The Well-being of Future Generations Act belongs to every single person in Wales and sets out a legally-binding vision for us to achieve a more equal Wales. 

So that no matter your religion, your race, your socio-economic background, you stand an equal chance to prosper and thrive in Wales. 

Part of my role as Future Generations Commissioner for Wales is to challenge all public policy makers to ensure they’re not just tackling racism but that they’re being actively anti-racist in everything that they do, as required by the Act and as set out in Welsh Government’s Race Equality Action Plan

But as well as holding Welsh Government and public bodies to account, it’s also my job to ensure that my own office remains committed to turning the mirror on ourselves and recognising where all of us can do better. Yesterday an article was published which highlighted that. Although I think the article was written in the absence of full information about the work and context of my office, its sentiment was right – I can and must do better, we must all do better. 

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic voices are involved in and inform our work towards making Wales not just a more equal nation, but one that is prosperous, environmentally resilient, healthier, globally-responsible and with cohesive communities, a vibrant culture and a thriving Welsh language. 

You can find out more about how the Act is about acting today for a better tomorrow, here.

We work with and value Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people, including photographers and writers, from across Wales. Via our Poet in Residence partnership, Taylor Edmonds recently performed When I Speak of Bravery, her poem celebrating Betty Campbell, Wales’ first Black head-teacher at the unveiling of her statue in Cardiff. 

READ MORE: ‘A beacon of hope’ – Betty Campbell monument unveiled in Cardiff sunshine

We have regular paid partnerships which support us to further collaborate with new and under-represented voices, this year through activities such as International Women’s Day, the campaign for a Universal Basic Income and Black History Month. 

Eight per cent of our workforce is from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background, our staff represent a range of different nationalities and between them speak seven different languages. 

But we need to go further. And we’re working on it – with the help of individuals and other organisations including Race Alliance Wales and Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team to take steps to ensure our workforce better reflects a diverse Wales. 

We offer the guaranteed interview scheme, run targeted recruitment and ensure diversity within our selection panels. We want other organisations, whether covered by the Act or not, to do that, too. 

As we do so, I’ll keep talking about how climate change is a racial justice issue, when someone is more likely to live in an area of high pollution, have less access to public space if they’re from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background. 

READ MORE: Cardiff's Castle Street: who gets the right to clean air?

I raised this with the First Minister last week and this year I co-published analysis highlighting skills gaps and warned Wales would have a ‘whitewashed’ green recovery from the pandemic unless we took action to challenge structural barriers that exclude Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people from tomorrow’s job market.  

Our own Future Leaders Academy saw 20 per cent of participants coming from ethnically diverse backgrounds and these brilliant young leaders have played their part in representing Wales in the UK and internationally.

The next cohort has a target for 30 per cent of participants to be Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals, and we are thrilled to see a diverse range of applicants coming forward to secure a place.   

Later this year we’re publishing a report into the impacts of the climate emergency on already marginalised communities, urging government and national bodies to recognise the long-term, holistic, and equitable solutions needed to reach a truly equal Wales. 

READ MORE: Institutional racism ‘alive and kicking’, say Welsh people of colour

People in positions of power, like me, need to play a part in dismantling the structures that keep Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people marginalised, and we need to continue to listen to and learn from those harmed by a system that discriminates. 

That means looking honestly at the structures within our own organisations if we’re all to tackle the institutionalised and systemic racism we know continues to exist in Wales and around the globe. We are tracking our progress against The Race Code. 

With the help of members of the public and organisations, I set recommendations for Welsh Government and public bodies for a more equal Wales, in the Future Generations Report and through guidance on ‘the journey to a more equal Wales’. 

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These include the need to tackle hate crime and harassment, reflecting it in equality and well-being objectives; requiring all recipients of government funding to provide training; and setting targets to increase diversity in public appointments. We need better representation right throughout our system. 

It is vital that all organisations are continuously challenged on how they hear and represent everyone in the Wales we all want to live in.  

Wales is world-leading in its legislation that protects the rights of future generations, and we won’t succeed unless every single person in Wales sees themselves in this vision.  

I want everyone in Wales to know that the Well-being of Future Generations Act, a law made by the people, is a law for them. It exists to look after your interests  - and those of the children and grandchildren you may have in the future. 

It’s my job to work hard to make sure everyone is included and represented in our Wales today and our future Wales tomorrow. Please keep challenging me if you think I’m not getting it right. 

Sophie Howe is the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales. 

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