in many high income countries. Everyone needs access to drinking water for their health and wellbeing. It should not be a game of luck who has water to drink or who can afford it. It is an undisputed part and aim of a Wellbeing Economy to ensure this. This is why it is important to advocate for fair availability of water. 

Inspired and empowered to make a difference

“We believe that the human network is the strongest power in the world in our generation. Networking means telling others about others and others telling others about you”(1). 

To tell a story is probably the most powerful and touching way to communicate. So, I want to tell you the story of Prof. Askwar Hilonga and the Gongali Model Inspire and Empowering Center.

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Glory Mushi at work in the Kilala waterstation.

“I remember my father told me that when I drink stagnant water in the valleys (in Swahili, Maji yaliyotwama korongoni au Maji ya Lambo) – which was very dirty – I should assume, he told me, that it is “a tea with milk” (chai ya maziwa)”(1), says Prof. Hilonga.

The region around Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro, where the Gongali Model Inspire and Empower Center is located, has an exceptionally high fluoride concentration in drinking water. This can cause fluorosis, a disease in which the joints stiffen and tooth enamel degrades due to excessive intake of fluoride. But even better-known diseases such as typhoid fever are still diseases today that arise because of dirty drinking water.

Prof. Hilonga grew up in a small village, Gongali, near Lake Manyara in North Tanzania. He himself struggled with several diseases, mainly related to dirty water. With the support of his local church community, he was able to attend university and later, went to South Korea to do his PhD in Chemical Engineering… He is always asking: “What does my PhD mean to my community in Tanzania?”. He wanted to give something back. Prof. Hilonga designed a new solution to ensure getting safe drinking water as a common good for everyone. He is the creator and founder of Nanofilter TM, a water filter using nanotechnology that provides safe and clean drinking water, in Swahili “Maji Safi na Salama”! It removes 99.999 % of impurities (bacteria, heavy metals, various pollutants) from the water. The filter is customised to the local environment issues.

Nevertheless, the water filter alone was not the goal. He established the Gongali Model Co. Ltd company for innovative activities to empower and IMPACT people’s lives. He wants to inspire youth to develop innovative and sustainable business ventures and initiatives that empower their community and to answer the question of what is really needed.  The Gongali Model was actually designed to be a model as a movement for Sustainable Transformational Development, as a concept for a new – wellbeing – economic system accessible for everyone. By October 2020, the Nanofilter project has created 127 jobs for young women in water stations, which are placed all over Arusha as well as in Kenya and Zambia. For many young women it is a way to earn an independent income and become more confident. This is contributing to one of the great wellbeing goals of equalising the gender gap by making sure women take part in economic life.  In these water stations, filtered water is sold in refillable bottles at a low price. Thus should also allow the poorest members of the community to access safe and clean drinking water.

A nanofilter for households

The Gongali Model company (, is launching the #Thirst for life project starting on 22nd July. #Thirst for Life wants to build 1000 Nanofilter water stations throughout Africa, from Alexandria in Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa. The aim is to provide access to clean water to as many people as possible. The project is delivered in partnership with Veronique Bourbeau, who will do a Solo-Run 13,000 km, from the north of Africa to the south to raise awareness to provide safe drinking water for all people. Veronique says: 

“If your why is strong enough, then you can run for a long way.” 

To be inspired and empowered are two of the most important goals of Prof. Hilonga and his wife and business partner Ruth Elineema Lukwaro, from Arusha, Tanzania.He wants to engage the youth to stand up and participate in their local communities, to create new solutions for societal issues . He and his wife Madame Ruth want to touch people’s lives to make a change. Their knowledge and story exemplify a societal vision or further economic changes for wellbeing for all. 

His book “The story of a journey of an African Innovator – From Gongali Village to London & BEYOND” describes his journey. Further information about the projects can be found on the Gongali Model website.

  1. Prof. Askwar Hilonga. 2020. “The story of a journey of an African Innovator – From Gongali Village to London & BEYOND”
  2. United Nations. 2020. Goals – 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

About the author: “My name is Chrissi Albus. I am WEAll Youth member based in Lund, a small town in the south of Sweden. In my opinion, it is very important to be motivated  to create something great or to participate in a movement you believe in.  And that is why I would like to tell you the story of Prof. Askwar Hilonga. He and his wife were my bosses when I worked in their company Gongali Model in Arusha. They inspired me to get engaged with their project, and showed me that motivation and inspiration is the foundation for every project I will get involved in.”

