Resources

Scenario planning based on narrative or storytelling is one way of considering how various dimensions of wellbeing intersect within communities.

The UN supported 200 people in a series of 11 scenario-building workshops organized in six settings in the Mekong region (North-East Thailand; Tonle Sap, Cambodia; Mekong Delta, Viet Nam; Xishuangbanna, China; Nam Ngum Basin, Lao People’s Democratic Republic; and a regional gathering).

This process produced 21 final narratives about existing and potential wellbeing in communities. These narratives demonstrated how uncertain drivers manifested themselves over time and the effect they had on the lives of the ‘protagonists’ and their families in rural areas.

Analysis of the storylines created by participants revealed that protagonists in the stories, 50% of whom were women, frequently took risks voluntarily as well as experiencing it involuntarily, in changing locality to ensure their livelihoods. A common theme was that wellbeing in the region could be improved if people were able to stay in rural areas and avoid the instability of work, especially low-skilled wage labour, in cities.

Several participants expressed a vision in which people do well working in family or community enterprises involved in organic farming, aquaculture, carbon forestry, and ecotourism in rural areas.

Some stories imagined that if environmental governance improved, such enterprises could coexist near heavier industry, providing rural non-farm employment for farmers displaced because of inability to compete with large-scale farms.

This process shows the potential of scenario-building and narrative workshops to generate wellbeing visions that are informed by the reality of communities.

Find out more here.

South Africa has been using robust quantitative and participatory methods to conduct impact evaluations to better align their environmental goals with their socio-economic development goals. The iterative nature of their impact assessments and inclusive stakeholder engagement has been time consuming but it has allowed them to develop the necessary citizen support for bold policy reforms in the energy sector which balance a wide variety of wellbeing priorities.

South Africa’s energy policy is informed by its National Development Plan (NDP) 2030, which sets out a wellbeing vision to “eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030… by drawing on the energies of its people, growing an inclusive economy, building capacities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society”. The NDP highlights climate change as a critical factor for South Africa’s national development and prioritises a number of strategies to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

Historically, the majority of impact evaluations related to a reduction in emissions have focused on costs (e.g. GDP), but South Africa recognised the need to consider a variety of criteria when assessing impact such as energy access, employment, gender, health and welfare, quality of life, biodiversity impacts, climate impacts, and water use. The government and technical institutions in South Africa therefore undertook a series of multi-criteria impact assessment approaches to help them identify and prioritise the economic activities that best align with their country’s current and future wellbeing goals.

Through a series of quantitative and multi-stakeholder evaluations that took place over the course of several years, the Government’s Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity was revised to better respond to the growing energy demand in the country whilst maintaining their commitment to the development and climate goals of the country. Their goals include:

  • Increase in renewable installations (wind, photovoltaics and concentrated solar power to support local industry
  • Nuclear development to address cost uncertainties related to fuels and renewable energy
  • Reduction of CO2 emissions to 210 million tons/year by 2050, as compared to approximately 430 million tons/year under a baseline scenario
  • Implementation of energy efficiency demand side management actions.

Find out more here and here.

Find out more:

The National Performance Framework (NPF) is Scotland’s wellbeing framework, setting out the vision for the country by providing 11 National Outcomes and 81 National Indicators which focus on economic, social, and environmental factors.

In 2019, one year after the NPF was reviewed, the Scottish Government issued a Wellbeing report to evaluate the country’s progress towards the set wellbeing goals. The aim of the report was to provide evidence and analysis on key areas and features of Scotland’s performance which could inform decision making on policy, services, and spending. The areas examined include evidence around natural and economic resources, fair work, and an equitable working society, education, health, and community wellbeing. The report uses the framework’s data that support each National Outcome, along with evidence on equalities and additional information that can present a holistic picture on how Scotland is progressing towards the achievement of the National Outcomes.

The Wellbeing report aims to be a starting point for decision makers to better understand the key trends of Scotland’s performance in order to develop the necessary policies and activities to deliver the country’s vision.

Find out more here.

Find out more:

Scotland introduced their Wellbeing Framework, called the “National Performance Framework” (NFP) in 2007, which was later put into law in 2015.

“Putting wellbeing at the heart of our approach means we can focus on a wider set of measures which reflect on things like health and happiness of citizens as well as economic wealth to create a world that considers the quality of a person’s life to be as precious an asset as financial success”. – Scotland’s First Minister

In order to inform its development, the Scottish government used data collected by a public consultation, entitled ‘Creating a fairer Scotland’, to better understand the wellbeing priorities of the population. The consultation included questions such as:

  • What are the issues that matter most to you?
  • What do you think needs to be done to create a fairer Scotland?
  • How can you and your community play a role in helping to shape our future?

Participants were able to engage through the government’s website, social media platforms, via email and freepost, or attend one of the 200 open events organised across the country. During this process, 7000 people took part in the public events and around 17,500 visited the social media platforms. The responses were then summarised in five core categories (working and living standards; homes and communities; early years, education, and health; community participation and public services; respect and dignity), which relate to some of the National Performance Framework themes.

In 2018, the National Performance Framework was reviewed and updated, with the aim to publish a new set of National Outcomes and to embed the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Scotland’s Action Plan for Human Rights. To ensure greater public involvement so that the new National Outcomes reflected the values and aspirations of people in Scotland, the Scottish government organised a two-phased consultation.

The first phase of the process focused on public engagement. During this phase, public views and opinions were collected through public discussion groups and street stalls, and workshops and a review of projects and programmes were provided by the Children’s parliament. In addition, the Scottish government took into consideration the findings of the conversation for “Creating a Fairer Scotland”, held in 2015, and “Creating a Healthier Scotland” in 2016 when drafting the National Outcomes.

The second phase of the consultation included expert engagement. During this phase, a lead Committee was formed, comprised of the Local Government and Communities Committee, and various stakeholders were approached seeking views on the revised National Outcomes and National Indicators to inform the framework’s scrutiny. The Scottish Government also organised conversations with stakeholders, an online survey, along with a series of discussions to explore whether the National Performance Framework reflects the set vision.

After this large-scale consultation, the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework Team, part of the Data, Statistics and Outcomes Division, with the support of the government’s Performance and Priorities, collated the data, and the findings were further worked up into thematic areas.

Each of the thematic areas was identified based on the relative depth and breadth of the participants’ views during the consultation process, and, subsequently, were further developed into a draft set of National Outcomes.

The output of this process was the development of the refreshed National Performance Framework, which sets out 11 National wellbeing Outcomes measured through 81 National Indicators.

