18 September 2019 - 19 September 2019
Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland

High-level Conference on the Economy of Wellbeing

Elena Rovenskaya and Leena Ilmola-Sheppard are invited to participate in the High-level Conference on the Economy of Wellbeing organized by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health of Finland under the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The conference is attended by high-level government officials and representatives of international organizations. Elena Rovenskaya gives a keynote speech on "National wellbeing and resilience of the economy: systems perspective".

© Bulat Silvia | Dreamstime.com

© Bulat Silvia | Dreamstime.com

Wellbeing and economic policies are in the best cases
mutually reinforcing, coherent factors. Economic growth improves people's wellbeing whereas wellbeing and health of the population enhance economic growth and stability. The conference highlights the holistic Economy of Wellbeing approach, which examines the two-way relationship between wellbeing and the economy and aims at finding a more in-depth and horizontal way to look at the fundamental goal of the wellbeing of citizens and to build a more socially sustainable Europe. The conference aims to generate cross-sectoral dialogue on the themes for use in the forthcoming Council conclusions on the Economy of Wellbeing.

Among the participants of the conference are H.E. Tuula Haatainen, First Deputy Speaker, Parliament of Finland; H.E. Lena Hallengren, Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Sweden; H.E. Timo Harakka, Minister of Employment, Finland; H.E. Tanel Kiik, Minister of Social Affairs, Estonia; H.E. Krista Kiuru, Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services, Finland; H.E. Linas Kukuraitis, Minister of Social Security and Labour, Lithuania; H.E. Martina Lubyová, Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport, Slovakia; H.E. Nada Murganić, Minister of Demographics, Family, Youth and Social Policy, Croatia; H.E. Aino-Kaisa Pekonen, Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Finland; H.E. Iris Rauskala, Minister of Education, Science and Research, Austria; H.E. María Luisa Carcedo Roces, Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Spain; and Baroness Nicola Blackwood, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, UK.

Elena Rovenskaya, IIASA Acting Deputy Director General/CEO, Program Director of the Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA) program, and Acting Program Director of the Evolution and Ecology (EEP) program, presented for the first time the results of the IIASA project on systems analysis of the national well-being system in her keynote speech at the High-level Conference on the Economy of Wellbeing. © Antti Aimo-Koivisto | STT-Letikuva

"The true danger is what Dr. Rovenskaya showed, to implement a policy in this spaghetti bowl system, and notice afterwards that unintended consequences exceeded desired ones", commented John F. Ryan, Director, DG for Health and Food Safety of the European Commission (on the photo right), to the Minister of Employment of Finland Timo Harakka (on the photo left). © Leena Ilmola-Sheppard | IIASA

National wellbeing and resilience of the economy: systems perspective

Policy planning in modern states increasingly recognizes that national economic growth per se does not reflect necessarily whether citizens have a good life. Macro-economic indicators, in particular the GDP, do not cover all dimensions of the nation’s development progress. Furthermore, due to the volatility of economic cycles and interdependency of a country with the global economy, national policy makers have limited power to master growth. Wellbeing is becoming a new target for the national policy.

Even though economic welfare is one of the key prerequisites of citizens’ wellbeing, it has been recognized that there is a need for a more comprehensive approach to measure wellbeing to inform policy makers and the general public, as well as to support efficient policy-making.

Systems analysis is an approach that can help policy planners and decision makers facing a complex problem with many interdependencies across different fields of government. Systems analysis is, at its best, able to obtain new insights about the system and its behavior by analyzing relationships between different parts of a problem and revealing how a change in one part can kick off further changes in the system.

Application of systems analysis methods enhances a general understanding about national wellbeing by describing its underlying mechanisms, provideing a framework for further investigation of the potential dynamics of wellbeing and identifying factors influencing its sustainability and resilience and can assist in deriving initial insights and recommendations for efficient and effective policy-making to foster wellbeing.

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Last edited: 24 September 2019


Elena Rovenskaya

Program Director

Advancing Systems Analysis Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 608


Leena Ilmola-Sheppard

Senior Research Scholar

Cooperation and Transformative Governance Research Group

T +43(0) 2236 807 614

Finland's Presidency of the EU Council on the Conference

Conference information

Fact sheet - Economy of wellbeing

Conference on Twitter

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313