The 6th CUSP Nature of Prosperity Dialogue takes as its theme the challenge of Activism in a New Climate. The Manchester event promises to be a lively debate between politicians, activists and academics on one of the most topical questions of our time: how should citizens now act in the face of the climate crisis? The event will include a performance of The World We Made—an urgent new play about our common future; an interactive exhibition on the People’s Palace of Possibilities. Speakers include Rebecca Willis, George Barda, Sherilyn MacGregor, Brian Doherty, Tim Jackson and Rowan Williams. Booking is now open online. Further details will be confirmed shortly.
Our politics is too short-term. Our democracy seems unable to deal with long-term challenges. But change is at hand. With support from FDSD and other partners, The Big Issue founder, Lord Bird, has introduced the Future Generations Bill in the UK Parliament, and is working to build a cross-party alliance of MPs and Peers to change the law.
"When they go short-term, we go long-term…" FDSD trustee Andrea Westall recently joined Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd for their Reasons to be Cheerful Podcast, to discuss the urgent need for representation of future generations in today's politics. With invited guests including Sophie Howe and Laurie Laybourn-Langton the podcast investigates the prevalent short-termism in politics, its impact on key issues such as the environmental emergency and how to design new institutions to overcome it.
Philosophical essay by Simon Caney on the morality of prosperity, intertemporal politics and a re-imagination of our political life.
Citizens’ assemblies could be vital in kick-starting the tough steps needed to respond to the climate emergency, Chair of the FDSD board of trustees, Graham Smith, argues. But the detail of how they will work is critical. (This blog first appeared on The Conversation website.)
FDSD trustee Cat Tully recently joined the #FuturesCymru2019 conference with a keynote presentation on Leading into the Futures: integrating foresight into our work. Here she summarises her thoughts on the conference: The Welsh experience is one to watch globally, she finds, in showing how integrating long-term thinking can produce sustainable policies.
Together with the FDSD, the School of International Futures (an organisation that helps policy-makers, business leaders and communities make strategic choices, manage risk and become future-ready) is hosting a Round Table on Intergenerational Fairness taking place on the afternoon of 17th April. We hope this will be the beginning of an innovative experiment towards a...
In this issue, we focus on the loudening call for citizens to lead a new approach to decision making that can steer our democracies towards a greener, fairer future.
FDSD is a London-based think tank that explores the critical links between flourishing democracy and sustainable development. Through research, advocacy and dialogue, we build the evidence and make the connections needed to secure fairness for all and a healthy environment, now and in the future. Trustees play an active role in the organisations’ activities, including...
The 2015 Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act requires public bodies in Wales to incorporate public involvement in their decision making. The explicit emphasis on engaging the public reflects the strong views expressed in the national conversation of 2014 that shaped the legislation that “a lack of engagement between the community and the decision makers resulted...
2018 witnessed the emergence of a dynamic, new climate change movement—Extinction Rebellion (XR). The use of mass civil disobedience has a long democratic heritage and makes a significant contribution to democratic culture. But XR has other ambitions to renew democracy: one of its key demands is also democratic reform: “a national citizens’ assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.”
Bethan Smith is Goal Convenor for Involvement, Office for the Future Generations Commissioner, Wales. . . . Through the 2015 Well-being of Future Generations Act, all devolved public bodies in Wales are legally required to put sustainable development first; that is, to consider the long-term impact of their decisions and “to act in a manner...
Is sustainability in peril?—Peter Davies discussing the state of democracy and sustainable development with Sara Parkin.
At the inaugural Well-being of Future Generations Commissioner for Wales' Annual Lecture, The Big Issue founder and crossbench peer, John Bird, called for the long-term thinking approach pioneered in Wales to be rolled out across the rest of the UK. As a prominent anti-poverty campaigner and keen supporter of the work of the first Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Lord Bird spoke about the importance of tackling today's crises, as well as working to prevent tomorrow's.
In 2008, Sara Parkin wrote a ‘provocation’ for the Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development: “Are Political Parties getting in the way of the sort of collaborative democracy we need to tackle sustainability? If so, what can we do about it?” Ten years later, she revisits her thinking "in the light", she says "of the corruption of our current democratic systems".