Scotland articulated their wellbeing vision as having the purpose of “creating a more successful country with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish through increased wellbeing, and inclusive and sustainable growth” underpinned by the values we are a society that treats all our people with kindness, dignity and compassion, respects the rule of law and acts in an open and transparent way”.

Find out more here.

Find out more:

Between 1992 to 1994, the Quindío department of Colombia developed its regional development plan through a participatory process. Institutions from a wide variety of social sectors were invited to participate in the construction of the plan. These included: local NGOs, community groups, agricultural and ecological groups, universities and schools, regional businesses, investors and hospitals, as well as officials and officers from various municipalities. For some meetings, more specialised groups were also invited.

The process lasted 6 months and resulted in a multi-sectoral plan with a budget, which was based on a set of reports and studies, a collection of sectorial diagnoses, policy statements, and a series of priority-setting processes. The regional government worked under the guidance of CIDER, the Interdisciplinary Centre of Development Studies, of the University of the Andes in Bogota.

As a result of this plan, and other processes, Quindío began:

  1. Investment in its tourism industry, which has since become one of the foremost tourist areas of the country.
  2. A concerted effort to diversify agriculture, which had been based largely on coffee for exportation.
  3. To emphasise the need for improved investment in education, especially in rural areas.

This was one of the first participatory regional development plans in the country. It was followed by similar plans elsewhere, as well as in the Quindio itself. For example, the ‘El Plan Quindío 2020’ is even more participatory than its predecessors and it makes a more direct effort to include marginalized groups.

The Quindío department has used this model of planning for more specific projects such the recuperation of rivers and the strategic plans for sectors of the economy.

In general, the are many forms of public participation in the governance of the country partly because this is a strong element of the country’s Constitution. Article 103 outlines various mechanisms for a more participatory democracy.

Find out more here.

Find out more:

In 2017, the Republic of Panama established its first Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) as an instrument of public policy at the national level. Maintained by the central government, the MPI identifies and measures the incidence and intensity of the main nonmonetary deprivations that affect the wellbeing of Panamanians. The government uses these statistics as a complement to income poverty measurements, in order to achieve a comprehensive reduction of poverty levels.

The Panama Ministry of Social Development led the development of the MPI, in partnership with a technical committee that included the Directorate of Economic and Social Analysis of the Ministry of Economy and Finances and the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses. The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative and the United Nations Development Programme were the main international partners.

A key idea underlying this effort was that poverty must be understood through the daily experiences and values of the people who are affected by it. For that reason, development of the MPI included a broad consultation process with academics, economists, public servants, members of civil society, and, crucially, Panamanians who live in poverty from all over the country.

Two iterations of the Panama MPI have been published as of 2020: one using data from 2017, and one using data from 2018. The second MPI includes a comparison of incidence levels from one year to the next. Based on the 2017 findings, the government added a second metric focused specifically on children. This children’s MPI was launched alongside the national MPI in 2018.

In 2020, the government established a third iteration of the MPI that will operate at the local level. It maintains indicators and dimensions similar to those in the national MPI and the children’s MPI. Together, these policy instruments make consistent, comprehensive data the basis for the nation’s efforts to build a more just society.
Policymakers behind the Panama MPI point to the proven value of such measures, notably in Columbia, where an MPI first developed in 2010 is now being used to support the government’s response to the pandemic. “MPI is not just an old report, a finished number,” said Ana Carolina Diaz, former Minister’s Advisor and Project Coordinator at MIDES: “it’s what you can do with all the data behind it.”

Find out more:

https://www.gacetaoficial.gob.pa/pdfTemp/29126/81185.pdf

North Ayrshire Council launched Scotland’s first Community Wealth Building (CWB) strategy in May 2020. It sets out how the council will work in partnership with local communities, businesses and wider regional anchor institutions to create a fairer local economy to tackle poverty and inequality, embedding a new economic model focused on wellbeing and inclusion.
The CWB Strategy outlines the mission of ‘Enhancing local wealth and the creation of fair jobs, and maximising the potential of all our places through working in partnership with our communities and businesses’. The strategy sets out six objectives to deliver CWB:
Community Wealth Building Council: We will work across all our services and wider local and regional partners to implement Scotland’s first approach to Community Wealth Building.
Procurement: We will use our spend to actively encourage and support a growing, diverse and resilient local business base, and to support our net zero carbon ambitions.
Fair Employment: We will encourage the creation of fair and meaningful jobs with progression opportunities to unlock the potential of our residents.
Land and Assets: We will support the wider regeneration of our communities by maximising all of our land and assets including through alternative uses for community and business benefit.
Financial Power: We will invest locally and encourage regional and national institutions to invest in our communities.
Plural Ownership of the Economy: We will support the creation and sustainability of a range of business models including SMEs, social enterprise, employee ownership, cooperatives, municipal activity and community enterprises.
Overall, the CWB Strategy aims to encourage:
Spending public money locally;
Keeping wealth generated within local area;
Community ownership; and
The use of property in a socially just way.
To guide the Council’s work, an Expert Advisory Panel has been established. The panel is chaired by WEAll Scotland and includes renowned experts on Community Wealth Building, a Wellbeing Economy, fair work, and climate change. A Community Wealth Building Commission of local and regional anchor institutions was established in September 2019 to implement the CWB approach and establish the North Ayrshire council as a Community Wealth Building Council.
In September 2020, the Council launched its Economic Recovery and Renewal Approach to build back better, fairer, and greener. The approach is based on the foundation of the Council’s Community Wealth Building approach and sets out a Local Green New Deal.
The twin priorities of a North Ayrshire Green New Deal to build back better, fairer and greener are to:
Ensure an inclusive economic recovery by delivering our Community Wealth Building mission; and
Ensure a green economic recovery focused on achieving our net zero carbon ambitions through the creation of sustainable infrastructure and regeneration projects and creating fair jobs.
At the heart of this is the £8.8m Investment Fund which will support an inclusive and green economic recovery by:
Maximising renewable energy generation;
Investing in the commercial estate including improving the sustainability of assets;
Trackling vacant and derelict land and building in town centres by investing in town centre living;
Supporting community economic developing through community regeneration, ownership and capacity building;
A carbon absorption tree planting programme; and
The creation of a Green Jobs Fund.
The Council has launched a ‘Keep it Local’ campaign as part of the wider Community Wealth Building approach. The need for local people, businesses and Anchor Institutions to spend locally is an essential pillar of that strategy and the Council are supporting that need by urging people and businesses to ‘Keep it Local’.
In October 2020, as part of Challenge Poverty Week, the Council launched Scotland’s first Anchor Charter. The Charter was signed by six major regional Anchor Institutions and outlined a commitment to a series of CWB and Climate Action pledges to support an inclusive regional economy.
In terms of lessons learned in developing a bold Community Wealth Building approach, the North Ayrshire Council recommends:
Setting a vision with buy in
Anchoring in education and collaboration
Working across silos
Bottom-up engagement
Be ambitious and bold, but practical
Building awareness, knowledge and showing ‘quick wins’

Find out more:
https://www.north-ayrshire.gov.uk/council/community-wealth-building/community-wealth-building.aspx

In May 2018, the New Zealand Government set up the Just Transitions Unit in its Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, to foster a transition towards a low emissions economy that is “fair, equitable and inclusive”. The unit operates by creating partnerships in communities undergoing a major transition.

