As humanity is struggling with the Covid pandemic (and, in many parts, trying to get into a Christmas spirit, despite the virus), there is still some good news happening. Yesterday, the Finnish Government declared that it is joining the WEGo project:
“Joining the network will give us new opportunities to promote the economy of wellbeing approach, for example in the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. This approach makes it possible to create a sustainable foundation for a just, equal, climate-friendly and competent society which is better equipped to respond to future crises and to overcome them more swiftly,” says Minister of Social Affairs and Health Aino-Kaisa Pekonen.
To us, it is incredibly exciting to witness the development of this alliance. We started following the project when it was nothing more than a visionary idea in the heads of a handful people who wanted to establish a different approach to running our economies.
We were there, at the end of 2018, when it was officially launched to the world, at an OECD conference in South Korea.
Today, a little over three years after the first small meeting was held at the University of Glasgow, to discuss an approach to economics that finally puts the wellbeing of people and planet at the core of economic policy development, five regional and national governments have publicly declared that this is the right one for them.
This does not mean that these governments abandon GDP as a key measurement tool in their work. Not yet. Finland cannot, actually: As a member of the Eurozone, Finland is committed to the Maastricht criteria, which indirectly leads to requirements for GDP growth. But if you carefully read the press release that’s linked above, you’ll see that it makes no reference to GDP growth. And that alone is saying something. It is a starting point.
Earlier this year, at the beginning of May, the Welsh Government became first new member after the alliance’s founding:
Covid-19 has dramatically changed our lives and will have a lasting and profound effect on all of us, on our economy, on our public services and on our communities. We cannot go back to business as normal, and need to plan for a Wales, shaped by the virus, that is more prosperous, more equal and greener, rooted in our commitment to social-economic and environmental justice. Last week, we joined the Well-being Economy Government (WEGo) Network and will be working with Scotland, Iceland and New Zealand – who all have a shared ambition to deliver and improve well-being through their economic approach.
Katherine Trebeck has been fighting for years for this alliance to come about, and to this day, she is part of countless conversations that are happening all around the world — as governments are beginning to rethink their approach to economic development, and slowly moving into a wellbeing economy logic.
I am truly excited that we will get to tell the story about some of the amazing people behind all this in our film.
Which will come out next year. Just bear with us. Still working on that edit. And will keep doing that for a little while longer …
A Christmas season that may be as merry as it can — to all those who celebrate it, and also to those who don’t or can’t. And all the best for a year 2021 to all of us — may it make things come true that we currently don’t even dare dream of yet.