It is therefore incredibly important that the Welsh Government release a Future Trends Report, as they did this week.

The Future Trends Report, designed to support the public sector in Wales make better decisions for the long-term. This report highlights four megatrends (people and population, planetary health and limits, inequalities, and technology) and provides insight on trends relating to ‘public finances’ and ‘public sector demand and digital’. My office has worked closely with Welsh Government and other partners to help develop this important resource for Wales. 

The report highlights many of the issues we know we need to tackle, and many issues that are highlighted in our ‘Inequality in a Future Wales’ report. The Future Trends report reminds us that 1 in 5 people still live in poverty in Wales, and income inequality and inter-generational inequality are currently still on the rise; Ethnic Minorities are also more likely to live in relative income poverty in Wales. Our planet is getting hotter, and 17 per cent of species found in Wales are in danger of becoming extinct, marking a dangerous loss of biodiversity. We are continuing to see a gap in health between the wealthiest and poorest in society, and our unemployment levels differ vastly by region. 

It is clear from the report that we are not doing enough to turn the tide, in Wales and globally. However, we also need to focus on the positives from the report as a sign that things can change for the better. I am happy to see projections that global emissions will level off, due to efforts to accelerate decarbonisation, advances in green technologies, and COP 26 international decarbonisation pledges; This important work is an example of the world’s governments, academics, and workers coming together and collaborating for change.  

We must use this report to guide our decision making. Few nations in the World conduct a report into future trends or have a legal duty to legislate for future generations, and so we are in a great position to make policies for our current and future generations that make a real difference. After a drop in the well-being of our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a watered-down COP 26 Glasgow Climate Pact, we must utilise the facts and trends to inform a green and just recovery that satisfies all of our well-being goals. Wales is still playing catch up in many key areas- we owe it to our people and our planet to do better.”