Like all countries, Wales faces a number of challenges, such as climate change, poverty, health inequalities, jobs and growth. To give current and future generations a good quality of life, everyone needs to be responsible for the long term impact of the decisions we make.
With these challenges in mind, Wales is doing things differently, to create a prosperous, healthy, equal and resilient future, for our country and the world.
Our ambitious goals are inspiring governments around the world, and organisations like the United Nations, which said: “we hope that what Wales is doing today the world will do tomorrow.”
We hope that what Wales is doing today the world will do tomorrow.”
Making Wales a more cohesive country means helping communities to live together and understand each other. In Gwent the Ffrind i Mi (‘friend of mine’) project run by the local health board supports people feeling lonely or isolated to reconnect with their community. And in Brecon, care homes are working with local schools to connect older and younger generations through gardening.
Public bodies are changing the way they think about the long-term impact of their decisions, to help prevent problems before they happen. Public services are starting to work more closely with people and communities to help us create the Wales we want, now and in the future.
For example, Transport for Wales (TfW) is the not-for-profit company that provides our transport network. It is driving the future generations agenda forward on a national scale by developing a supply chain to benefit Welsh communities and promote long term sustainability. This means placing responsibilities on its contractors around ethical employment, waste minimisation and decarbonisation. TfW is also investing in more environmentally friendly trains that will be deployed over the next few years, replacing the existing fleet.
Changing the way a country plans, makes decisions and acts is a huge task, but the effect is already being felt. The wellbeing of future generations is a priority for all public services, and energy use is an example of a national issue being tackled on a local level. In the small town of Bethesda, in North Wales, an ‘energy club’ allows residents to buy low-cost power generated by a local hydropower scheme. It uses communications technology to help 100 households shift energy their use to times when the hydro plant is generating, saving an average of 30 per cent on their bills.
Even small changes contribute to helping Wales become the country we want it to be. Employers are encouraged to offer cycle-to-work schemes and provide staff with lockers, helping them be physically active during the day. By valuing healthy behaviours in small ways like this, we can create a healthier nation where avoidable illnesses are prevented before they occur.
Sustainable development is at the heart of improving our country's social, environmental, economic and cultural wellbeing. And it's not just limited to activity taking place in Wales. An example of our international work is the Plant! project, which plants one tree in Wales and one in Uganda for every child born or adopted in Wales. Over 320,000 broadleaf trees have been planted so far.
It aims to address persistent global problems like climate change, poverty and health inequalities. This means changing the way we think, plan and act at a national and local level.
Turning these bold plans into action has created a whole new way of working. The law sets out seven ‘well-being goals’ to make Wales: prosperous, resilient, healthy, equal, cohesive, globally responsible, with a vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language. We also now have a Future Generations Commissioner, whose job is to make sure the Act’s goals are met, and sets specific targets to track progress.
Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales says, “It is my job to be the advocate of the interests of future generations, to pull up a seat, so to speak, at the decision-making table for our younger generations and even those not yet born.”
Find out more about the Well-being of Future Generations Act.