These partnerships have four objectives:

  1. Build an understanding of potential pathways to transform the economy to low emissions;
  2. Identify, create and support new opportunities, new jobs, new skills, and new investments that will emerge from the transition;
  3. Better understand how the transition might impact different communities, regions or sectors; and
  4. Make choices about how to manage these impacts in a just and inclusive way.

As part of its climate change programme, the Government stopped issuing new permits for offshore oil and gas exploration in 2018. That policy has a large impact on economic security in the Taranaki region, which has supported oil and gas exploration off the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand for several decades. The Just Transitions Unit has worked in that region, with a particular focus on its energy sector in a low emissions future.

It established a Taranaki Transition Lead Group of representatives drawn from central government, local government, Māori, business, the workforce, education and community organisations. This group facilitated 29 workshops around the region, including a specialised event for youth. It also sponsored a creative competition for students aged 7–18 to describe their vision for 2050; more than 140 took part. Material from this process fed into a draft Taranaki 2050 Roadmap, launched at a National Just Transition Summit hosted in the region in May 2019. The Summit involved 550 people from around the country. Kate Raworth (author of Doughnut Economics) was a keynote speaker.

Following the finalisation of the Roadmap in August 2019, the Lead Group then facilitated workshops to create eleven Transition Pathway Action Plans (TPAPs). The Energy TPAP, for example, agreed on the following Action Statement:

“Using our know how and resources we will transition to a world-leading energy eco-system that provides sustainable, secure and affordable low-emissions energy by 2050, while creating meaningful work, community well-being and prosperity for generations to come.”

Projects to implement the TPAPs are under way, including a project to build a Clean Energy centre in Taranaki.

Find out more here.

Find out more:

An important feature of the wellbeing economy is that it pays attention to the wellbeing of future generations. This means that the wellbeing of children and young people is an essential aspect of a country’s economic strategy.

“Success is about making New Zealand both a great place to make a living, and a great place to make a life”. – Grant Robertson, Finance Minister of New Zealand

Child poverty was one particular area that created the impetus for the creation of New Zealand’s Wellbeing Budget in 2019. Following years of pressure from social movements and expert advice to address the issue, data analysed by the Ministry of Social Development confirmed widespread child poverty in the country. It became a national scandal that 30 years of GDP growth had not improved the measure of child poverty, not even in absolute terms. This issue was a widely accepted illustration of the need to look beyond GDP growth.

Consequently, the government passed the Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018. The Act defines four primary measures of child poverty – two measures of low income households, one measure of material hardship, and one measure of persistent poverty. It also defines six supplementary measures of child poverty. The Act requires the government to publish and report on reduction targets for each of the primary measures, with a duty to explain any non-compliance with the targets. The analysis must include trends for identified populations, such as for the indigenous population of the country.

The Government presented the country’s first Child Poverty Report within the Wellbeing Budget of May 2019. It presented baseline data for the primary measures of child poverty, and defined targets for the measures that the government aimed to achieve in three years and in ten years. It also presented modelling work by the Treasury explaining how the whole-of-government policies in the Budget would contribute to achieving those targets.

Following this, the New Zealand Government also created a Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, which it published in August 2019, to work toward the targets set. The strategy identifies six outcomes:

  • Children and young people have what they need
  • Children and young people are loved, safe, and nurtured
  • Children and young people are happy and healthy
  • Children and young people are learning and developing
  • Children and young people are accepted, respected, and connected
  • Children and young people are involved and empowered

For each outcome, the Government has selected a set of statistical indicators for monitoring trends over time. Some of these indicators will come from a new survey of young people, designed to gather data about health and wellbeing. This nationwide survey will take place in 2021.

This case study illustrates how a government can use evidence as a benchmark to create a dashboard of statistical measures and indicators, in order to set targets and report on progress towards a Wellbeing Economy.

Find out more here.

New Zealand – The Just Transitions Unit’ tags=’Wellbeing Policy Design’ custom_id=’What are the goals of a Wellbeing Economy? / What is Wellbeing Economic Policy?’ av_uid=’av-131mirj’]
In May 2018, the New Zealand Government set up the Just Transitions Unit in its Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, to foster a transition towards a low emissions economy that is “fair, equitable and inclusive”. The unit operates by creating partnerships in communities undergoing a major transition.

These partnerships have four objectives:

  1. Build an understanding of potential pathways to transform the economy to low emissions;
  2. Identify, create and support new opportunities, new jobs, new skills, and new investments that will emerge from the transition;
  3. Better understand how the transition might impact different communities, regions or sectors; and
  4. Make choices about how to manage these impacts in a just and inclusive way.

As part of its climate change programme, the Government stopped issuing new permits for offshore oil and gas exploration in 2018. That policy has a large impact on economic security in the Taranaki region, which has supported oil and gas exploration off the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand for several decades. The Just Transitions Unit has worked in that region, with a particular focus on its energy sector in a low emissions future.

It established a Taranaki Transition Lead Group of representatives drawn from central government, local government, Māori, business, the workforce, education and community organisations. This group facilitated 29 workshops around the region, including a specialised event for youth. It also sponsored a creative competition for students aged 7–18 to describe their vision for 2050; more than 140 took part. Material from this process fed into a draft Taranaki 2050 Roadmap, launched at a National Just Transition Summit hosted in the region in May 2019. The Summit involved 550 people from around the country. Kate Raworth (author of Doughnut Economics) was a keynote speaker.