In 2020, Amsterdam launched a new city plan that focuses on the Doughnut Economy concept of remaining within the planetary boundaries while fulfilling people’s needs, such as clean air. The City is not new to designing plans to improve the quality of life of its citizens. In October 2019, the city council published its Clean Air Action Plan, which aimed to improve air quality. Due to poor air quality, people in Amsterdam have a life expectancy one year shorter than the average national standard. In the plan, the city aimed to comply with the WHO standard rather than the EU standard for particulate matter, since the EU limits are still too high to not negatively impact the health of people. The plan is structured in three steps: • By 2022, only emission-free buses and coaches will circulate in the city centre. • By 2025, taxis, passenger crafts, and municipal ferries must be emission-free within an area that includes the surroundings of the city centre, called A10. • By 2030, all means of transport, including personal vehicles, must be emissionfree for the entire city. The City of Amsterdam is well known for investing in bike lanes, allowing people to cycle safely. However, the City’s plan also aimed to: (1) facilitate the use of e-cars sharing, (2) increase subsidies for the purchase of electric vehicles, (3) improve infrastructure to support e-vehicles, and (4) invest in awareness about addressing air quality, leading by example as a municipality.

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Among the world’s major metropolises, Paris has the dubious distinction of having long ignored environmental issues. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the city has gradually engaged in urban ecological transition, a transition that has greatly accelerated in the last mayoral mandate, which started in 2014 and was renewed in 2020. What is more, Paris has been able, in recent times, to articulate this new ecological ambition with a concern for social justice. The establishment of a low-emission zone in Paris, enlarged in Summer 2019, has been accompanied by a complete ban on diesel and gasoline vehicles in 2030, a measure without an equivalent in France. Previous measures have greatly regulated car traffic with convincing results: air quality in Paris has been improving by 30 percentage points in less than a decade (in 2019, 70 percent of days were considered to be of good or very good air quality). The development of cycle paths and practices (practices accelerated by the operations
transportation strike in winter 2019-2020 and the COVID-19 crisis that followed)
provides health benefits for both users and pedestrians. It has been accompanied
by public financial support: Paris has created a set of around thirty financial aids
intended for individuals and businesses willing to switch from vehicles running on
fossil fuels to electric vehicles.

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Finland is known to have one of the best education systems in the EU. One aspect of the education system, which is particularly relevant in terms of health prevention, is the inclusion of health literacy as a subject in the national curricula. This is a compulsory subject all through the education system, from primary to high school.

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Following the 2009 global recession, Barcelona developed a technological platform to increase citizens input on economic recovery efforts. Dedicim Barcelona is a web-based platform where citizens can submit policy proposals and help to design and monitor the participatory process of selection. The platform promotes exists to enable free open-source participatory democracy for cities and organizations.

From 2015-2016, over 220,000 interactions took place with citizens submitting proposals for economic recovery and also commenting, debating, and voting on the proposals of others. The city council evaluated every policy proposal using technical and qualitative criteria, whereby they did not only consider the number of votes a proposal received but also the number of neighbourhoods who discussed the proposal and number of organizations who supported it.

As a result of this participatory processes, Barcelona implemented a wide range of policy reforms with a key shift towards re-municipalisation and localisation of resources and economic assets through the promotion of cooperation business models and the use of public procurement to shift local economies in this direction.

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A recently published study investigates the existence of adequate food policies in Portuguese municipalities favouring a shift towards sustainable food systems. The study found the Municipality of Vila Nova de Gaia to be the most policy ready of the investigated municipalities, with policies and activities in place in 4 key policy dimensions: Information and awareness, Administrative and government capacity, Local government functions, and Strategic policies (Galli et al., 2020). A signatory of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, Vila Nova de Gaia has, in recent years, developed an action plan for implementing the Pact. Through this plan, the municipality supports its residents in increasing their awareness of food consumption and production patterns, for instance via the ‘Flag to Act’ project, which is aimed at both building knowledge on current dietary habits of the population and promoting alternative healthy food habits. Weekly no-meat and no-fish meals for the students of pre-school and first cycle of elementary education in public schools are promoted. Teaching gardens are available in schools and, since 2018, at least 30% of meals within the municipality’s schools include locally produced vegetables. Specific actions are ongoing to evaluate food waste in primary schools and kindergartens, with plans to scale-up this action at a broader level. Vila Nova de Gaia also organizes annual nutrition seminars and periodically tracks implementation of the Action Plan of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, which is validated by the General Health Directorate. Several efforts are also in place to favour trans-departmental structures and coordination among different offices of the local administration to enhance systems thinking: the Social Action, Volunteering, and Health Division (DASVS) promotes, in collaboration with the City Hall’s Personnel Department, the implementation of awareness raising actions, evaluations of the nutritional status, and identification of the eating habits of the municipality’s professional groups. Favouring the urbanrural interconnection, the Municipality is also equipped with a Food and Tourism Promotion Action Plan to support short agri-food circuits by 1) promoting urban and peri-urban food production and processing based on sustainable approaches, 2) bringing producers closer to consumers, and 3) promoting other market systems to integrate the economic and social infrastructure of the urban food system. Finally, to incentivise farmer-citizen reconnection and promote regional gastronomy with sustainable production, the municipality has developed the Gastronomic Charter of Vila Nova de Gaia, through a survey of typical dishes and their historical context.

