Throughout Europe, there is now much public dissatisfaction
with economic, social and political systems. These are considered
to favour an artificial type of growth – one that depletes our natural
resources, while leaving many people excluded or marginalised. This
perceived gap between aspirations and delivery should be narrowed.
Well-being (in terms of needs and results) can be more properly
assessed and fostered through indicators covering not only living
standards (referring to income), but also to quality of life in
a holistic way. To this end, measures of access to decent work,
housing and public services, use of skills and educational attainment, environmental
impact, health, social status and links with others, as well as
freedom and human rights in the broadest sense are paramount.
Narrowing the gap between expectations and reality is a major
task for politicians. They must link policies with tools and means
for the benefit of present and future generations. Prominent global
initiatives, such as the Better Life Index, the Happy Planet Index
and the Human Opportunity Index, deserve strong support. Developing
subjective measurements of individual well-being could help track
collective progress. The report also advocates action to better
align national strategic priorities with efforts to meet key global
challenges, notably climate change, pollution, food security and
the responsible use of natural resources.