Towards a people-centred, inclusive, and sustainable COVID-19 recovery: OECD launches the Centre on Well-being, Inclusion, Sustainability and Equal Opportunity (WISE)

Towards a people-centred, inclusive, and sustainable COVID-19 recovery:
OECD launches the Centre on Well-being, Inclusion, Sustainability and Equal Opportunity (WISE)

COVID-19 is reshaping our world and affecting each and everyone’s well-being, from health and financial security to social relations and trust in others and in institutions. The crisis is also further revealing and magnifying social and economic divides fracturing our societies, in particular hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. There has never been a more crucial time for the OECD to create the Centre on Well-being, Inclusion, Sustainability and Equal Opportunity (WISE), which is ensuring that people’s well-being is at the core of COVID-19 responses and recovery strategies.

Even before the pandemic, the OECD How’s Life? 2020 report highlighted that increasing insecurity, disconnection and despair were amongst the environmental, economic and social risks threatening people’s well-being. Now more than ever, policy makers need to prioritise what matters in people’s lives. To help countries do so, WISE is using innovative methodologies and new data to measure prosperity beyond GDP. Drawing on novel and timely data sources, WISE is seeking to fill important evidence gaps, and explore well-being in dimensions that are sometimes overlooked, such as mental health, social connections, work-life balance, subjective well-being, personal safety, civic engagement, and job quality. We are also delving into differences in lived experiences by gender, age, education, race and ethnicity.

Join us for the launch of the WISE Centre, 14:00-15:30 CET, 25 November

Join us on 25 November for the launch of the new WISE Centre. The OECD Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General, Ministers and representatives of civil society who have all integrated well-being as a central part of their mandate and activities will discuss how to ensure that recovery and reconstruction strategies prioritise people’s well-being and inclusion.

The pandemic has brought into sharper focus the fact that economic growth as we know it does not work for everyone; shedding light on well-being inequalities across households, societies, and regions. The current crisis is an opportunity to overcome what might have seemed like a trade-off between efficiency and equality in policy, and foster growth that is truly inclusive in its design. This is why WISE is playing an essential role in studying and addressing the root causes of inequalities across socio-economic outcomes such as income, education, health and many others. It is also assessing the role of policies to prevent increased poverty and social exclusion, to address high inequalities and promote equal opportunities, making governments more efficient and responsive and enhancing social cohesion.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demanded a remarkable response from policy makers and massive efforts from everyone, making it ever more paramount to understand people’s perceptions and attitudes. People’s willingness to support policy is shaped in part by their perception of where they stand in society and what their prospects are. Getting people and governments on the same page is essential. Through innovative tools like Compare Your Income and well-being country reviews, WISE is collecting new data to help governments align public spending with societal priorities and deliver growth that improves people’s lives.

Learn more about the OECD's Compare Your Income tool

Inequalities in our societies are very often rooted in early-life disadvantage. Vulnerability locks disadvantaged children into disadvantaged adulthood, putting the brakes on social mobility. The COVID-19 crisis is having a tremendous impact on child well-being outcomes, exacerbating current inequalities. WISE is working to deliver equality of opportunity for all children in our communities, to improve their life chances and those of generations to come. Thanks to tools like the Child Well-Being Data Portal, WISE is monitoring child well-being inequalities, while matching this data with policies that protect children, and seeking to shape a common vision of child well-being policies in view of the enormous challenges of the post COVID-19 decade.

Inclusive growth also means helping societies and economies transition to a green future. Through its Inequalities-Environment Nexus: Towards a People-Centred Green Transition report, WISE is mapping inclusive and green policies, outlining the main challenges, and identifying solutions for countries to reconcile the imperative of a fair and green transition with the COVID-19 recovery.

WISE’s most powerful resource remains its direct contact with people. The Centre is working develop a thriving community and partnerships to promote inclusiveness, solidarity and sustainability through coalitions like the Business for Inclusive Growth (B4IG), helping businesses, clients and suppliers throughout value chains to create a post COVID-19 recovery and a resilient future.

Delivering better policies for better lives in this complex environment requires that businesses, researchers, policy makers, civil society, social partners and other key actors join forces to take a new, hard look at these fundamental issues.

WISE would like to know what you think as we chart our future! Where are the responses to COVID-19 most at risk of falling short? Which aspects of well-being are most overlooked or given insufficient weight? How can we tackle the different dimensions of inequality? How can we respond to people’s claims of social justice?

Join us for the launch of the WISE Centre (via Zoom), 14:00-15:30 CET, 25 November.

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