Following the finalisation of the Roadmap in August 2019, the Lead Group then facilitated workshops to create eleven Transition Pathway Action Plans (TPAPs). The Energy TPAP, for example, agreed on the following Action Statement:

“Using our know how and resources we will transition to a world-leading energy eco-system that provides sustainable, secure and affordable low-emissions energy by 2050, while creating meaningful work, community well-being and prosperity for generations to come.”

Projects to implement the TPAPs are under way, including a project to build a Clean Energy centre in Taranaki.

Find out more here.

Find out more:

The major economic policy event in most countries is the delivery of the Government’s Budget each fiscal year, in which it announces its revenue and expenditure plans. In May 2019, New Zealand attracted international attention for launching the country’s first Wellbeing Budget, which committed to putting people’s wellbeing and the environment at the heart of its policies.

The Wellbeing Budget is designed to use social and environmental indicators, along with economic and fiscal ones, to guide the Government’s investment and funding decisions.

“The purpose of government spending is to ensure citizens’ health and life satisfaction, and that — not wealth or economic growth — is the metric by which a country’s progress should be measured. GDP alone does not guarantee improvement to our living standards and does not take into account who benefits and who is left out.” – Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand

Design Principles

The official Wellbeing Budget document describes the design principles behind this novel approach to economic policy: it breaks down agency silos and works across Government to assess, develop and implement policies that improve wellbeing; it focuses on outcomes that meet the needs of present generations at the same time as thinking about the long-term impacts for future generations; and it tracks the Government’s progress with broader measures of success, including the health of the country’s finances, natural resources, people and communities.

  1. Focusing on outcomes that meet the needs of present generations at the same time as thinking about the long-term impacts for future generations.
  2. Breaking down agency silos and working across government to assess, develop, and implement policies that improve wellbeing.
  3. Tracking progress with broader measures of success, including the health of people, communities, the environment and public finances.

1. Wellbeing Priorities

The Budget began by answering the question, “What is wellbeing?” The Wellbeing Vision, resulting from this reflection was:

“Wellbeing is when people are able to lead fulfilling lives with purpose, balance and meaning to them. Giving more New Zealanders capabilities to enjoy good wellbeing requires tackling the long-term challenges we face as a country, like the mental health crisis, child poverty and domestic violence. It means improving the state of our environment, the strength of our communities and the performance of our economy.” (The Wellbeing Budget, 30 May 2019)

The Budget cycle began with the Cabinet selecting a small number of Wellbeing Budget priorities, using a collaborative and evidence-based approach. Statistical evidence on wellbeing and its distribution among the population, from the Treasury’s Living Standards Framework (LSF), was combined with advice from sector experts and the Government’s Chief Science Advisors. The LSF is divided in two sections:

  • Current wellbeing (income, housing, security, education health etc.); and
  • Future wellbeing (land use, skills and knowledge, health, natural and social environment).

Some measures are taken annually, some quarterly and some more often. The aim is to take into account both the quality of economic activity and the long-term impact of current policies.

After this period of research, five wellbeing priority areas for the 2019 Wellbeing Budget were set, based on where evidence showed the greatest opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of New Zealanders: aiding the transition to a sustainable and low-emissions economy, supporting a thriving nation in the digital age, lifting Māori and Pacific incomes, skills and opportunities, reducing child poverty, and supporting mental health for all New Zealanders. New Zealand allocated NZ$25.6b over four years into the Wellbeing Budget, with spending on the five priority areas representing roughly 5 percent of total expenditure.

2. Ways of Working

Ministers and agencies then developed initiatives targeting international wellbeing outcomes, analysed using the LSF. For each outcome, the Government has selected a set of statistical indicators for monitoring trends over time. Government Ministries and Departments collaborated in budget bids for new funds, to show how proposals would contribute to the priority areas. An example of this was 10 agencies coming together to jointly put in a bid to help address family and sexual violence.
The Cabinet then agreed on an integrated programme of policies to meet its prioritised wellbeing outcomes. The standard Budget documentation was redesigned to make clear how any policy or initiative, including the government’s balance sheet and asset management, contributed to improvements in wellbeing. This practice is spreading throughout the public service. The Treasury, for example, has begun to evaluate and communicate how the government’s balance sheet and asset management contributes to improving wellbeing. The Government of New Zealand has embedded this wellbeing approach into legislation through the Public Finance (Wellbeing) Amendment Act 2020.

3. Tracking Progress

While the Wellbeing Budget 2019 only accounted for new spending for one fiscal year, it made good progress in investing in priority areas. Sustained investment is needed to tackle long-term infrastructure and social deficits; such complex issues cannot be fixed in a single Budget.

“Achieving genuine and enduring change in the way Budgets and policies are developed takes time. We know that we cannot meaningfully address long-term problems like child poverty, inequality and climate change through a single Budget. This is why the Government committed to taking a wellbeing approach to Budget 2020 and beyond to build on the successes of our first Wellbeing Budget.”

The New Zealand government has embedded this wellbeing approach into legislation through the Public Finance (Wellbeing) Amendment Act 2020. It is continuing, and in some cases expanding, the work started within its 2019 wellbeing priorities. The 2020 wellbeing goals are:

  • Just Transition – Supporting New Zealanders in the transition to a climate-resilient, sustainable, and low-emissions economy
  • Future of Work – Enabling all New Zealanders to benefit from new technologies and lift productivity through innovation
  • Māori and Pacific – Lifting Māori and Pacific incomes, skills and opportunities
  • Child Wellbeing – Reducing child poverty and improving child wellbeing
  • Physical and Mental Wellbeing – Supporting improved health outcomes for all New Zealanders

The 2019 Wellbeing Budget was a bold experiment in not only shifting understandings of progress but also embracing a new way of designing policies.

This wellbeing approach contributed to the Government’s swift and effective management of COVID-19 pandemic, as their first priority was protecting the health and wellbeing of their citizens rather than the growth of their economy. At the time of writing, New Zealand has one of the lowest COVID fatality rates in the world with only 25 people having died since the start of the pandemic. They have also used a wellbeing approach to help inform their COVID-recovery efforts and to bolster spending in critical public services such as health, education and green infrastructure.

Barriers to change include the need for further clarification on how to compare policy proposals that had different impacts on wellbeing. While the Treasury has provided some monetarisation estimates for different types of wellbeing impacts, this remains a work in progress.

Find out more here.

Find out more:

In 2017, there was a change of government in New Zealand. At the State Opening of Parliament after the election, the Speech from the Throne announced a new vision for the country’s economic policy: “We need to move beyond narrow measures and views of value and broaden the definition of progress. The economic strategy will focus on how we improve the wellbeing and living standards of all New Zealanders.”

