The Well-being of Future Generations Act (2015) places a duty on Welsh Government and public bodies to work towards the seven inter-connected wellbeing goals. Of these seven goals, only one explicitly recognises Wales’ impact on and relationship with the rest of the world – the Globally Responsible goal.
But we have a long way to go before we can claim to be a globally responsible nation. Wales currently uses far more than its fair share of the earth’s resources (Swaffield et al 2020). We finance harmful practices through investments (UK Divest, undated). Our supply chains are not free from deforestation (Buckland et al, 2021). And not all our relationships with the rest of the world are rooted in partnership and equality (WCIA, 2021).
In order to make better progress, we need everyone involved in delivering the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act to understand the Globally Responsible Wales goal much better (WWF/Welsh Government, 2018). Some identify only the environmental dimension of the goal, or conflate global responsibility with progress on domestic goals like the reduction of poverty in Wales. Until recently, the indicators for this goal have been poorly defined and there are still insufficient milestones in place to drive forward progress. There is also evidence of inconsistency between policy commitments and practice. For example, the International Strategy for Wales places Global Responsibility as a central principle, but some of the actions in the strategy are not aligned with this goal (WCIA, 2022).
The 2020 Wellbeing of Future Generations report recognises these shortcomings and makes a series of recommendations about how Welsh Government and public sector can respond. However, there is still a need for guidance and support for public bodies to take this forward in practice.
In this short paper, we have collected recommendations from organisations across the international sector and used these to present a possible vision of a globally responsible Wales. We also signposts some excellent resources and examples that have already been created to support delivery of the goal; and identify some of the key stakeholders in the international sector in Wales who are involved in these efforts.
Funded by the Well-being of Future Generations Commissioner.