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Developing a comprehensive framework for measuring well-being

Measures of income and wealth alone, such as GDP, are far from giving an accurate picture of individual and collective well-being. Additional indicators are necessary to better assess and foster the well-being of citizens in order to shape public policies that take account of people’s aspirations, said the PACE Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development today.

The committee recommends using indicators on the quality of life, such as access to decent work, housing and public services, use of skills, environmental impact, bodily and mental health, educational attainment, social standing, freedom and human rights.

Lord Dundee’s report, which was adopted by the committee, also describes attempts to measure well-being, in particular the work of the OECD on measuring progress and the Better Life Index, the recommendations of the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission on the measurement of economic performance and social progress, and the World Bank’s Human Opportunity Index.

The United Kingdom, Germany, Finland, Austria and many other countries are currently revising their systems to better assess and promote levels of well-being and sustainable development. The adopted text points out that fifteen EU member countries have already announced their intentions to adjust current approaches and measures.