The World Future Council is an organization which is worried about the future of our planet. That is why they propose to introduce a ombudsperson to big political meetings like G20 or G8.
They created the project Future Justice with the idea that “to create our common future, we need to have our voices heard through NGOs, the media and politicians. What’s missing is a voice with legal authority. A voice with the force of the law to protect our agreed goals.”
They explain that even if we all want for the future to be bright, we are doing nothing to make that happen. Rather, we are investing more and more money into the financial sector. Money which is then lost. Rich people still don’t pay taxes or not enough taxes. Poor people still struggle to survive. Extinction rates of animals and plants “are occurring at around 1000 times their natural rate” and “the largest 3.000 companies caused 2.2 trillion in unaccounted environmental costs in 2008 alone.” Those are just some of the examples given by Future Justice.
We are hearing a lot of good promises by politicians; the problem is that they fail to turn them into reality. That is when the ombudsperson comes in. Future justice proposes 4 main responsibilities for that person:
Balancing short-term interests of political institutions with long-term interests of society.
Taking responsibility for oversight, for making sure sustainability policies work in synergy and are effective in practice.
Bringing authority to agreed sustainability goals, holding governments and private actors accountable for not delivering on them.
Connecting citizens and civil society with the core of policymaking, providing a formal channel for information on sustainability infringements.
In Hungary they already have that kind of mechanism. There, the first ombudsman for future generations is working together with the government. Future Justice takes all the differences in countries and environments into account. You can read up on that on their homepage: “Each government’s legal and cultural reality is different – which is why the exact mandate of Ombudspersons for Future Generations needs to be developed in that context, respecting these differences.”
The main goal of the World Future Council is right now, to introduce a ombudsperson to the upcoming Rio +20 meeting. Why Rio? Well, twenty years ago, politicians met there to discuss how to use this world more sustainably. Little of what was discussed has been implemented. That should not happen again. Future Justice says: “we want governments at the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to mandate Ombudspersons for Future Generations at international, national, regional and local level to help sustainability policy become common practice.”
If we want this to happen, it’s time we spread the word and ask our governments for a reprensentation of our (future) children and their future children.