Session 2 - Implementing a well-being approach to policy and international partnerships in Latin America, 28-30 June 2022
Date : 30/06/2022
Session 2: Linking well-being evidence across the policy cycle and across
different timeframes: From long-term vision to planning to budgeting and action, 29 June 2022
Realigning national policy efforts to achieve well-being requires more than improved measurement: it demands a more coherent and coordinated approach to government, ensuring that all departments, levels and territories are working towards a shared aim. A first step towards this is producing a public statement
of national development or well-being priorities, ideally reflecting the views of a wide range of stakeholders, including civil society. Many LAC countries do this regularly in the form of National Development Plans, which have increasingly in recent years incorporated social, environmental and equity aspects, alongside traditional macro-economic objectives. In addition, reflecting the fact that improving well-being and
ensuring its sustainability is a long-term, intergenerational challenge, some countries are producing longer term visions for how they want their societies to look in 20 or even 30 years’ time. The UN 2030 Agenda also provides an important long-term global framework, and most countries in the region have made efforts to align their planning with the Sustainable Development Goals.
However, while long-term visions and medium-term planning focused on well-being and sustainability represent valuable statements of government (or, ideally, societal) priorities, they often fall short of their potential to coordinate action across sectors, timeframes and different stages of the policy cycle. For example, one of the most significant steps in the policy process – budgeting and resource allocation – is often conducted in complete disconnect from long- and medium-term planning priorities. This is the case across Latin America, but also elsewhere in the OECD. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that budgeting generally takes place on a different (annual) timeframe, with a focus on programmes and outputs rather than societal outcomes, and using prioritisation methods that do not give prominence to
well-being evidence. In addition, when there is institutional disconnect between the departments leading well-being planning and frameworks, and the Treasuries or Finance Ministries managing the budget process, there is little incentive to change established processes. It does not have to be this way though, and a number of countries in the region and elsewhere are making efforts to ensure that well-being evidence informs decision-making across the policy cycle. This session will explore some of these examples, addressing some of the following key questions:
- How can governments better link intermediate processes such as budgeting, and the monitoring and evaluation of programme performance, with higher level societal outcomes expressed in medium-term plans and long-term visions for improving well-being and sustainability? What are the main challenges which need to be overcome?
- What institutional and operational innovations can help to mainstream well-being and sustainability approaches across the policy cycle?
- What is the value of having a long-term societal vision for well-being and sustainability, and can it be sustained across electoral cycles?
- Do crises – such as the COVID pandemic and the war in Ukraine – present more of an opportunity or a constraint for implementing well-being approaches in policy?