As the government of New Zealand worked to develop the world’s first Wellbeing Budget, they began by using the OECD Wellbeing Framework to understand relevant dimensions for wellbeing.

However, the government recognised that much of our contemporary understanding of economic progress and wellbeing, including the OECD’s framework, has been informed by Anglo-Saxon philosophical traditions

Therefore, the government also worked to ensure that diverse communities were able to contribute their voices to defining wellbeing in New Zealand, based on their cultural perspectives, values and knowledge systems

This involved an initiative to develop a vision of wellbeing, based in mātauranga Māori, the knowledge of the country’s Indigenous population. The name for this Wellbeing Framework is He Ara Waiora, meaning “pathway to wellbeing”.

The framework demonstrates relationships between different elements of wellbeing. At the centre is Wairua (spirit), which reflects the values, beliefs and practices that are the foundation or source of wellbeing. Surrounding the spirit (in green) is Taiao (the natural world/environment), which is presented as the foundation and source of social wellbeing.

The next circle, in red, is Ira Tangata (society), which encapsulates human activities and relationships. The concept of mana (power) is seen as vital for wellbeing, with people thriving when they are empowered to grow and develop, connect with others and have the resources they need to flourish.

The outside circles (blue) present principles to guide how people should work together to achieve wellbeing. These emphasise the importance of coordination and alignment, working in partnership and according to the right processes, promoting collective and strength-based actions, protecting and promoting empowerment, and stewardship of the environment.

Find out more here.

Find out more:

Bukit-Batu is a governance strengthening project in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Its overall objective is to have a well-functioning society where local people are actively engaged in processes that shape the development in their immediate environment.

One important aspect of the project is to encourage individuals and communities to interact with the government and for the government to become much more responsive to the wellbeing needs of local people and their communities. Over time, the project has brought about a significant improvement in the quality of governance in development, through participatory and collaborative processes.

Traditionally, development agencies tended to apply a top-down approach when working with local villages. This was often met with difficulties. For instance, villagers had no access to, and therefore little understanding of, the basis for the development programme as it was imposed upon them. As outsiders, development agents might have been ignorant to local values and cultural practices, and found their plans seldom supported by all community members. Furthermore, there lacked a shared understanding of what wellbeing means for the village, hence individuals sought to resolve their immediate problems, rather than taking the view of a bigger vision.

In this context, a Central Kalimantan NGO, YTS, worked with local villages to develop the Bukit-Batu approach. Inspired by Robert Chambers’ (1994) Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) model, the team enhanced the PRA, especially in their understanding that the relational dimension ought to be central in pursuing village’s wellbeing, involving all members. This has been translated into a dialogic and collaborative approach to community building and to developing the village’s annual plans. All community members are encouraged and motivated to take part in the village-wide analyses and planning processes. In turn, these collaborative processes also help cultivate villagers’ capacities to organise and manage community-level planning and facilitate democratic processes for the equitable benefit of all.

More specifically, Bukit-Batu aims to:

  • Enable villagers to reflect on and identify together their well-being needs and priorities;
  • Establish an effective planning and follow up evaluative process between communities and government;
  • Liaise with and encourage government programmes and services to be tailored to and effectively address specific well-being needs in all communities within the government’s area of responsibility; and
  • Improve significantly social conditions and economic livelihoods and overall well-being within the concerned communities

The programme was implemented in four steps:

1. Developing a common well-being vision for the village

The first step in this process was an important event when all villagers gathered to develop a common vision of wellbeing for the entire village, including envisioning where the village will be in three, five, and ten years’ time in terms of the overall condition of the village, and people’s life within it. This starting point enabled the villagers to reflect and focus on the valuable aspects of their life. In developing a wellbeing vision for the village, the community members also become aware that individual wellbeing and collective wellbeing are mutually developed.

The wellbeing vision was documented by the village committee with the support of the local NGO, and this vision is revisited annually, not only to remind the villagers of how they have seen their well-being possibilities, but also to review and revise their vision. This ensures that their collective vision is represented, and truly ‘speaks’ for everyone.

2. Identifying village well-being priorities

This process served to analyse the village’s existing socio-economic context, and diagnose its wellbeing needs based on the collective vision. Through dialogue and listening, the villagers worked together to review existing needs and challenges, and identify priorities for collective wellbeing. The priorities can include, for instance, agricultural objectives, marketing strategies, the need for technical updates, educational innovation, or specific financial support for a struggling family.

3. Generating an annual implementation plan for economic livelihood

This step involved putting the wellbeing priorities into an action plan. This plan is central to all other activities, and the community can reference it not only to provide a focus for their own concerted effort, but also to feed into the annual government planning process, which earmarks support to communities for the following year. The plan is also used to attract support from NGOs and private companies operating in the area.

4. Evaluating the plan

This final annual process consisted of mapping the community actions and results against the wellbeing priorities, and discussing together how well these priorities had been served, and where the gaps lie. Some of the typical Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) methods were applied in this step, including focus-group discussion, mapping, and modelling, and activity profiles. Still, the core of this step was dialogic and a collaborative review on how effectively the village has been embedded and involved in the district government’s processes and activities, as well as those of NGOs and enterprises that are supposed to provide support to the villages.

An important element of this governance-strengthening mechanism is to foster and strengthen village institutions that will continue the planning and implementation process. Therefore, YTS (the NGO) provided capacity-building support to two groups:

(1) a democratically-elected village leadership group that continue to direct the development process and liaise with all external actors; and

(2) economic livelihood group who would bring the plan to fruition.

The YTS’s work is more in the form of a programme of technical support for improving well-being and economic livelihood activities. In addition to the YTS’s support, the village is directly linked to government departments in the district that have relevant support programmes and services. The stronger the village institutions, the better the village can benefit from such support and services from district government.

The overall result of these steps and associated activities is to make communities much more aware of their entitlement to and needs for government support, and to strengthen the villages’ internal decision-making processes in order to access government supports and services more effectively. In the process, district government becomes much more aware of the lived realities, actual conditions and wellbeing needs of the communities, thereby enabling the government to design and provide much more effective services.

The Bukit-Batu approach seems to avoid some of the weaknesses of the traditional PRA model, such as the ‘tedious’ process for the plans to be implemented, and the reliance on development agents to facilitate community processes. However, Bukit-Batu still has to overcome similar challenges, including balancing the voice and power amongst the villagers (resulted from gender, social status, and historical dynamic), balancing the individual and collective well-being needs, and balancing a proactive attitude towards enriching economic livelihood thereby well-being of the community, and problem-based analysis towards resolving personal issues.

