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The Nordic Welfare Watch

Final report

image of The Nordic Welfare Watch

The Nordic Welfare Watch was a leadership programme during the Icelandic presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2014 and consisted three main projects: Nordic Welfare Watch – in Response to Crisis, Welfare Consequences of Financial Crises, and Nordic Welfare Indicators. The project period was from 2014–2017. The goals of the programme were to find better ways to measure and monitor citizens' welfare and to explore the role of financial structures and austerity measures in mitigating the effects of financial crises in different societies, with special emphasis on the Nordic welfare societies. Another goal was to examine how well municipal social services were implemented in the Emergency Management systems and to map future welfare challenges. Five reports and two main proposals were made, one to establish a Nordic Welfare Forum and the other to publish a set of Nordic Welfare Indicators (NOVI). This report is the final report of the Nordic Welfare Watch and contains a summary of the main outcomes of the programme.

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Nordic Welfare Indicators (NOVI)

Defining 30 Nordic welfare indicators makes it possible to compare people’s living conditions and well-being over time in the Nordic countries, with a special emphasis on vulnerable groups. The focus is on the development of an easily accessible indicator system with a limited number of indicators that can be used as early warning indicators for the impact of crises. Thus an important feature in the design is the use of timely and policy-relevant information for the Nordic countries and the possibility of distributional analyses of sub-groups of the population in order to enable detection of sub-groups in the population that are hit earlier or more severely than others by external shocks such as economic crises. Furthermore, the goal is to enable analyses of national policies to see whether and how policies have been successful in mitigating the social consequences of a crisis. Last but not least, the system of Nordic welfare indicators could facilitate more general monitoring of social trends in the Nordic countries. The role of the NOVIs is therefore to give warning signals about challenges facing Nordic societies and to meet the administrative and political need for relevant information.

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