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.
Constitutions, rights and law
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.
In response to the provocations by Peter Davies and Sándor Fülöp at the FDSD event 'A Future Generations Commissioner for the UK', Andrea Westall argues that we need to think beyond institutions in isolation. While Commissioners may have an important role to play, we need to be creative in developing governance structures that promote long-term thinking at all levels.
In this provocation, Peter Davies offers personal reflections on his role in the development of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales within the broader story of the journey of devolution – a journey that started with the duty to promote sustainable development in the initial Government of Wales Act. His role in this story begins in 2006 when he was appointed to the UK Sustainable Development Commission as Commissioner for Wales.
The imminent ecological crises and our consumer society's lack of receptivity to this bad news mean that an independent, authentic voice is needed to represent the interests of future generations. In this provocation, Sándor Fülöp draws on his experience as Hungarian Ombudsman to explain the necessity and powers of a future generations organisation.
The Commission for Future Generations was established in Israel in 2001 and lasted for one term of office until 2006. The Commission had a specific focus on the practices of the Knesset: the Commissioner was empowered to examine any parliamentary bill and secondary legislation where it judged potential harm on future generations and to express opinions during legislative committee deliberations or as an attachment to bills.
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.
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.
Ecosystems and species are alive. Yet current law treats them as objects, property and resources. This has wide-reaching consequences that are driving the ongoing destruction of the biosphere.
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...