Future Generations update

The Future Generations commission has reported progress made in Wales against the nation’s agreed seven well-being goals.



The Future Generations commission has reported progress made in Wales against the nation’s agreed seven well-being goals.

The Future Generations report provides an update on progress being made in Wales towards the achievement of the seven well-being goals to improve the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of Wales. They were agreed by the National Assembly for Wales in 2015 and are contained in law under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

It is not a report about the performance of any organisation, but the collective changes we are seeing in Wales. The report can also be used to consider Wales’ contribution towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals which seek to address urgent global challenges. 

It is important to review the report – which was first published in September – and check the impact you can see within your own organisation, or within your community and colleagues. It is also worth remembering that construction has a tremendous impact on almost every area of our society. What we do as an industry – particularly regarding the procurement, planning and design of any scheme construction is set to deliver (no matter what the scale or purpose) – can positively affect how Wales progresses against these seven goals. 

The report shows:

  • Life expectancy has been broadly increasing and the amount of time spent in good health has been on the up. However, inequalities remain across different groups. 
  • Smoking and drinking are falling, but overall one in ten people follow fewer than two good healthy lifestyle behaviours. Obesity in adults has risen over the long term.
  • In terms of a healthy start to life there has been good progress in areas such as breastfeeding and dental health, but obesity in children remains a challenge.
  • People are more likely than ever to be in work in Wales, although historical economic challenges remain. Whilst having a job reduces the chances of being poor, in-work poverty is increasing as more people enter work. Two-thirds of workers are considered to be in “decent work”.
  • As in the rest of the UK, there has been little improvement in people’s incomes, although the gender pay gap has reduced and educational attainment is increasing.
  • Relative income poverty has remained stubborn and is highest amongst children, although a lower percentage of the population report themselves to be in material deprivation. Socio-economic disadvantage remains a key inequality for some outcomes such as educational attainment and life expectancy. 
  • Inequalities persist in different indicators and across different population groups. For example, black and ethnic minorities are less likely to say that they feel they belong to the local area, and women feel less safe in their communities than men. 
  • People’s sense of community and belonging depends on a range of factors. In general, most people are satisfied with where they live, although one in five people feel lonely. 
  • Many adults attend and participate in culture and sports and trends are generally upwards in recent years. However, participation varies according to age and background. 
  • One in five people speak Welsh and in recent years, data suggest that there is an increase in those speaking Welsh but not fluently whilst use of the language has remained steady. 
  • Water quality and air quality in Wales continues to improve and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen. However, air pollution continues to be a significant health issue. 
  • Renewable energy generation has been on the rise. But our ecological footprint suggests that our key natural resources are being depleted faster than they can be replenished.
  • Overall, biological diversity is declining, and no ecosystems in Wales can be said to have all the features needed for resilience.