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Developing Multi-Dimensional Indicators for Living Well (Vivir Bien)

Karen Bell

PI, Karen Bell

12 October 2017

Bolivia and Ecuador have proposed Vivir Bien (translated as living well) as a new path to social, ecological and economic sustainability, focussing on meeting human needs whilst respecting environmental limits. This project will work with Bolivian researchers to pilot indicators to enable evaluation of this policy approach.

Investigators: Karen Bell (CUPPR, School for Policy Studies, Faculty of Social Science and Law), Laura Dickinson (Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering), Lynn-Marie Sardinha (CSPSJ, School for Policy Studies, Faculty of Social Science and Law), Marcelo Zaiduni (Bolivian Campaign for Right to Education/Red Tinku Bolivia), Alvaro Zapata (Red Tinku Bolivia)

 This project was funded by the Cabot Institute Innovation fund to the value of £4000

Project descriptor:

‘Vivir Bien’ (VB), which can be loosely translated into English as ‘Living Well’, has been proposed as a new path to social, ecological and economic sustainability by several state governments of the Global South, in particular Bolivia and Ecuador. It is seen as a radical alternative to dominant global values, focusing on meeting human needs in a spirit of solidarity whilst respecting environmental limits. As a philosophy, it is embedded in the customs and beliefs of the indigenous people of the Andes but is now being put into practice by the Bolivian and Ecuadorian states via their constitutions, development plans and projects. However, to be more effective and transferable to other places, it would benefit from thorough evaluations. The programmes and outcomes attached to the VB paradigm are not readily evaluated through mainstream matrices, such as the Sustainable Development Goal indicators, because VB offers an entirely different approach. Therefore, the development of a robust set of VB indicators for evaluation purposes are vitally important for increasing the effectiveness and transferability of the paradigm. The Cabot Innovation Fund grant will pay for a pilot to test the indicators in Bolivia using Bolivian researchers linked to the Red Tinku Bolivia (Tinku Network Bolivia), an established community development organization with a history of organizing around VB. We will build this collaboration within and between UoB and Red Tinku so as to go on to develop a Global Challenges Research Fund bid to further develop the indicators and investigate the transferability of the paradigm to other situations. 

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