Find out more:

Bhutan – Gross National Happiness Index’ tags=’Wellbeing Policy Design’ custom_id=’It is a nice vision, but how are we actually supposed to get there’ av_uid=’av-w8id0f’]
The pioneer of the Wellbeing Economy movement was the country of Bhutan, which in seeing the failures of GDP as the sole indicator of development, created a Gross National Happiness index to gauge the wellbeing of its citizens. Gross National Happiness (GNH) is inspired by the Buddhist concept of “The Middle Path” and seeks to balance multiple goals. The term is defined as “a multidimensional development approach seeking to achieve a harmonious balance between material wellbeing and the spiritual, emotional and cultural needs of society.”

As a development philosophy, GNH was fleshed out in 1998, in a document outlining the government’s vision for the next twenty years of development. They envisioned an alternative approach to development which:

“…achieves a balance between the spiritual and material aspects of life, between peljor gomphel (economic development) and gakid (happiness and peace). When tensions were observed between them, we have deliberately chosen to give preference to happiness and peace, even at the expense of economic growth, which we have regarded not as an end in itself, but as a means to achieve improvements in the well-being and welfare of the people.”

Bhutan proposes GNH as an alternative indicator for GDP to measure progress or development. Bhutan introduced their concept of ‘Gross National Happiness’ (GNH) in 2008 to track domains such as health, education, good governance, ecological diversity and community vitality.

The Bhutanese government uses a policy screening tool to help the GNH Commission assess policy proposals against its Gross National Happiness framework and set conditions for businesses to add value to society and the environment.Bhutan’s GNH survey assesses attainment across the nine domains of GNH and uses this information for five year development plans and reporting on budgets that speak to the five year plans.

The level of GNH for an individual and for Bhutan as a country are determined through measures in nine domainsviewed as vital for happiness and wellbeing: Living Standards, Psychological Wellbeing, Health, Time Use, Education, Cultural Diversity & Resilience, Good Governance, Community Vitality & Ecological Diversity and Resilience. Each domain was chosen based on wellbeing research which demonstrates its link to wellbeing and happiness. These 9 domains are regularly measured through 33 indicators.

Find out more here, here, and here.

Find out more:

‘The sharing economy is all about the products and services that lead to a happy, sustainable and connected life.’ – shareNL

As the city of Amsterdam works to build a wellbeing economy, they have found that sharing is an economic behavior that has very powerful impacts on social and ecological wellbeing. Therefore, since 2015 they have instigated a process of making the city a “playground for pilot projects. An urban living lab where all stakeholders pilot with this new phenomenon and share insights and experiences.” With the aim of better identifying economic activities that are supporting sharing so that they can better support and foster these activities in the future. As the city of Amsterdam writes, ‘The sharing economy is not a question of ban or authorize, but of monitor and seize opportunities where possible.’

Amsterdam Sharing City was initiated by shareNL and is a joint initiative from the city municipality and ‘ambassadors’ from all corners of the city to work together: from startups to corporates, from community center to public library, and from knowledge institution to the municipalities to find and identify economic activities that can foster wellbeing now and for generations to come.

Source: https://www.sharenl.nl/amsterdam-sharing-city-publications

Find out more:

Section 2 of the Irish Budget, announced the Department of Finance in October 2020, was entitled ‘Moving from GDP to Wellbeing’. The section describes the limitations of GDP, acknowledges the limitations of economic statistics alone to accurately reflect the wellbeing of a population, and introduces the idea of having a national wellbeing measurement in the country as a necessary alternative measure to ensure the drive of economic growth does not eclipse progress towards higher living standards for all.
The Programme for Government 2020 outlines the intention to develop new measures of wellbeing and includes a Wellbeing Dashboard designed to inform the budget process, with a commitment to move towards SDG budgeting.
This programme takes into account lessons learned from examples of wellbeing measures and initiatives in other countries, including New Zealand, the Netherlands, Canada, the UK and the OCED’s Wellbeing Framework. The development of these measures of wellbeing will be guided by group of experts from across civil service, academia, and the private sector, with the aim to bring Ireland in line with the other European and OECD countries.
The Budget highlights takeaways from the OECD’s How’s life in Ireland Reportwhich outlines Ireland relative strengths and weaknesses in wellbeing compared to the OECD countries.
While this programme is new, Ireland has been undertaking equality and green budgeting measures for some time .
Gender budgeting underpins Ireland’s equality budgeting work: departments are asked to set targets against nine dimensions of equality. Ireland’s tax-benefits model includes a gender module. These efforts are led by an Equality Budgeting Experts Advisory Group encompassing representatives from across government agencies and delegates from civil society and academia.
Better understanding of gendered impacts has led to investments in childcare and parental care; support for art and culture for women; efforts to boost women’s participation in sport; apprenticeships for women; research grants for women; smoking reduction projects; work to broaden access to education; efforts to end energy poverty; and so on.
The equality work in Ireland’s budgets sits alongside poverty proofing of government policies. This assesses policy proposals according to their impact on key social outcomes, using a social impact assessment (SIA) framework that looks at the demographics of people receiving public services and disaggregates households and by income, economic status, household composition, and age. These assessments are released the same day as the budget.

Find out more:
https://assets.gov.ie/90764/74a122af-0acf-4384-86b5-a0dbd6cca8f5.pdf
https://www.oecd.org/gov/budgeting/equality-budgeting-in-ireland.pdf

In 2010, when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono saw that despite rapid GDP growth, over 30 million Indonesian’s still remained in poverty, he instigated a series of institutional and strategic reforms to improve wellbeing in Indonesia. Indonesia’s National Medium-Term Development Plan (NMTD) 2010-2014 outlined that the ultimate aim of development must be an improvement in the quality of life for all Indonesian citizens. One of the priority policy goals was to reduce the poverty rate to 8% by the end of the 5-year period.

In order to achieve this poverty target, the President issued a decree for greater institutional alignment and coordination. To accelerate poverty reduction, he called for

1) well-designed, systematic, and comprehensive steps and approaches;

2) coordination amongst all stakeholders (government, private sector, and communities) in policy formulation and implementation;

3) improved targeting, policy harmonization, monitoring and evaluation; and

4) strengthened institutions at the national, regional, and local levels.

