Spires arbeid for å få på plass et framtidsombud i Norge er del av en større internasjonal bevegelse for å sikre mer rettferdighet mellom generasjonene. Engelske Alice Vincent skriver her om erfaringer fra dette arbeidet og deler sine tanker om hva et framtidsombud kunne gjort i Norge.
Denne artikkelen er skrevet av Alice Vincent, politisk rådgiver i World Future council. World Future council er en internasjonal organisasjon som jobber for bærekraft og framtidige generasjoner. Spire har samarbeidet med Alice og World Future council (og ungdommer fra andre organisasjoner fra rundt omkring i verden) med å jobbe for å få på plass en internasjonal høykommissær for framtidige generasjoner under Rio+20-konferansen i 2012, og gjennom å løfte prinsippet om intergenerasjonell rettferdighet i de årlige klimaforhandlingene under UNFCCC.
Guardians for Future Generations around the world
By Alice Vincent, Policy Officer Future Justice. World Future Council
We are consuming the foundations of our existence - forests, the bounties of the oceans, freshwater systems and soil, at a rate faster than the planet can replenish. To conserve and hand over a world in all its nature and biodiversity is a fundamental responsibility of current generations toward the future. Guardians for Future Generations, at national, regional and international levels would identify, learn, assess and understand sustainability problems and future threats and promote a long-term planning approach in our policy and decision-making.
The Norwegian Government strategy for the post-2015 agenda - the international framework, which will see the agreement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) when the term of the Millennium Development Goals ends - is People centred, planet sensitive, and rights based. People, planet and human rights are precisely the elements needed in order to create genuinely sustainable development in the years to come.
Young and future generations day
This echoes the encouraging noises coming out of the recent COP20 climate conference in Lima. On ‘Young and Future Generations Day’ (4 December), Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and President of the Mary Robinson Foundation made a statement calling to establish “a Commission or Commissioner for Future Generations at an international level”. Mary Robinson is also the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change, giving her a strong position to enhance support for intergenerational equity.
"Inteq" in the climate negotiations
Further support for the concept of intergenerational equity emerged in Lima with YOUNGO, the UNFCCC’s observer constituency of youth NGOs, creating a working group specifically focussed on intergenerational equity, or Inteq for short. Inteq advocates for the inclusion of the principle of intergenerational equity in the climate deal. As Mary Robinson said in her powerful statement: “Young people and future generations matter. They hold a legitimate interest in the outcome of ongoing negotiations in both the climate and development processes. Their concerns extend beyond the lifetimes of the people negotiating the processes and yet those negotiations will ultimately determine whether the world in which they live out their lives offers opportunities in terms of quality of life, personal safety and equity.”
This type of advocacy makes a lot of sense because the greatest threat to sustainable development is climate change. The effects of climate change will make it extremely difficult to generate "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Our Common Future, 1987). This is because current generations whose basic subsistence rights, such as the right to food, water and shelter, which are at risk due to the impacts of climate change, are unable to act in a long-term manner. The same can be said for those living in poverty, suffering livelihood loss or facing conflict and upheaval due to exploitation of their local natural resources.
An authorised person, elected by the national parliaments at state level, by the European Parliament at the EU level and by Member States at the UN level can become the much needed voice and advocate for future generations. Existing Guardians for Future Generations at regional and national levels have shown to help introduce a long term perspective into policy making, linking citizens with governments, working as a catalyst for sustainable development implementation and acting as principal advocate for common interests of present and future generations.
See here for a map created by the Future Justice team of the World Future Council which shows mechanisms that recognise future generations worldwide. One of the best current examples of this is happening in Wales: learn more about the Welsh ‘Well-being of Future Generations Bill’ here. The Hungarian Parliamentary Commissioner for Future Generations delivered some significant victories during his time in office until 2011:
- Prevented Monsanto from taking over the Hungarian agricultural gene pool.
- Prevented about 400 billion Hungarian Forints (US$ 1.6 b) worth of state-owned forest from privatisation, and secured a forest law with strong nature conservation provisions.
- Halted the (further) privatisation of regional waterworks/utilities.
- Exposed that the Hungarian Parliament gave consent to the planning of an expansion of nuclear energy generation without the proper briefing from government.
- Forced the military to seek a new location for a large NATO radar which was to be built in a residential area of a large town.
Just imagine what positive impacts such a Commissioner could have in Norway and picture the truly tremendous changes for good a UN High Commissioner for Future Generations could create.
It is the decisions made today that will form the choices available in the future. We are falling far short in safeguarding the needs of future generations and this failure currently constitutes our poor legacy to future generations.
Unless we challenge existing models and practice, we risk passing on a world with drastically diminished opportunities to the generations to come - something they have done nothing to deserve.
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