By: Jussi Ahokas

Finland joins the leading group of Wellbeing Economy Governments

This week we received great news when the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health announced that Finland had joined the international Wellbeing Economy Governments (WEGo) network. The news is particularly good for SOSTE Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health (an umbrella organization of Finnish NGOs from the social and health sector) which has been promoting the wellbeing economy approach for several years.

By joining the WEGo partnership, Finland will be increasingly involved in discussions with New Zealand, Scotland, Iceland, and Wales around how societies can be built to ensure wellbeing for all people, despite the great challenges of our time. 

Civil society as a catalyst of cooperation

The news of Finland joining WEGo is also exciting for the Wellbeing Economy Alliance, a civil society network of which SOSTE has been a member since Spring 2019, as the Alliance has been instrumental in the creation of the Wellbeing Economy Governments partnership. Apart from countries being able to engage in wellbeing economy initiatives, the network has offered to its member organizations, foundations, and individuals an arena to reflect together on the need for actions orientated towards wellbeing. 

Due to this cooperation SOSTE, for example, has reinforced the idea that without securing ecological sustainability future wellbeing cannot be ensured. In many respects, the change we need is greater than what could be achieved solely by SOSTE’s work on wellbeing economy, which has mostly concentrated on health policy and social policy issues. A sectoral perspective, or even a national perspective, is not sufficient – a wellbeing economy must be built globally and with all people and the whole planet in mind. 

Together we can build a wellbeing economy  

Given the extent of the required actions, no actor can succeed in building a wellbeing economy alone. It is, therefore, important to involve also governments and civil servants around the world in this joint effort. 

In the case of Finland, the wellbeing economy was one of the main themes during the country’s EU Presidency, and in recent months the wellbeing economy approach has really found its place in the central government’s agenda. A Wellbeing Economy group has just been established in the Public Health Advisory Board, and ministries and other state institutions have also been engaged around the issue of wellbeing economy. It is excellent that this work can now be shared and benchmarked with the other WEGo governments. 

Wellbeing economy for a better future 

When the acute coronavirus crisis is over, we will have again the opportunity to consider the next steps that should be taken to build up wellbeing economies and support people’s wellbeing around the world. 

SOSTE, social and health sector NGOs and global civil society are ready to continue to provide solutions that strengthen and expand the wellbeing economy. It is possible that in following years this effort will be embraced by other countries as well, as the global dialogue around the wellbeing policy and wellbeing economy evolves. This gives hope for a better tomorrow. 

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