In order to achieve these aims, the Government established a National Team for Acceleration of Poverty Reduction (Tim Nasional Percepatan Penanggulangan Kemiskinan, or TNP2K) with the mandate to harmonise all poverty reduction programs and activities across ministries and institutions and to guide and support their implementation.

The TNP2K reported directly to the President and consisted of ministers, community representatives, businesses, and other civil society stakeholders. Given the country’s drive towards decentralisation and greater local autonomy, the government also created coordinating teams for poverty reduction (TKPK) at the provincial, district, and city levels who would manage and support coordination of poverty reduction efforts in their areas.

In order to harmonise and coordinate poverty reduction efforts across ministries and agencies, the TNP2K identified 4 major intervention areas in the economy that were critical for poverty reduction and grouped all programs into the following clusters:

I: Social assistance programs for households and families. Improve the wellbeing of poor families by increasing their access to basic services such as health, education, clean water, and sanitation.

II: Poverty reduction through community empowerment. Increase living standards in communities, build capacities, and develop opportunities for the poor.

III: Poverty reduction through empowerment of micro-enterprises. Provide financing and support to informal and micro-enterprises that are a vital source of employment and income in poor communities.

IV: Poverty reduction through government provision of basic services and/or through price interventions. This was a new area identified for policy action and included six major policy intervention areas in the economy for wellbeing: inexpensive housing; affordable public transportation; clean water; availability of electricity; improving welfare of fishermen; and improving welfare of urban poor communities.

The National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN, 2010‐2014) is its second phase of implementation through Indonesia’s National Long Term Development Plan (RPJPN 2005‐2025)

Find out more here.

Find out more:

Throughout the 1990’s, Iceland, like so many other countries at that time, transformed their economy through a variety of policy reforms. With the aim of “modernising” and growing the economy, the government implemented a series of market liberalisation, deregulation and privatisation initiatives. There was a massive overhaul of tax policies, with the abolishment of the net wealth tax and a reduction in the capital tax (from 40% to 10%) and corporate tax rates (from 48% to 18%). Subsidies for unprofitable firms were terminated and state-owned enterprises, from fishing to commercial banking, were sold off. Regulations on business and finance were reduced and the currency was liberalised. All of these reforms culminated in the total privatisation of Iceland’s banking sector in 2002 and transformed Iceland from a fishing driven to a finance driven economy. The banking and finance sector grew at incredible speed, with stock market prices increasing by 900% between 2002-2003 and the banking sector coming to account for 96% of GDP. The plan worked, Iceland’s economy “modernised”, and it became one of the richest countries in the world.

When the 2008 financial crisis hit, in a matter of days, Iceland’s banking sector collapsed and nearly every business in the country fell into bankruptcy. In a situation where many other countries deemed their banks “too big to fail”, Iceland decided their banks were “too big to save”. The banks were nationalised and split into domestic and foreign operations, with the government guaranteeing domestic deposits whilst abandoning the foreign operations side. A program of widespread debt forgiveness was implemented for citizens and the currency was allowed to devalue by almost 60 per cent to increase demand for local products on the international market. Furthermore, Iceland was the only country who prosecuted bankers as criminals for the damage they had caused to the economy and society.

Viewed from a standard economic policy perspective, Iceland’s response seems strange. But from the perspective of a country whose objectives were to stabilize the economy and protect citizens’ wellbeing, these policies make a lot of sense. “What makes the story behind Iceland’s recovery important is not simply that it recovered. Iceland’s recovery is important because of its priorities – the decisions made about who to protect, and who to shoulder the cost of recovery.” Coming out of the crisis, the country recognized the need for a new approach to politics and the economic governance.

As the country worked to rebuild, the parliament undertook a process of re-writing their constitution through a participatory, “crowd-sourcing” process. Nine hundred and fifty people were chosen by a lottery to discuss the core values, rights and responsibilities of the Icelandic government. The new draft emphasized the importance of government transparency, equality, welfare and the national ownership of natural resources. While this new constitution did not end up ultimately passing through the parliament in 2011, its core value and priorities have come to inform many of Iceland’s policy reforms and initiatives since the crisis.

In working to build a more just and sustainable economy, one of Iceland’s primary goals was gender equality. Icelandic prime minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir wrote: “As governments are slowly turning their focus from raw GDP-driven measurements toward well-being criteria when judging economic success, the demand for progressive social justice policies is increasing…The campaign for women’s equality in Iceland has demanded government action to liberate women from social structures that have kept them down for centuries.”

In order to achieve this wellbeing goal, Iceland recognised that they needed to have a better understanding of their policies’ impact on gender. This required going beyond traditional cost-benefit analysis of policies, so the government instigated a gender mainstreaming and budgeting initiative to “to make the impact on genders visible, so it’s possible to re-evaluate policies, expenditures, and sources of income in accordance with objectives for equality”

The Prime Minster went on to say that this re-assessment of existing and proposed policies led to legislative changes for women’s sexual and reproductive freedoms as well as robust equality laws and gender quotas for corporate boards. But it has also required policies that are, in conventional economic terms, considered extremely expensive (such as) universal childcare and shared parental leave. Fifty years have elapsed since Robert Kennedy rightly said that GDP measures everything except that which makes life worthwhile. Economics is nonetheless still centred on the measurable, dividing government outlays into two categories: expenses and investment. This dualism classifies money spent on physical infrastructure as an investment and, therefore, worthy of public monies. On the other hand, social infrastructure (e.g. childcare, healthcare, education) is branded as expenses or operating costs, preferably the first in line to be cut. Yet these are the structures that sustain us from (before) birth to death and create the conditions that make life worthwhile.”

Iceland’s first-hand experience of the dangers of conforming to the standard economic orthodoxy encouraged them to not only explore new, more holistic methods for assessing and selecting policies but also led them to join the Wellbeing Economy Government’s (WEGO) partnership in 2018. Like other WEGO states (see Phase 1), Iceland has now developed 39 wellbeing indicators based on the SDG’s to “service as the basis for an assessment of real prosperity and quality of life in Iceland”. Following on from their experience with gender budgeting, the government is now in the process of developing a wellbeing budgeting initiative to inform their five-year fiscal strategies and annual budgets by analyzing the wellbeing impact of different policy options in order to reform and develop a coherent mix of policies that can deliver on their wellbeing goals.

Find out more here, here, here, and here.

Find out more:

When the financial crisis hit in 2008, Iceland’s banking sector, which accounted for 96 percent of GDP, collapsed, and nearly every business in the country fell into bankruptcy. Relative to the size of its economy, Iceland’s financial crisis was the largest in the world. While many other countries deemed their banks “too big to fail”, Iceland decided their banks were “too big to save”.

