Broader perspectiveThe Monitor of Well-being and the SDGs 2023 comprises much more than the situation in the Netherlands here and now. It also examines the consequences of the present Dutch way of life for future generations in the Netherlands (later) and for people living in other countries (elsewhere). It is difficult to present a clear picture of this broader perspective, but it is also important to do so. ‘It’s a hot topic in both public and political debate,’ says CBS’ Chantal Blom. Blom is project manager of the Well-being Factsheets project and together with her team compiled the factsheets for all government ministries (with the exception of the Ministry of General Affairs, because of its specific nature). The factsheets were presented on Budget Day.
SDGsBlom: ‘Following the presentation of the four initial factsheets in 2022, we held discussion rounds with all government ministries to establish which well-being indicators match their specific policy areas. As we also include SDGs in well-being, it can also be seen which ministries are contributing to the SDGs in their own policy areas. We have added 26 new indicators to the dataset for the 2023 Well-being Factsheets’.
Concept of well-being‘By compiling these ministerial factsheets, CBS has developed a valuable new instrument to help us gain an insight into key indicators for each ministry’s policy areas. For future editions, it would be useful if we could identify potential links between policy areas,’ says Natasha Stroeker. She manages the team of knowledge coordinators at the House of Representatives. Government policy often involves various departments: important themes go beyond the confines of one ministry. There has been a longstanding need for a clearly defined concept of well-being. The Temporary Committee on a Broad Definition of Welfare headed by Rik Grashoff was already exploring this in 2015.
In 2018 Lammert van Raan, member of parliament for the Party for the Animals (Partij voor de Dieren), tabled a motion (34298-24) to incorporate the concept of broad well-being in all government decision-making. The theme also featured on the knowledge agendas of the Parliamentary Committees on Education, Culture and Science, on Finance, and on Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. One proposal discussed by these committees was to integrate the Monitor of Well-being and the Sustainable Development Goals with the government’s budget and accountability cycle. In addition to CBS, the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP), Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) are working together to embed well-being in the budgetary structure. A motion tabled by Hammelburg et al. (35 925-88) in 2021 comprised a concrete proposal to place well-being indicators at the centre of the government’s annual budget and other government accountability reports. Ms Stroeker: ‘It’s a good job we now have the factsheets. With more and more data at our fingertips, we can monitor more accurately what the consequences of policy decisions will be. We are now in a position to see what certain choices mean in the long term (later) and for people in other countries (elsewhere). The factsheets make it possible to see the effects and consequences of Dutch government policy beyond the here and now. We have a moral duty to look beyond our own generation and beyond our own borders.’