The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted new challenges for the people of Wales. It has affected the health and well-being of individuals and communities and impacted on wider areas such as how we work and the availability of jobs. These impacts however have not been felt equally.

Those who were already living in poor health, poverty or in marginalised communities have been the hardest hit. It has highlighted the inequalities we knew existed in our society long before the pandemic arose – and these have been further compounded as a result of both the direct and indirect harms from the pandemic.

We hope to harness this heightened awareness to tackle these problems with new energy. We also need to ensure that we take steps to anticipate future shocks and how they may affect different groups That is why we joined forces with Public Health Wales to look at what challenges and opportunities the future may hold for creating a more equal Wales.

The research, carried out by Dr Sara Macbride-Stewart and Dr Alison Parken analyses the impact of changes to the world of work, climate and demographic change on existing inequality.

We must make sure that possible futures are considered as we work to tackle inequality in Wales and the Well-being of Future Generations Act provides us with a compass to travel through and beyond the current pandemic to create a healthier and more sustainable Wales than the Wales of today. We must seize opportunities to fast track new ways of working which could take us towards a more equal Wales, avoid taking decisions which could inadvertently exacerbate inequality and be prepared to take action now to mitigate future trends which could make things worse.

Read our summary, full report and other accessible versions of the report below.

You can also hear how community members in Llanrwst experience the effects of climate change through flooding in the poem ‘Emerging from Winter’.