Well-being of Future Generations Act

The context of our work in Wales is the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act. This legislation applied from April 2016 & has been recognised by the UN as ground-breaking and globally significant.

The Act requires 44 public bodies, supported by the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner, to take action “in accordance with the sustainable development principle” in pursuit of a set of seven national goals. To have the desired impact the legislation will need support from all sectors in Wales. Cynnal Cymru is in a unique position to work with bodies not liable to the Act and not supported by the Office of the new Commissioner. The Well-being of Future Generations Act is about improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales. Our mission is to help others realise the huge opportunity the Act presents and facilitate a national network of cross-sector organisations to achieve the goals.

The Act effectively makes Sustainable Development “the Welsh Way.” If you are doing business in Wales or with Wales, you need to understand this. Sustainable Development is a concept that defines the scope and nature of social and economic interaction. It will increasingly come to define Wales as a nation and a landscape. This is our mission – to make Wales a global example of how a people can prosper within environmental limits and ensure its long-term survival.

The immediate effect of the Act will be to make the public bodies think more about the long-term, work better with people, communities and each other, look to prevent problems, and take a more joined-up approach.

This will help us to create a Wales that we all want to live in, now and in the future.

To make sure we are all working towards the same vision, the Act puts in place seven well-being goals.


Sustainable Development Principle and Ways of Working

The Act puts in place a ‘sustainable development principle’ which tells organisations how to go about meeting their duty under the Act.

Doing something “in accordance with the sustainable development principle” means that the body must act in a manner which seeks to ensure that the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Public bodies need to make sure that when making their decisions they take into account the impact they could have on people living their lives in Wales in the future.

There are five things that public bodies need to think about to show that they have applied the sustainable development principle. Following these ways of working will help us work together better, avoid repeating past mistakes and tackle some of the long-term challenges we are facing.

Why do we need this law?

Wales faces a number of challenges now and in the future, such as climate change, poverty, health inequalities and jobs and growth. To tackle these we need to work together. To give our children and grandchildren a good quality of life we need to think about how the decisions we make now will impact them. This law will make sure that our public sector does this.


Which public bodies does the Act include?

  • Welsh Ministers
  • Local Authorities (Anglesey, Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Neath Port Talbot, Newport, Pembrokeshire, Powys, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Swansea, Torfaen, Vale of Glamorgan, Wrexham)
  • Local Health Boards (Abertawe Bro Morganwg (ABMU), Aneurin Bevan, Betsi Cadwaladr, Cwm Taf, Cardiff and Vale, Hywel Dda, Powys)
  • Public Health Wales NHS Trust
  • Velindre NHS Trust
  • National Park Authorities (Brecon Beacons, Pembrokeshire Coast, Snowdonia)
  • Fire and Rescue Authorities (Mid and West Wales, North Wales Wales and South Wales)
  • Natural Resources Wales
  • The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
  • The Arts Council of WalesSports Council of Wales
  • National Library of Wales
  • National Museum of Wales


More information

For a summary of the Act download a copy of the booklet ‘Essentials Guide’.

You find out more about the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act on the the Welsh Government website.

A copy of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act is on the Government legislation website.