Social Cohesion Research and Early Warning

The Department
Social Cohesion Development and Research  
Social Security
Access to Social Rights
Social Policy for Families and Children


Dialogue platform on ethical and solidarity-based initiatives for combating poverty and social exclusion
Awareness raising seminars
Methodological tool to develop co-responsibility for social cohesion
Annual Forums
Series Trends in social cohesion
Methodological Guides
Societal progress toward well-being for all

Why devise new indicators of progress and well-being when – particularly in the Western countries – we are plentifully supplied with statistics, and why do it with the populations concerned?


In this worldwide crisis which affects the whole population, the usual statistics no longer reflect what happiness means for citizens; happiness is not simply a matter of figures derived from a country's GDP. It is increasingly clear that it is up to citizens themselves to define well-being in their society.


In its strategy for social cohesion, the Council of Europe defines social cohesion as the capacity of a society to ensure welfare of all through the shared responsibility of its various stakeholders (public and private players, citizens). A link is established with sustainable development, through the inclusion of the welfare of future generations.

The implementation of the strategy requires:
  1. The development of indicators to define and measure the well-being of all, in particular in co-operation with citizens themselves;
  2. The sharing of responsibilities to ensure progress towards the well-being of all, including future generations;
  3. Monitoring and evaluation of the societal progress achieved.

To go ahead with this theme, a working group has been set up to produce a methodological Guide on �Involving citizens/communities in defining and measuring well-being for all and societal progress� that would reflect existing expertise and guide future work in this field.

At the same time, a website (SPIRAL) has been set up :

  • to publicise these initiatives and other similar ones carried out in Europe or elsewhere;
  • to facilitate exchanges of practices and methods between the parties involved and networking;
  • to fine-tune the common methodological framework, which should lead to the production of a methodological guide for developing and using indicators of societal progress and well-being in co-operation with citizens/communities. This guide will be a contribution to the global project on measuring the progress of societies co-ordinated by the OECD under the heading , “Beyond GDP”;
  • to make available the tools developed so as to facilitate implementation of the method proposed.




Trends N�20

Well-being for all - Concepts and tools for social cohesion


Seminar, November 2008: "Involving citizens/communities in measuring and fostering well-being and progress: towards new concepts and tools"

Website SPIRAL (Societal Progress Indicators and Responsibilities for ALL)

Other links


Canadian index of well-being

Community indicators of Victoria, Australia


Recommendation Rec(2001)19 on the participation of citizens in local public life (Committee of Ministers)


[email protected]