The well-being approaches studied, with their frame of reference and the associated well-being indicators, consist of policy instruments for the entire government apparatus. Although these approaches are recent and have been the subject of few evaluations, they appear promising. They are in fact based on a vision of social, human, economic and environmental progress and rely on measures that complement those of economic growth and GDP. Their adoption aims to promote what matters most to people, which is their well-being.
The main common features of the welfare approaches of these central governments are:
- They are intended to be pan-governmental, that is, they concern the whole of government and other actors (ministries, governmental and paragovernmental agencies, private sector actors, research groups, civil society, etc.).
- They present the concept of well-being as being multidimensional (e.g. psychological, social, economic, environmental dimensions) and close to both the concept of quality of life and the concept of progress, and in the image of the Initiative OECD Better Life (2011).
- They are based on a well-being reference framework officially put forward by the government, which also includes a table of well-being indicators that complement GDP. These indicators vary by country and serve as a guide to measure the country’s progress and success in different areas of well-being.
The main objectives pursued by governments through these wellness approaches are:
- Strengthen the performance of the state apparatus by linking decision-making processes to results requirements beyond standard economic measures;
- Demonstrate transparency and be accountable to the population regarding the actions taken to ensure and promote the well-being of all;
- Ensure a better future and greater well-being for future generations, nature and the entire planet, by focusing on prevention, long-term planning and cross-sector actions;
- Build on collaboration and the sharing of responsibilities between different actors;
- Increase the prosperity of the country and stimulate the economy;
- Act on the environment, including on climate change, from a perspective of sustainable development and sustainability of resources;
- Affirm and enhance cultural identities and national identity;
- Promote justice and equity for the entire population;
- Act in a perspective of international solidarity and cooperation.
In addition to relying on a well-being reference framework, governments use a variety of means to achieve their goals. The main implementation, evaluation and reporting mechanisms are:
- The drafting of various reports, which are variably included in the policy cycles of central governments;
- Integrating well-being indicators into national budget processes;
- The creation or use of bodies whose mandate is to oversee the implementation and monitoring of the wellness approach;
- The establishment of tools, guides, policies, teams or resources dedicated to capacity building related to the implementation of the approach;
- The mobilization of different social groups, the consultation of different experts and citizens as well as the holding of independent commissions;
- Public awareness and communication campaigns.