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In February 2016, France enacted Loi Garot, a legislation designed to cut the national food waste in half by diverting 5 million tonnes of food surpluses from landfills by 2025. Its main tenet makes it illegal for supermarkets to dispose of food that is still perfectly safe for consumption; instead, they must donate unwanted food surpluses to organisations serving the underprivileged. Italy followed suit with a similar law in August 2016. The EU recently issued the Farm to Fork strategy to build a resilient, equitable, and healthy food system to become the global standard for sustainability. At the local level, non-profit organisations in countries such as Sweden and Denmark, among others, are aiming to reduce food waste locally and redistribute food resources to vulnerable groups in the community. Rude Food Malmö is the first Swedish, rescued-food based catering service that collects food such as dayold bread, spotty bananas, and bruised apples, and sells them as part of its catering service, as well as redistributes it to migrant and unhomed communities. A similar restaurant is Sopköket in Stockholm, which runs on 50 percent rescued food and offers employment opportunities to marginalised groups.

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The India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) is working on increasing the efficiency of the cold-chain (how perishable foods get to market), which might be key to reducing food waste. ICAP analyses different scenarios and provides policy recommendations, which are then implemented by UNEP. A pilot study is currently being undertaken in the state of Tamil Nadu, and it will test whether a zero-carbon packhouse powered by renewable energy, coupled with refrigerated transport, will reduce post-harvest food loss. This project aims to reduce food loss by 75 percent, as well as boost farmer income by profit-sharing. In addition to this project, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the UNEP-led Cool Coalition will also support the national government in an effort to connect local farmers with markets via coldchains, as well as support other countries in introducing similar plans, drawing on India’s methodology

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During the 2015 Expo dedicated to food security and sustainable development, Milan proposed an international protocol aiming to involve a number of world cities in coordinating global food policies. This protocol, called the Urban Food Policy Act, aims to develop sustainable and inclusive food systems that provide healthy and affordable food to all people, while also protecting the environment. The Act also encourages coordination between municipal and community sectors, so as to integrate food security considerations into social, environmental, and economic policy making, and seeks to create coherence between local, national, and global policies, programmes, and initiatives. At its inception, the Act had 100 members. Today, this number has risen to 210 cities around the world, including cities in Italy, the United States, Brazil, the Ivory Coast, Madagascar, China, and Mozambique, indicating the commitment of global municipal actors to a more sustainable and secure future for food production and distribution practices.

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MOO Food is a small organisation based in Muir of Ord, a small village in the Scottish Highlands. It aims to promote environmental sustainability and build community resilience by bringing people together to grow food, knowledge, and confidence. It does so by organising events and activities throughout the year that give the people of the community, irrespective of their background, access to good, nutritional, and chemical-free food, helping them to also understand the importance of using local produce to reduce food waste and their carbon footprint. Not only does MOO Food work for the community, but the community works with MOO Food, too. As Emma Whitham, MOO Food’s Founder stressed, ‘MOO Food is now completely community-led by a board of Trustees, a cohort of volunteers and three members of part-time staff’. One of the key projects that MOO Food runs is called Growing Our Future, which saw the instalment of growing boxes in key spots around the village, as well as the opening of a Community Orchard. Both initiatives enable the people of the community to grow and take any food they need for free. In terms of impact, Whitham calculates that the project has saved a total of 162t CO2 e to date, with an estimated lifetime saving of 487t CO2 e. MOO Food also works with local schools and partners with the Department for Work and Pensions to deliver a Back to Work programme and with NHS Scotland to deliver a green therapy programme to help people who are suffering from mild to moderate mental illness. In addition to that, it runs movie screenings, cooking workshops, and a community fridge that was installed in the main square of the village where people can take (or leave) any food they need (or that they do not need anymore). In the month of August, 2020 alone, this helped save 396 kgs of waste, a 560 percent increase compared to the same month in 2019. The use of the community fridge seems to have increased with the COVID-19 pandemic, which shows the crucial role MOO Food has been playing in the recovery of the village. This has inspired others to act and start similar projects. Someone from as far as Uganda got in touch with MOO Food to help them plant an orchard in their country and MOO Food continues to support communities across Scotland to develop food-sharing platforms. An example is the Casserole Club Project, which matches cooks with diners so that those who can easily make one extra portion of a hot meal can share it with someone in the village that would benefit not only from the food but also from the social interaction. At the moment, MOO Food is working on a new project called Scan not Scraps, which is funded by the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund and which aims to further reduce the carbon footprint of the community by 365tCO2 e.