We are delighted to invite you to a joint networking event with the PSA Specialist Group Environmental Politics, GreenHouse Think Tank, and Policy Connect on 26 October 2018 in London. Designed as a space for policymakers, academics and environmental NGOs to discuss environmental policy-making in a shifting political landscape, the programme will feature...
A new paper by the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity, authored by FDSD associate Victor Anderson, considers possible reforms to UK constitutional and political arrangements intended to help overcome the problem of a lack of representation of future generations.
The Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development has proposed that the House of Lords establish a Committee for Future Generations to review legislation. It is hoped that such a body would reduce the short-termism that can creep into legislative and executive decision-making. Graham Smith explains why this Committee is needed and how it could work in practice.
On 19 April 2018, FDSD jointly held an event with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries to ask “Will the Future Blame Us?” and how do we bring future generations into today’s politics. Andrea Westall is summarising the workshop.
FDSD sees the ongoing review of House of Lords committees as an opportunity to try to strengthen long-term thinking in the UK Parliament. Backed by more than 30 peers, we are proposing a new Committee for Future Generations in the second chamber.
A new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Future Generations, launched in January 2018, aims to raise the profile of future generations amongst UK parliamentarians and others. . Chaired by Daniel Zeichner, MP, the new group will “raise awareness of long-term issues, explore ways to internalise longer-term considerations into decision-making processes, and create space for cross-party dialogue on combating short-termism in policymaking.”
When the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales put out a draft strategic plan for consultation last year, FDSD submitted a response emphasising the need for effective partnership and public engagement. We are delighted to find that the newly published final plan includes a strong emphasis on both themes.
The FDSD and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries are delighted to invite you to a joint evening event on 19 April 2018 in London. Bringing together experts from the policymaking community with academics and those from the actuarial profession and elsewhere in financial services, the interactive evening will examine the potential legislative levers for encouraging the explicit consideration of intergenerational issues in policymaking, including consideration of those not yet born.
“It is much easier for us to imagine the end of the world than a small change in the political system”, Slavoj Zizek famously said. The same is true for altering the earth climate system according to a recent report by the Canadian ETC-Group, UK's BiofuelWatch and the German Heinrich-Böll-Foundation: The Big Bad Fix.
An All-Parliamentary Group for Future Generations has just been set up in the House of Commons with the aim to “raise the profile of issues affecting future generations in Parliament and explore ways to institutionalise representation of future generations.” It is chaired by Daniel Ziechner, MP.
Following an intense process of public engagement, the RSA Citizens’ Economic Council has published its first interim report, setting out emerging findings, and introducing the Citizen's Economic Charter.
As environmental crises become ever more severe, calls for authoritarian solutions are reappearing: Democracy, so the argument goes, has proven to be too slow to respond to urgent threats. In this paper, Marit Hammond and Graham Smith respond to this charge by revisiting the role of democracy within a transition to sustainable prosperity.
FDSD responded to the consultation by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on their proposed approach to measuring and reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the UK. The provision of adequate data on our progress towards the SDGs (both within the UK and our impacts internationally) enables people to be able to hold Government to account, as well as to provide an information baseline and meaningful targets to inform the development of policy and practice by government, the public, civil society and business.
Development cooperation isn’t only a matter between national governments anymore, a recent article by Stefano Marta and Aziza Akhmouch from the OECD finds - collaboration proves to be rather successful between local and regional authorities in different countries too. The process known as “decentralized development cooperation” has become a real driver for regional self-determination and active development work – in particular with regards to the SDGs.
The Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales has recently celebrated its first anniversary. This newsletter edition is dedicated to this important milestone.
Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, reflects on her first year in office.
The Future Generations Commissioner for Wales was established just over a year ago. We asked Anne Meikle, Head of WWF Cymru, to reflect on this novel institution.
What do the election manifestos and Queen’s Speech tell us about the state of the constitutional reform debate in the UK and its relationship to sustainable development? Victor Anderson summarises.
