Wellbeing Economy Governments (WEGo)

Overview

Building a Wellbeing Economy is a top priority for the Scottish Government. This means building an economy that is inclusive and that promotes sustainability, prosperity and resilience, where businesses can thrive and innovate, and that supports all of our communities across Scotland to access opportunities that deliver local growth and wellbeing

Scotland is a founding member of the Wellbeing Economy Governments (WEGo) group, an initiative where member countries are working together to understand the key priorities for a wellbeing economy. The group enables cross-government engagement, learning and collaboration to utilise the advice of experts and deepen their understanding of delivering a wellbeing economy for citizens and environment.

The group was formally launched at the OECD’s World Forum in Incheon, South Korea, in 2018. This included participation of senior officials from the Governments of Scotland, Iceland and New Zealand along with Professor Joseph Stiglitz, a member of the Scottish Government’s Council of Economic Advisers and Chair of the OECD’s High level Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress. 

Membership of the group has grown organically since its launch in 2018 and currently involves the Governments of Scotland, Iceland, New Zealand, Wales and Finland.

Objectives:

  • collaborate in pursuit of innovative policy approaches aimed at enhancing wellbeing through a broader understanding of the role of economics – sharing what works and what doesn’t to inform policymaking
  • progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in line with Goal 17, fostering partnership and cooperation to identify approaches to delivering wellbeing
  • address the pressing economic, social and environmental challenges of our time

Policy labs

The Economic Policy Labs are the platform through which officials from the respective governments can share experience and expertise. They provide a forum for officials to engage in practical exchange on specific policy areas of shared interest, in pursuit of enhanced wellbeing for current and future generations.

The group held their first series of economic policy labs in Edinburgh in May 2019 at the former home of Adam Smith, Panmure House. An opening session was held, inviting actors from the third sector and civic society to hear about the aims and ambitions of the group. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir and the OECD’s Carrie Exton delivered the welcome address.

More recently in 2020, the group held a series of virtual policy labs which included participation from Governments of Scotland, Iceland, New Zealand, Wales, Finland and Canada. The group plan to continue to hold virtual policy labs at frequent intervals throughout 2021.

Since the launch of the group, a wide range of topics have been covered in the policy labs, including: performance frameworks, wellbeing budgeting and inclusive growth; sustainable tourism and natural capital; child poverty and predictive analytics; the challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic; and climate change.

First Minister’s TED speech on wellbeing

Documents