Mar 2 • 1HR 3M

The Woman Who Transformed A Nation | Sophie Howe

The world's first Future Generations Commissioner

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Rachel Donald
Planet: Critical is the podcast for a world in crisis. We face severe climate, energy, economic and political breakdown. Journalist Rachel Donald interviews those confronting the crisis, revealing what's really going on—and what needs to be done.
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“You wouldn't think it was revolutionary for a country to have a set of long-term goals but it's completely revolutionary. There's no other country in the world that has that. It's all just short-term electoral cycles, so nobody really knows where we are, and therein lies the problem with the ageing population, with addressing issues around automation and AI, with addressing issues around climate.

“These things span way beyond, and so the political system doesn't account for them. So having these seven long-term goals, it means, for Wales, we know where we're going.”


What if a nation built policies for the future, not the election cycle?

Sophie Howe was the world’s first “commissioner for the unborn”, appointed to steer Welsh politics away from short-term electoral goals to long-term policies that protect the population and planet. During her seven year term she achieved incredible successes—including stopping all new road planning projects in the nation.

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Sophie joins me to discuss the Future Generations Act, the progressive piece of legislation that led to her appointment and makes it statutory that the Welsh government keep seven long-term goals in mind: prosperity, resilience, health, equality, community, culture and global responsibility. She explains how the Act has transformed education, culture and political thinking in the modest nation in a short time—and why other governments around the world are putting their own Acts through parliament as we speak.

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© Rachel Donald