Does Vermont need a law creating a Future Generations Commissioner? Supporters of the concept have invited the first Future Generations Commissioner of Wales to speak Tuesday, September 19, 10 – 11:30 am in the Grand Maple Ballroom, Davis Center at the University of Vermont.
The event is sponsored by a group of local organizations concerned about Vermont’s sustainability, wellbeing, and prosperity. The Vermont Prosperity Project hopes to explore a potential law to do exactly that and it’s kicking off its efforts by hosting Sophie Howe, the first ever “Future Generations Commissioner” of Wales from 2016 to 2023, to speak at UVM and with legislators.
Sophie Howe was the first Future Generations Commissioner of Wales from 2016-2023, where she led successful interventions around transportation planning, education reform, and climate action. She has also represented Wales at the United Nations and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and is currently the chair of the Network of Institutions for Future Generations.
The Wales Wellbeing of Future Generations Act was passed into law in 2015 after widespread public consultation on the question: “What kind of Wales do you want to leave for your children and grandchildren?”. The result was the identification of wellbeing goals including a prosperous, resilient, more equal, and healthier Wales built on cohesive communities, vibrant culture, thriving Welsh language, and global responsibility.
The event is being organized by the Vermont Prosperity Project and co-sponsored by the Lintilhac Foundation, Wellbeing Economy Alliance, UVM Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, UVM Gund Institute for Environment, and the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.
The event will be Live Streamed. More information on Sophie Howe and the landmark legislation are included below.
The Wellbeing of Future Generations Act in a nutshell:
- The Act required the government to develop intuitive indicators to measure progress towards the achievement of the 7 wellbeing goals, resulting in a set of 50 national indicators.
- Government departments and most public bodies need to set wellbeing objectives and targets in accordance with these wellbeing goals and report annually on their progress towards the achievement of these objectives.
- Governance and decision-making was reformed in line with five principles or “ways of working”: Collaboration, Integration, Involvement, Long-term, Prevention.
- A Future Generations Commissioner was appointed to represent the needs and the interests of future generations. Together with the Auditor General for Wales, the Future Generations Commissioner monitors and evaluates public bodies’ achievement of the seven wellbeing objectives and the extent to which they are acting in line with the five ways of working. The Commissioner has a seven-year tenure, longer than the electoral cycle.
- The Act applies to government bodies at all levels and while progress is monitored at the national level, each community is empowered to design bespoke strategies to support their achievement.
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