Future Generations Commissioner welcomes milestones set by Government but says more ambition is needed in some areas
Wales’ Well-being of Future Generations Act is a law that puts a duty on Welsh Government to protect the interests of future generations while meeting the challenges of today - the law requires the Government to set milestones they are seeking to achieve on their way to meeting each of Wales’ seven well-being goals.
“The Act was designed to be clear in its ambitions for the Wales we all want to live in and also flexible, with an ability to adapt milestones based on emerging needs of our people and planet, both now and in the future.
I therefore welcome Welsh Government setting their first-wave national milestones, creating a pathway for Wales to follow for the future, and providing a measure for our progress against the well-being goals set out by our world-leading Act.
I am pleased to see the scope of the indicators and milestones covering the breadth of our well-being goals, every one of which is connected and must be treated as such if we’re to achieve a healthier, prosperous, resilient, globally responsible and more equal Wales with connected communities, vibrant culture and a thriving Welsh language.
However, I want our government to be more ambitious in setting their milestones. For example, the elimination of the pay gap for gender, ethnicity and disability should be achieved long before 2050.
I also want to see a commitment from the Government to go beyond Wales using its fair share of the world’s resources by 2050, and instead commit to using less than our share to combat climate change.
Our heritage in coal and the industrial revolution means we have already taken so much from the World- we now have a responsibility here in Wales to lead the green revolution.
It is positive that skills and employment have been included in the Government’s first wave of milestones.
However, upskilling our communities in areas which will help them thrive in industries of the future must be a priority – our approach to skills should also support our ability to meet climate change targets by ensuring we’re prioritising skills in green industries.
I am also concerned that data has not been made available or broken down for ethnicity and other population groups in terms of young people in education or work, as we understand data is currently only available by gender which does not reflect the Government’s own Race Action Plan or commitments on disability.
I had hoped to see interim milestones included by Welsh Government to measure progress and ensure Wales is on target for meaningful and effective change. While the long-term ambition is very important, interim markers would help focus policy action and delivery.
Additionally, it would be welcomed to see a narrative and ambition beyond 2050 to explain and set out what happens when we arrive at 2050, whether the milestones are achieved or not.
I am looking forward to the second wave of milestones which are still being developed and will follow in 2022. In the coming months and years, I want to see Welsh Government and all bodies developing policy in Wales to show how they’re working in a joined-up way.
I want to see examples where the link is being made between Wales not only reducing emissions in the transition to a low-carbon economy, but also reducing inequalities.
I also want a commitment made to setting a milestone in relation to people’s happiness and well-being in efforts to incorporate cohesive communities and a sense of community, as the current set of milestones and indicators are predominantly framed through an individualistic lens.
As always, national milestones and indicators mean very little without meaningful action to meet them.
I look forward to supporting the Government and public bodies in implementing policies that support our current communities whilst simultaneously protecting our future generations.”