Something very interesting, revolutionary even, is happening in one of our nearest neighbours.
The small nation of Wales is taking huge steps on its sustainability journey with the introduction of its Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, the first Act of its kind to be passed anywhere in the world.
This piece of legislation, passed earlier in the year, is remarkable in looking beyond the cycles of short term government electoral promises and identifying exactly what the Welsh people want their country to be like in the future.
Based on the sustainable development principles of considering impacts on future generations, the Act aims to make public bodies:
• think more about the long-term,
• work better with people, communities and each other
• look to prevent problems, and
• take a more joined-up approach
After a “national conversation” lasting 12 months which involved asking the Welsh people what they wanted for their country, the Welsh Assembly has drawn up seven well-being goals which public bodies need to achieve. These include making Wales:
• More prosperous
• More resilient
• More equal
• Comprised of cohesive communities
• Having a vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language
• Being globally responsible
The public bodies need to take decisions based on their consideration of impacts on all of these goals, not just one or two of them.
A set of measures as to how to monitor national well-being has been drawn up and is currently out for consultation. Some measures have yet to be identified and the Assembly is asking the Welsh public to suggest what these might be.
The legislation also allows for the establishment of a Future Generations Commission to act in a guardian role.
Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones said the Act “places a duty on us all to work together to ensure that decisions taken today are made with future generations at their heart.”
Other nations will be watching progress with interest and many will be hoping to kickstart similar debates.
So, what would we like for a future Isle of Man? That’s a subject EcoVannin we will be coming back to over the next few months.
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