The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 aims to make practical sense of the sustainable development principle. It does this by promoting 7 Well-being Goals and 5 Ways of Working for public bodies. These are important tools to give effect, in our own country, to the UN’s sustainable development goals.
Children’s interest in this agenda is obvious, not just because ‘they are the future’ but because they have needs in the here and now as well as their own contribution to make to decisions and actions that will deliver sustainable development. And under the UNCRC, which is part of the law in Wales, they have the right to action that responds to their needs and to have their views taken seriously when decisions are taken that affect them.
Many Lleisiau Bach projects have demonstrated the role children and a child-rights framework can play. The Lleisiau Bach team has worked with others to make the case for better alignment of sustainable development and children’s rights in policy and practice: see Integrating Sustainable Development and Children’s Rights: A Case Study on Wales (Croke, Dale, Dunhill, Roberts, Unnithan & Williams) (2021) Social Sciences, 10(3), 100
On our Local Projects page we have indicated some Lleisiau Bach projects that exemplify this, where children have chosen issues to research that clearly connect with the Well-being Goals or approaches that clearly connect with the Ways of Working.
The following is a brief description of Wales’ Future Generations law. For more information see the web pages of the Future Generations Commissioner.
Sustainable Development in Wales
Section 2 of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 defines sustainable development in Wales as:
The process of improving the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales by taking action, in accordance with the sustainable development principle, aimed at achieving the well-being goals.
Section 5 explains that the ‘sustainable development principle’ means that public bodies must:
act in a manner which seeks to ensure that the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
The Act sets out 5 ways of working needed for public bodies to achieve 7 well-being goals. This approach provides an opportunity for innovative thinking, reflecting the way we live our lives and what we expect of our public services.
The 7 well-being goals are as follows (taken from section 4 of the Act):
|A prosperous Wales||An innovative, productive and low carbon society which recognises the limits of the global environment and therefore uses resources efficiently and proportionately (including acting on climate change); and which develops a skilled and well-educated population in an economy which generates wealth and provides employment opportunities, allowing people to take advantage of the wealth generated through securing decent work.|
|A resilient Wales||A nation which maintains and enhances a biodiverse natural environment with healthy functioning ecosystems that support social, economic and ecological resilience and the capacity to adapt to change (for example climate change).|
|A healthier Wales||A society in which people’s physical and mental well-being is maximised and in which choices and behaviours that benefit future health are understood.|
|A more equal Wales||A society that enables people to fulfil their potential no matter what their background or circumstances (including their socio-economic background and circumstances).|
|A Wales of cohesive communities||Attractive, viable, safe and well-connected communities.|
|A Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language||A society that promotes and protects culture, heritage and the Welsh language, and which encourages people to participate in the arts, and sports and recreation.|
|A globally responsible Wales||A nation which, when doing anything to improve the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales, takes account of whether doing such a thing may make a positive contribution to global well-being.|
The 5 ways of working are (taken from section 5 of the Act):
|Way of working||Description|
|Long-term||Recognise the importance of balancing short term needs with the need to safeguard the ability to meet long term needs, especially where things done to meet short term needs may have detrimental long-term effects|
|Integration||Take an integrated approach, by considering how well-being objectives adopted by a public body may impact upon each of the well-being goals, on each other and other bodies’ well-being objectives|
|Involvement||Involve people who have an interest in achieving the well-being goals, ensuring diversity of representation whether nationally or locally|
|Collaboration||Act in collaboration with others, within or outside the public body, to help that body or another meet its well-being objectives|
|Prevention||Deploy resources to prevent problems occurring or getting worse, helping to meet well-being objectives|