Widespread public participation is important not only for working out the best ideas to tackle complex problems or effectively implement change, but also to create agreement for major transitions in society or the economy. Simon Roberts, CEO of the Centre for Sustainable Energy in Bristol wrote this blog earlier in 2017, summarising a longer paper that argues that otherwise populist reactions against the ‘liberal metropolitan elite’ can undermine efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
A new global study by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has found that the number of lawsuits involving climate change has tripled since 2014 with most of climate change litigation cases being carried out in the U.S.
The last week of April, FDSD Trustee and Director of the School of International Futures, Cat Tully, was invited to guest edit openDemocracy on the theme “Participation and foresight – putting people at the heart of the future”.
The House of Commons Audit Committee recently published its report Sustainable Development Goals in the UK. The Committee is critical of the Government’s lack of ambition in embedding the SDGs. Throughout the report, the Committee refers to recommendations from the evidence provided by FDSD, particularly on the need for Cabinet-level leadership, partnership working and transparent reporting.
On April 11th, FDSD, in collaboration with the the Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) and the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP), organised an event to discuss the potential to establish a UK-wide Commissioner for Future Generations.
Jetske Germing, Open Government Wales Officer at WCVA*, was at the launch of the new Open Government Pioneers project in Wales and in this guest blogs shares her insights. (The report first appeared on the WCVA blog page.)
This event will explore the potential to establish a UK-wide Commissioner for Future Generations. We will hear from speakers who have intimate knowledge of the work of Commissioners and Ombudsman around the world.
The election of Donald Trump as President of the Unites States, and his early actions as President - so reminiscent of his reality TV performances, but now with real and potentially destructive impact – have significance for the whole world, but they are of course the latest iteration of a populist trend which has been growing across the developed world....
Water is arguably our most essential resource, but its availability and quality is increasingly at risk, with the related danger of international conflict. This newsletter explores how water can become an ‘enabler and connector’ between sustainability goals, and how it raises profound questions about Where, How, and With Whom we make decisions.
Peter Davies is an FDSD Trustee and Chairs Welsh Water’s Customer Challenge Group. Where I was born in Pembrokeshire in south west Wales, 61 years ago, our water came from a well. Piped water arrived only after my father dug a ¾ mile trench to connect to the mains. The majority of people around the...
Dimple Roy is Director, Water, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). When it comes to safeguarding the future of our natural habitats, natural resources, livelihoods, and economies for future generations, we now have the guidance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are a set of seventeen aspirational ‘Global Goals’ aimed at ensuring all countries...
The Urban Heat project has released its final report highlighting the distinctive and largely untapped potential of the local voluntary and community group sector (VCS) in the developm ent of local climate resilience and emergency response. On the basis of three local participatory action research case studies, the report provides a range of ideas –...
The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) has launched the first in a series of bulletins on intergenerational fairness. Focussing on the risks to financial stability posed by climate change, it seeks to raise risk awareness among decision makers of not considering long-term implications of societal, environmental and technological changes. In order “to raise the...
A new edition of Prosperity Without Growth – the landmark work by Professor Tim Jackson – was launched on 19 December at the University of Surrey, at an event which also celebrated his appointment as 2016 Hillary Laureate. The publication of Prosperity without Growth in 2009 marked a critical intervention in the sustainability debate. Tim...
Early in November, the House of Common’s Environmental Audit Committee produced a damning report on the Treasury’s influence on sustainability policy in the UK. The Audit Committee was able to marshal considerable evidence that “the Treasury has ridden roughshod over other departments’ objectives, changing and cancelling long-established environmental policies and projects at short notice with...
In a recent article for Le Monde, Thomas Piketty argues that unsustainable development – a pattern of globalization which has boosted inequality and so undermined communities and social justice as well as the environment – has brought about the recent democratic upheaval seen in the election of Donald Trump. He argues that in any trade...
To mark her retirement as the Counsel for the Committe for the Future in the Finish Parliament, Paula Tiihonen brought together a group of significant thinkers and doers for an international seminar on ‘Work for the Next Generation’. A report bringing together contributions from the seminar has now been published. FDSD wishes Paula a happy...