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Work to promote the economy of wellbeing continues

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 4.3.2020 10.37 | Published in English on 6.3.2020 at 15.17
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Vanhahko mies ja lapsi halaavat, taustalla vihreää luontoa

Promoting the economy of wellbeing was one of the key objectives of Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU. The Presidency ended at the turn of the year, but the work for the economy of wellbeing continues both nationally and at the level of the EU.

On Tuesday 3 March 2020, a group of Finnish key actors involved in the implementation of the economy of wellbeing approach convened at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health to discuss the topic.

”The economy of wellbeing emphasises the balance between the three dimensions of sustainable development - social, economic and environmental sustainability. Together they make each other stronger and create the foundation for a socially just, sustainable and climate-friendly society,” Minister of Social Affairs and Health Aino-Kaisa Pekonen said at the event.

What is the purpose and objective of the economy?

Concrete ways of promoting the economy of wellbeing in political decision-making in the EU and the Member States were discussed in the event. In the same context, the opportunities provided by the economy of wellbeing in the different sectors of society were discussed.

Johannes Anttila presented Demos Helsinki’s new publication, which promotes the economy of wellbeing.

”What is the purpose and objective of the economy?” Anttila asked in his speech. ”The current toolkit available to the European Union in the field of economic policy is very limited. It should take into account different qualities of growth and enable investments in well-being and people's capabilities", Anttila said.

”In 2030, we will live in a world that is entirely different from the world we have today. The need to take environmental sustainability into consideration and comprehensive digitalisation will change our lifestyle. How will we cope with that change?” Anttila asked, challenging the thoughts of the participants at the event.

The European Union's security policy also shows an accelerating change in living conditions.

”Our resources are increasingly consumed by different crises that have to be resolved. There is less and less time to recover from them. Power politics has returned to international relationships and, on the other hand, the internal erosion of the EU makes it more difficult even for normal activities to take place. Which of the silos do the big changes belong to?” asked Docent Hanna Ojanen and answered the question herself. ”To all of them. People in all sectors do what they can, but the doers or actions do not necessarily meet.“

Kari Mäkinen, Archbishop Emeritus and the chair of the council of SOSTE Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health, summarised that the economy of welfare is a friendly call to look at things in a different way. Mäkinen encouraged the participants to think about what the strength of society is ultimately based on and to remember the role of civil society and environmental sustainability in this context.

Mäkinen also reflected on how the economic indicators we use shape our societies.

”What if we were interested in what happens in the most fragile areas from both human and environmental points of view?” Mäkinen asked.

There is motivation to continue the work to promote the economy of wellbeing.

”The discussion Finland started with the Member States during its Presidency improved, refined and strengthened the European idea of the economy of wellbeing so that it was possible to adopt the conclusions concerning the economy of wellbeing in the Council of Ministers under the leadership of Finland in October. The mindset of the economy of wellbeing is already visible in the objectives and plans of the European Union in many ways, even if the term economy of wellbeing cannot yet be found in the documents,” noted Veli-Mikko Niemi, Director-General of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

”The challenges facing our society affect us all, regardless of the sectoral boundaries, so we will need cross-cutting cooperation and comprehensive solutions to be able to respond to them as well," said State Secretary Saila Ruuth.

 The publication has been produced in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Enquiries:

Veli-Mikko Niemi, Director-General, International Affairs Unit tel. +358 295 163 425

Saila Ruuth, State Secretary, tel. +358 295 163 391

Jiri Sironen, Special Adviser, tel. +358 295 163 410