Sustainability and wellbeing front and centre of EU Strategic Foresight

European Commission published the Strategic Foresight 2023 report, and doubled-down on human wellbeing and sustainability, putting these at the core of Europe’s future.

The new EU Strategic Foresight report analyses challenges ahead for the green and just transition and outlines areas for action.

This is the EU’s biggest exercise in future-preparedness and long-term thinking.

As ZOE Institute, we are very glad to see a strong emphasis on wellbeing and resilience, which are put at the core of Europe’s long-term future.

The Commission recognises that “a successful and fair socio-economic transition is not a given”, and we are also pleased to see the focus on dealing with trade-offs and reconciling the social challenges of the transition.

The report also sends a powerful signal: it’s time to move beyond purely economic metrics towards measuring sustainable and inclusive wellbeing.

Responding to the report, ZOE’s Elizabeth Dirth, commented:

“This strategic foresight report takes forward the debate on the need for a new economic model, focused on the wellbeing of people within planetary boundaries. We welcome the focus on wellbeing and sustainability – these are new north stars for policymaking.

“Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič has been strengthening the Commission’s culture of preparedness and this needs to be carried on by the next Commission so the EU can continue to act in the day-to-day for our long-term future.”

Of course, the challenge remains to make sure these foresights filter down and inform day-to-day policymaking. Taking forward the insights contained in this report is the responsibility of the entire Commission, and will need to be carried into the next Commission.

ZOE’s ‘Principles for Effective Governance’ for enabling the green and just transition is one practical framework to help align short- and long-term goals, and manage trade-offs and tensions.