Finding a solution to the short-term interests and ongoing unsustainable practices driving our societies and economies is a recurring issue. Few innovative ideas have emerged, fewer are being fully implemented and, as a consequence, we are exceeding planetary boundaries, threatening the security and wellbeing of those around us and those who follow us.
There is a way of challenging mainstream politics from within, guaranteeing that sustainable development and long-term thinking are part of decisions in all areas from the start. Appointing a legal representative, an Ombudsperson for Future Generations that actively speaks up in the name of future generations can help bring the necessary checks and balances to our political systems.
- Sustainable development and other issues relevant to the future of the people and of our planet are left until the end of decision-making processes, if taken into account at all. Even in the sustainable development debate, economic issues tend to dominate.
- Many promises are made, yet too often they are put aside because of current economic or employment worries, with the false perception that there are no connections between issues and the unfounded assumption that sustainable politics is having a negative impact on the latter.
- We still know very little about whether or not our politicians are really thinking about all the important areas that affect the decision, and what long term consequences they may have in people’s lives.
Over the last 64 years, since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed in 1948, all human rights, the civil and political as well economic, social and cultural rights have come to be accepted and have evolved into a commonly shared standard to measure the performance of our political institutions. Yet present institutions currently fail to respect and honor the rights of future generations, or even consider the needs of those who are yet to come.
Turn of the tide
A Solution is the creation of Ombudspersons for Future Generations:
1. Independent office outside of government
Much like an inspector or auditor that cannot make new rules but can ensure that those making the rules are keeping to their promises, the Ombudsperson monitors government policy to assess the likely impact on future generations. Independence means that the Ombudsperson can take the long-term view and is not influenced by short-term political and economic interests or market driven solutions.
2. Direct Access
The office is an important tool that provides us as citizens with direct access to the heart of decision making, hugely improving the legitimacy of governments.
3. Transparent and Informative
The office would keep all reports and functions open to the public.
This June, a United Nations conference will take place in Rio de Janeiro, 20 years after the first 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Rio + 20 will be the biggest world gathering on the topic of sustainability ever, and we are all looking for real decisions to be made there. Rather than more soft promises pushing responsibility another 20 years into the future, we need to see some concrete and immediate institutional decisions to be taken. Ombudspersons for Future Generations is a concrete proposal that has already shown results in Hungary, Wales , New Zealand and other countries where it has been introduced.
a fundamental step
Ombudsperson for Future Generations is a fundamental step towards effective, meaningful, and democratic change.
Be part of that change! By signing the petition, tell your country’s leaders we need a future generation defender.
Sign the petition now to demand a planet defender for your country!
Once signed, you will be joining a list of signatories from all over the world, all eager for positive change. Before Heads of State arrive in Rio on the 20 June, we will be sending this petition to them, along with your signature. Please watch this space for an update on the final number of signatories and the complete list of Heads of State we write to.