Seven Building Blocks for an Intergenerationally Just Democracy
FREG Position Paper. Stuttgart: Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations.
29 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021
Date Written: 2020
Democracy is biased towards the present. Election cycles force politicians to achieve as much of their political success as possible within a single term. The long-term consequences of political decisions taken today are usually hard to determine. The proportion of older voters in the electorate is increasing. And future generations have no voice. Little public or political attention is given to long-term, slowly-emerging problems that affect people in the future. We need policies that take account of our future, policies that respect the rights of future generations, that stay within planetary boundaries, and that do not shift costs into the future without also shifting the corresponding benefits. We need policies that invest for the future, tackle long-term Problems effectively and strengthen democracy sustainably. Reducing our presentist bias and developing intergenerationally just policies requires anchoring intergenerational justice in the whole political process. Institutions in Germany, which are supposed to ensure this justice, are insufficient. None of them are up to the task, whether it be the German Council for Sustainable Development, the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Sustainable Development, Sustainability Impact Assessments or the German Advisory Council on Global Change. Other nations like Israel, Wales and Hungary, as well as the academic discourse, offer us examples of how to do it better. Some examples proved short-lived; all have their strengths and weaknesses. We examine them here in order to develop our own proposals for Germany: the seven building-blocks for an intergenerationally just democracy by the Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations. 1) Create a Council for the Future. 2) Strenghten the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Sustainable Development. 3) Strenghten the Sustainable Impact Assessment 4) Re-establish indicators that measure intergenerational justice as part of the National Sustainable Development Strategy. 5) Establish the Federal Government's Manifesto for the Future. 6) Establish a Future Day. 7) Create Citizens' Councils for the Future.
Keywords: future generations, sustainable development, sustainability, democratic innovations, Germany, political science, democracy, intergenerational justice
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