Guardians for Future Generations

Ombudspersons, or Guardians for Future Generations, to be established at all governance levels in order to ensure that the interests of future generations are taken into account when political decisions affecting them are made.

Many of the decisions made today, impact future generations. A democratic deficit exists in the fact that the people bearing the consequences of policies are not able to vote and future generations are current without an institutional voice. An Ombudsperson acts much like an auditor, an independent, external post that keeps an eye on policy developments, intervening and exposing the long-term implications of today’s decisions, with the advantage of direct citizen and judicial access.

We have the opportunity to institutionalise the protection and the voice of future generations by establishing Guardians for Future Generations at all governance levels. At the national and regional level, Commissioners or Guardians for Future Generations have shown to help introduce a long-term perspective into policy-making. They link citizens with governments, working as a catalyst for sustainable development implementation and act as principal advocates for common interests of present and future generations.

By considering only short term gains and looking only to the next election, policy-makers and politicians neglect the needs of future generations. A vision of a sustainable, shared future is focussed on the common values of respect, equity and dignity amongst humankind. To bridge the gap between the future and ourselves, representatives must recognise the interconnected environmental, social and health benefits of future-just policy-making and determine an agenda which serves the interests of future generations alongside the needs of the present.

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