A topical issueThe Monitor of Well-being describes economic, ecological and social aspects of well-being. CBS examines well-being at household level, but also considers the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. A year before the coronavirus pandemic struck, CBS had the idea of investigating the ‘resilience’ of the systems on which the Sustainable Development Goals are based. CBS researcher Edwin Horlings explains: ‘What would happen to the Sustainable Development Goals if, for example, the dikes were breached? Or if education came to a halt? This subject has become unexpectedly topical due to the current coronavirus crisis.’
ResilienceThe resilience dashboard answers questions on five themes that cast light on the extent to which our country would be able to absorb a shock. The first question is whether households in the Netherlands have sufficient buffers to maintain their livelihood in the event of a shock. The second question is how large the vulnerable groups are that would be the first to be affected in the event of a shock. Horlings adds: ‘The third question is the most important one and concerns the major systems: society, the economy and the biosphere. How resilient are they?’ The final questions relate to government power and dependencies between the Netherlands and the rest of the world.
Recovery periodResilience is not an absolute concept. The academic literature divides the concept into three components: first, preparation for a possible shock, for example strengthening the dikes; next, the depth of the shock itself, which depends on the base situation; finally, the recovery period in which life slowly returns to normal. These components are all covered in the Monitor. Horlings explains: ‘The question is whether the final component actually takes place: will things return entirely to normal or will adjustments be made that may provide better protection for the next shock?’
Predominantly positiveThe dashboard highlights trends indicating which vulnerable groups will be worst affected by a shock. These will include, for example, the 6 percent of people with the lowest incomes and the 26 percent of people with the lowest education level. Chronically ill people will also be less resilient.
The trends in resilience were predominantly positive when the coronavirus struck our country. In that regard the Netherlands was high in the international ranking, except in terms of the amount of natural space and dependence on energy imports (for example gas from Russia). ‘It will be interesting to see how resilience has fared if we measure it again next year,’ Horlings adds. ‘The shock wrought by the coronavirus on our society is profound and the recovery will probably take a long time. We’re already adapting. For example, you can see companies preparing to make a permanent switch to more homeworking.’
The dashboard highlights trends Indicating which vulnerable groups will be worst affected by a shock