The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the relationship between the market economy, state and society in almost every country worldwide. While the economy paused and literally shut down in many countries during the first wave of the pandemic, the state and civil society
have gained new significance in protecting people from the ravages of the coronavirus. This shift has affected the public’s perception of the role of markets, government and society in response to the worldwide shock. In particular there is an increased recognition that societal well-being goes well beyond material prosperity and that society, governments and markets should contribute to enhancing human well-being in a sustainable fashion.
The Italian G20 Presidency comes at a time when uncertainties concerning the evolution of the pandemic persist and its economic impact is expected to weigh heavily on economies and societies for many years. In addition, the global COVID-19 pandemic and climate
crises have catapulted vulnerabilities that emerged from an equity chasm, leaving whole segments of the human population – people with disabilities, older people, displaced and refugee populations, women and children – particularly vulnerable to psychological, social
and economic shocks. However, crises force re-evaluations, reconsiderations and reprioritisations to build forward better, on individual and collective levels, in institutions and among those that govern them, to promote equity, inclusion and well-being for all, leaving no one behind.
Against this background, the Italian Presidency is committed to contributing to the development of a shared vision to shape a brighter future for all, and promises that “All policy actions will be centered on people”. This makes it necessary to put fundamental human needs at the heart of policy making, in line with what the OECD (e.g. OECD 1994; 2013; 2020), Snower (e.g. Lindbeck and Snower 1989; Snower 1993; Bosworth, Singer, and Snower 2016; Lima de Miranda and Snower 2020) and the Social Progress Imperative (Porter, Stern, and
Green 2016) have long advocated. The three pillars of the Italian G20 Presidency – “People, Planet and Prosperity” – call for measurement of economic and societal performance that goes beyond GDP. While significant progress has been made on the international and national statistical agendas on multidimensional well-being measurement beyond GDP, we maintain that the G20 should systematically monitor progress through these multidimensional metrics, thus making it possible to assess the progress of the three pillars of the Italian G20 and in future G20 agendas. Such measurement should encompass not only aggregate indicators of material prosperity and inequality, but also environmental performance and social performance, with a particular focus on social solidarity, empowerment and opportunity, including physical and mental health, education and security. These policy objectives are closely related to the Sustainable Development Goals.
We propose that the G20 monitor annually these key dimensions of success and progress for the G20 countries and beyond to inform development strategies and budget priorities.
Furthermore, we propose that the G20 investigate how these measures relate to public compliance with policies such as pandemic containment and climate action. This brief discusses some possible measures of success and progress that encompass the dimensions of solidarity, agency, equitable economic well-being and environmental sustainability. These measures build on existing research and tools – notably by the Global Solutions Initiative, the Kiel Institute, the OECD and the Social Progress Imperative – developed over the last few years. The metrics discussed in this paper are not exhaustive and constitute a starting point for additional deliberations by the T20 that the G20 Italian Presidency may take forward and turn into a G20 dashboard. The brief also illustrates possible policy implications of such metrics, in lines with the priorities of the G20 Italian Presidency.