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Johannes Kepler Colegio is a school in Quito, Ecuador, which takes a holistic approach to teaching. Their vision is to form ‘world citizens and excellent human beings’ who care about their surroundings and initiate change. There is no mention of preparing people for the job market; they focus on growing good human beings who care about their environment and community, by incorporating the UN Sustainable Development Goals in their curricula at all levels, from preschool to high school. The school was created in 1991, with the purpose of creating a strong link between community and school. Education is seen as the tool to imagine and create a better world. Some important pillars for the school are: • Close connections with families and the local community; • All three levels of education are on the same campus, which allows students from different ages to interact; • The campus is integrated in the natural environment, which includes part of the surrounding forest; • Several activities are promoted on campus including sports, gardening, and animal farming; • Students’ initiatives are taken into consideration and implemented. For example, last year, students requested the elimination of plastic bottles from the vending machines, arguing it was not a sustainable practice.

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Italy has become the first country in Europe to make sustainability and climate crisis compulsory subjects for school children in the age ranging from 3 to 19 years old. In August 2019, law number 92, proposed by the former Minister of Education Lorenzo Fioramonti, was approved. According to this new law, schools within the country are required to dedicate roughly 33 hours per school year to teaching these two subjects and incorporating elements of the UN Agenda 2030 into schools subjects commencing in September 2020, while also adapting the teaching of subjects such as geography, mathematics, and physics, to incorporate the perspective of sustainability. The ultimate goal of this reform is to put the environment and society, their relationship, and the impact the human society is placing on our planet at the core of the Italian education system. The reform aims to turn schools into sustainability reference centres for their territories and the communities that inhabit them.

The University Hospital in Leicester ran a study investigating the possibility to
reduce the amount of waste going into the incinerator from the Nephrology
procedures room, which uses a conspicuous amount of consumables, which
contributes greatly to the UK’s carbon footprint as well as environmental pollution.
In this study, the simple addition of a recycling bin in the procedure room reduced
the incinerated waste dramatically, with around 60 percent of the waste not
requiring incineration and with the majority of it being plastic that was potentially
recyclable. The results of this short, one month long study show the potential to
recycle part of hospital waste, with gains in terms of health, environment, and

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In 2015, the Welsh Government, launched the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, with the aim to “improve the way in which decisions are made across specified public bodies in Wales” towards the achievement of the seven wellbeing goals. The Act is embedded in the Welsh Constitution. Public bodies are mandated to consider the long-term impact of their policy decisions and work with communities and with each other, to ensure their actions are complementary, and the people and communities involved are reflecting the diversity of the population that the particular bodies serve.

After the country’s biggest National Conversation on ‘The Wales We Want’, the Welsh Government (2015) identified a wellbeing framework, organised into seven core wellbeing goals: prosperous, more equal, globally responsible, resilient, healthier, cohesive communities, vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language.

Measuring the Right Thing in the Right Way

It is also mandated that all public bodies design and publish ‘wellbeing objectives’ that maximise their contribution to achieving all seven of the defined wellbeing goals, publish statements about their set objectives, and report annually on their progress in a Wellbeing Report. In order to measure progress against these goals, a range of 46 national indicators have been identified. The emphasis was placed on identifying indicators that could be easily communicated to the general public and that reflect public priorities.

Public bodies are called to set ‘milestones’ to present their expectations for performance on the indicators in the future, in accordance with principles for “measuring the right thing” and “measuring the right way”. Both quantitative and qualitative e.g., survey-based data is gathered and published annually.

Ways of Working

To normalise a preventative policy making approach, the Welsh Government (2015) introduced guidance on five ways of working: employing long term thinking; taking an integrated approach so that public bodies look at all the wellbeing goals when deciding on their wellbeing objectives; involving a diversity of the population in decisions that affect them; working collaboratively to find solutions; and understanding the root causes of issues to prevent them from occurring.

Sustainable Development Principle

As the legislation has a particular focus on sustainability, a ‘Sustainable Development Principle’ has been defined, highlighting that the wellbeing of future generations should not be compromised by decisions which aim only to meet current needs. In order to ensure that the ‘Sustainable Development Principle’ is being promoted, the role of a Future Generations Commissioner has been introduced. The Commissioner acts as a guardian of future generations, supports and encourages public bodies to consider the long-term impact of their decisions, provides advice and assistance in relation to wellbeing objectives, and has the power to conduct a review into the extent to which public bodies are safeguarding future generations’ needs.

Find out more here and here.

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