After a bailout by the IMF, Iceland embarked on a path of financial consolidation and reforms, including nationalising Iceland’s banks, implementing a program of widespread debt forgiveness for citizens, increasing taxes and allowing the currency to devalue by almost 60 percent to increase demand for local products on the international market.

Importantly, however, social benefits were safeguarded, and Iceland became the only country who prosecuted bankers as criminals for the damage they had caused to the economy and society. The country’s recognition of the need for a new approach to economic governance is what allowed it to stage one of the speediest recoveries on record, returning to growth only two years later, in 2011.

“What makes the story behind Iceland’s recovery important is not simply that it recovered. Iceland’s recovery is important because of its priorities – the decisions made about who to protect, and who to shoulder the cost of recovery”.

Iceland’s experience encouraged the Government to re-write its constitution based on a participatory process on people’s values and priorities. While it did not pass through Parliament, its priorities informed many of Iceland’s policy reforms and initiatives since the crisis.

In 2019, Icelandic prime minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir described that a public campaign for women’s equality in Iceland” informed the government’s decision to set gender equality as a primary economic goal. The Government instigated a gender mainstreaming and budgeting initiative, which allowed Iceland to lead the world in gender equality and to join WEGo in 2018.

Benedikt Arnasan, Director General for Policy Coordination and Economic Affairs in Iceland, explained that following on from its experience with gender budgeting, the Government of Iceland decided to explore more holistic, multi-dimensional methods for assessing and selecting policies to improve quality of life. As a first step, the Government conducted a survey to determine the general public’s top priority areas, which found that health was the most significant factor in quality of life, followed by relationships, housing , and making a living.

Iceland introduced a framework of 39 wellbeing indicators in 2019, a balanced set of financial, social and environmental metrics which are considered equally significant measures of the country’s success. The process of developing and securing consensus on the wellbeing indicators involved various stakeholders, including the public, political opposition, public service, and spanned two years. The outcomes of the process are six wellbeing priorities, mental health, secure housing, better work-life balance, zero carbon emissions, innovation growth and better communication with the public, which will guide the country’s Five Year Fiscal Strategic Plan. While the framework and priority list have been approved by the Government, they could be improved upon as collaboration with stakeholders continues. Iceland has committed to conducting regular surveys on the nation’s wellbeing due to COVID-19; the first is underway.

This framework of indicators informed not only Iceland’s Five Year Fiscal Strategic Plan, but also global efforts to reach a common understanding of which factors improve quality of life. While many states and international organisations rely on a single composite indicator, which factors in various aspects of wellbeing, Iceland’s framework is able to inform more specific policy formulation, as it produces insights at the indicator level.

Multiple important takeaways from this process were shared with WEGo counterparts. Lack of information on the environmental factors, and a lack of measurements directed at social capital and the work-life balance, made it difficult to choose indicators for prosperity and quality of life. This highlights the need for governments to support the systematic collection and dissemination of statistical data on environmental issues and social capital. This includes increasing the frequency of measurements for indicators that have limited prior data, in order to assess trends. Finally, when comparing indicators, it is important to note that measurements for indicators are often done in different time periods.

Statistics Iceland is tasked with gathering, monitoring, analysing and disseminating data on wellbeing indicators on a regular basis, as well as further developing these indicators in collaboration with key stakeholders, as measurements are largely based on Statistics Iceland’s data and complements the agency’s existing work on measurements for the SDGs.

Find out more here.

Find out more:

Icelandic prime minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir (2019) described that, a public campaign for women’s equality in Iceland” informed the government’s decision to set gender equality as a primary economic goal.

The Government instigated a gender mainstreaming and budgeting initiative in 2009, which allowed Iceland to lead the world in gender equality, according to the World’s Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap. The initiative assessed the gender impacts of budget measures and worked to take corrective action as needed. The Government’s Gender Budgeting Committee includes representatives from all ministries, but is led by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, in formal cooperation with the Ministry of Welfare. In every ministry, there is a steering group tasked with preparing the implementation programme for gender budgeting and policy measures are redesigned as necessary to improve gender outcomes.

Other policies promoting gender equality are:

  • Parental Leave Policy: providing the same benefits to both parents, which include four months of parental leave each and two months of shared leave divided between parents. An important note is that leave not transferrable.
  • Annual Equal Pay Certification: Obligatory for companies and institutions employing 25 or more workers, on annual basis. A bill of law about the Certification was passed by Parliament in 2017 and came into force in 2018. The Certification is based on the Equal Pay Standard, a tool that aims to eliminate the adjusted gender pay gap. It empowers employers to implement a management system of equal pay according to the principle of equal pay for equal work and work for equal value. It is believed that the Equal Pay Standard will be instrumental in eliminating the gender pay gap.

Iceland’s focus on Gender Equality is also reflected in the Icelandic Cabinet, which is comprised of five women and six men, compared to the global norm of one in five ministers being women.

Find out more here and here.

Find out more:

In 2019, the city of Guelph was selected for the Smart Cities Challenge to achieve their wellbeing vision of a “food system where everyone can access nutritious food, nothing is wasted and the impact on our environment is minimal”. This vision came from their residents in recognition that one in six families in the region lacked food security and that the cost of healthy food was continuously rising. Meanwhile, a third of all food products were discarded as waste.

The city decided to try and build a food system driven based on the principles of prosperity, planet, and people with the purpose of building an “inclusive green economy of the future, valuing nutrition, health, diversity, equity and dignity”.

The city’s Smart City vision, ‘Our Food Future: Canada’s first circular food economy’, was to be achieved through three bold goals:

  • 50% increase in access to affordable, nutritious food;
  • 50 new circular food businesses, collaborations and social enterprises; and
  • 50% increase in economic revenues by reducing and reimagining food waste.

In order to develop a strategy to achieve these targets, they consulted extensively with community partners and stakeholders through a Theory of Change process. This process engages stakeholders in a series of thoughtful conversations about the kind of difference they want to see in the world and what they think it will take to create it. Put simply, they explored a series of “if-then” statements to connect the dots between potential activities and the outcomes that stakeholders want to achieve.

Through this process they identified 9 major areas for intervention to shift business, consumer and government behaviour and practices in line with their vision.

The city of Guelph continues this work of bringing people, ideas, and technology together
to build Canada’s first circular food economy through 9 priority projects.

Find out more here.

Find out more: