From Growth to Wellbeing

The devastating impacts of climate change, rising inequalities within and across countries, increasing fragility and global health emergencies demand a rethinking of socio-economic practices and systems that follow the economic growth paradigm. The world faces profound economic, environmental, and social challenges, as the international community comes to realize that the basic requirements and consumption needs of an ever-growing population cannot be sustainably met by simply maximizing economic output.


Podcast  - From Growth to Wellbeing - By GIZ & Partners

To this aim, alongside our Future Forum event, we produced a podcast series „From Growth to Wellbeing. By GIZ & Partners”. In this series of seven episodes, Alissa Stein, our podcast host, invites to discuss concepts of economic transformation currently hotly debated. The podcast provides different perspectives from renown experts and practitioners in our partner countries.

We want to innovate and learn from each other in an interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral exchange and share our lessons learnt with the wider international development community. So, if you want to look beyond the horizon with us, make sure you subscribe to our new podcast on your preferred platform.

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Today’s episode provides a perspective on Just Transition to ensure that the necessary changes to limit global warming do not result in negative impacts on vulnerable stakeholders and communities. Alissa Stein, our podcast host, discusses challenges and opportunities with the two interviewees: Esther May (Advisor and Just Transition focal point within Climate Cluster South Africa, GIZ) and Timon Wehnert (Head of Berlin Office and Senior Researcher, Future Energy and Industry Systems, Wuppertal Institute).

This episode explains the circular economy approach which provides a convincing alternative to our harmful linear system of production and consumption. In a circular economy, value is maintained as long as possible, and resources are fed back into value chains. Together with our podcast host, Alissa Stein, Elisaveta Kostova (Manager for the Green Action in Enterprises Project in Jordan, GIZ) and Jules Lennon (Programme Manager Circular Fashion, Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation) discuss the most important aspects of Circular Economy. 

This episode focusses on whether and how hydrogen produced from renewable sources (“green H2”) may help economies moving away from fossil energy sources to actively strive towards a social and green economic transformation. The three interviewees are Andreas Stamm (Geographer at the German Institute of Development and Sustainability researching on the transformation of economic and social systems) and Rita Strohmaier (Senior Researcher at the German Institute of Development and Sustainability researching on the transformation of economic and social systems) representing the scientific perspective as well as Steven Hofmann (Advisor Green Hydrogen (H2) Programme South Africa, GIZ) for the development cooperation implementation perspective.

In the first episode of this thematic block “Why should we move from Growth to Wellbeing”, three interviewees will shed light on different perspectives in relation to the debate about why governments and institutions around the world should move from economic growth to wellbeing to guide their decision-making. They discuss the reasons governments and institutions develop more holistic conceptions and measures of progress to respond to the cascading crises of our time. Our guests are Lucia De Carlo (Director of Division “Sustainable Economic Policy, Financial Systems Development”, BMZ), Lorenzo Fioramonti (Professor of Political Economy, University of Pretoria), and Ulrich Höcker (Director of Division “Economic and Social Development, Employment”, GIZ). 

The second episode “What would a move from economic growth towards wellbeing mean for development and development cooperation?” of this thematic block provides a perspective on how to move towards a wellbeing-oriented approach to development thinking and practice. The two interviewees are Romina Boarini (Director of the OECD Centre for WISE) and Jayati Ghosh (Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst).

This episode “How do we move from economic growth towards wellbeing in practice?”, provides different perspectives on the transformation of the economic model and how that would look like in practice. The three interviewees are Manfred Haebig (Sustainable Economic Development Program Manager, Head of GIZ ECLAC Cooperation Programme), Amanda Janoo (Economics and Policy Lead for WEALL) and José Luis Samaniego (Director of the Sustainable Development and Human Settlements Division of the ECLAC).

Rapid changes and new risks, induced through digitalization, globalization and climate change, threaten to erode livelihoods and wellbeing at global level, especially for the poor and marginalized population groups. In this context, resilience describes the ability to better deal with changes and risks – “to bounce back” or recover after an external shock has happened while mitigating structural damage. This podcast episode sheds light on how we can strengthen environmental, social and economic resilience in all dimensions of sustainable development – for example through building reliable social protection systems, “greening” carbon-intensive industries, and protecting natural assets or public goods. We discuss with Anna McCord, a sociologist and economist with three decades of experience in international cooperation. She is currently focusing on social protection as a response to climate change-induced livelihoods and environmental degradation. Rajeev Ahal, director of the GIZ Enhancing Rural Resilience through Appropriate Development Actions (ERADA) programme, will share his experiences with India’s public works programme MGNREGA, and how it contributes to household and community resilience.


Reader - Beyond Growth? Alternative Models for Economic Development

We have asked seven authors from around the world how alternative approaches to the economy look like, what practical examples exist and what we can learn from them for German development cooperation. Their perspectives, practical examples and implications are contemplated in the reader.

Beyond Growth? Alternative Models for Economic Development

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Impressions from the Future Forum 2022

The 2022 GIZ Future Forum “From Growth to Wellbeing: Rethinking Development for a Digital, Green, and Just Transformation” aimed at shaping the debate on how to shift economic thinking towards combining progress across all dimensions of sustainable development and harnessing emerging potentials for development. The debate addresseds various leverage points for a transformation of economic and social development respecting planetary boundaries and centered on human wellbeing.

Please find a selection of session impressions from the Future Forum 2022 conference below. Learn more on the Future Forum website

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The Club of Rome has already given a wake-up call to the international community in 1972 by publishing “the limits to growth” by D.H. Meadows. Where do we stand 50 years later? Why is this discussion more relevant than ever? What can be our contribution as international cooperation community? 

In her inspirational talk, Amanda Janoo talks about her experiences working at the Wellbeing Economy Alliance.

In her inspirational talk, Francesca Bria explains which role digitalization can play in order to combine the social, economic and ecological aspects of development.

The goal of the inspirational talks is to inspire about initiatives already challenging the topics. Joanna Herat talks about the role education plays for health and wellbeing and how it can strengthen resilience. 

The devastating effects of climate change, species extinction, and increasing inequality within and between countries are exacerbating ongoing threats to democracies and the integrity of societies worldwide. Common socioeconomic practices and systems need to be fundamentally rethought beyond the doctrine of economic growth. The aim of this event is to discuss how an alternative development cooperation can look like, which deals with alternative models for economic development beyond growth.

Christian Felber, Writer in "Economy for the common good"
Lebohang Liepollo Pheko, Trade Collective and Wellbeing Economy Alliance
José Luise Samaniego Leyva, Comisión Económica de las Naciones Unidas para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL)

Modelling Wellbeing - Assessing the role of macro-economic models to cater for wellbeing economies in Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

This report is an outcome of the GIZ Sector Network Sustainable Economic Development and Employment in South-East Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Afghanistan (SENECA SEDE) Challenge Fund project on exploring the use of (macro-) economic modelling activities to support a transition towards wellbeing economies. As case examples, three different types of models were analysed: Integrated Green Economy Model in Kyrgyzstan, the Agriculture Sectoral Model in Tajikistan and the E3 modelling approach developed for Georgia and Kazakhstan.

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A new episode is available every second week on common podcast streaming providers: PodigeeSpotifyAmazon MusicDeezer and Google Podcast.

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