Expertise

Sustainable Livelihoods

Life is changing quickly. Whether it’s the upsurge in conflicts or global competition, the redrawing of the global energy resources map, rapid progress in AI or new health bugs and deteriorating health systems, the world is changing at mind-boggling speed. From obesity, mental health and the digitalisation of work and consumption, to rapid growth in tech and increasing vulnerability, things look very different compared to just a year or two ago.

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Life is changing quickly. Whether it’s the upsurge in conflicts or global competition, the redrawing of the global energy resources map, rapid progress in AI or new health bugs and deteriorating health systems, the world is changing at mind-boggling speed. From obesity, mental health and the digitalisation of work and consumption, to rapid growth in tech and increasing vulnerability, things look very different compared to just a year or two ago.

One of the key lessons of COVID-19, therefore, is that a pandemic is so much more than a health crisis. Governments must not see health as a cost but as an investment in social, economic and political stability and security. Countries spend, however, relatively little preparing for health crises, which are damaging and costly. We need to move from a cure to a prevention mindset.

Progressive innovation requires a different mindset for problem-solving, whether it’s the importance of R&D or pricing in pharmaceuticals, the resilience of supply chains or redefining how people are supported to adjust to  a rapidly changing environment. This requires a policy architecture and financing to help people, communities and sectors cope with and recover from stresses and shocks, as well as maintain or enhance their capabilities and assets, both now and in the future, while not undermining natural resource bases.

One of the most critical issues of concern today is the growing poverty gap and deepening economic inequity, which has resulted in an inordinate concentration in the poorest of our communities. The accelerating demographics in Europe are amplifying these issues and adding a complexity that policymakers have yet to grasp.

Our approach encourages thinking out of the box. It aims to free the private and public sectors from conventional approaches that are often restricted to identifying problems and finding solutions. It invites them to look at contexts and relationships. It compels them to look for multiple entry points and to move beyond a homogenous ‘community’ view and a narrow sectoral perspective.

Progressive innovation for sustainable livelihoods stresses the importance of mapping the European institutional framework and linking it to not only the national and local levels but also how people make sense of their lives. Therefore, it calls for a new style of policy appraisal that moves from universal prescriptions

Briefing Paper: Health, and the Renewed Social Contract 2022

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