Europe’s Strategic Foresight Report 2023: Sustainability and People’s Wellbeing at the Forefront

In the face of global challenges such as climate change, energy transition, and geopolitical tensions, the European Union (EU) is taking a strategic approach to ensure the sustainability and wellbeing of its people. The 2023 Strategic Foresight Report, recently released by the European Commission, provides a comprehensive look at the EU’s current socio-economic landscape and its future trajectory.

We have been experiencing an era of permacrisis and polycrisis, with a conjunction of increasing effects of climate change and environmental challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. New conflicts and escalation of the existing ones, mass displacements, financial crises, or pan- demics are other examples of potential crises we might face in the future. Finally, the unprecedented scale of the transitions creates various challenges affecting social and economic aspects of sustainability . Their intersections and combined effects will need to be taken into account to enable viable pathways towards Europe’s sustainability.

A New Measure of Progress

One of the key takeaways from the report is the need for a more comprehensive measure of progress. The report argues that GDP, while a widely used economic indicator, does not fully reflect the environmental or social challenges of our times. As a result, the European Commission is developing Sustainable and Inclusive Wellbeing metrics to complement GDP. By adjusting GDP for factors such as life expectancy, the EU aims to better track its sustainability transition and global performance.

The Triple Promise of Sustainability

The report emphasizes the sustainability transition’s triple promise: a healthy planet, economic growth decoupled from resource use and environmental degradation, and the assurance that no person or place will be left behind. The EU’s domestic footprint has already decreased by 13% over the past decade, but the consumption footprint, which considers the embedded environmental impacts of trade, has increased by 4%. The report suggests that changes in behaviors and consumption can make a significant difference, potentially reducing emissions by as much as 40-70% by 2050.

The Need for Unprecedented Investments

The green transition, according to the report, requires unprecedented investments. An additional EUR 620 billion annually will be needed to meet the objectives of the Green Deal and RepowerEU. The majority of these investments will have to come from private funding, but Member States’ budgets will also play a crucial role. The EU is already set to spend EUR 578 billion – at least 30% of its budget – on climate-relevant action for the 2021-2027 period.

The Role of Early Action and Data in Crisis Management

The report also highlights the importance of early action and better use of data in crisis management. The Single Market Emergency Instrument, a new initiative, will ensure the free movement of goods, services, and people, with greater transparency and coordination in times of crises.The 2023 Strategic Foresight Report underscores the EU’s commitment to a sustainable and inclusive future. As the world grapples with unprecedented challenges, the EU’s strategic approach provides a roadmap for resilience, sustainability, and wellbeing.

Read the full report here:

Categories: digital transformation, europe, Fututure of work, sustainability

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