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Intergenerational equity - Protecting future generations through domestic action

Oskarson, Annika (2009)
Department of Law
Abstract
The objective of this thesis is to explore the concept of intergenerational equity and study a number of different options for protecting future generations through domestic action. Intergenerational equity focuses on the relationship between people living today and generations still unborn. Problems of equity between generations are partially due to the distance between them. Future generations lack the ability of giving voice to their concerns and their interest are harmed when the economic and political system fails to take long-term environmental effects in to account in decision-making procedures. When only short-term advantages are considered, there is a risk that decisions will result in excessive consumption, environmental... (More)
The objective of this thesis is to explore the concept of intergenerational equity and study a number of different options for protecting future generations through domestic action. Intergenerational equity focuses on the relationship between people living today and generations still unborn. Problems of equity between generations are partially due to the distance between them. Future generations lack the ability of giving voice to their concerns and their interest are harmed when the economic and political system fails to take long-term environmental effects in to account in decision-making procedures. When only short-term advantages are considered, there is a risk that decisions will result in excessive consumption, environmental degradation and distributional problems in the longer-term. Thereby the ability of succeeding generations to enjoy a natural world that is as rich and diverse as the one that earlier generation have had access to is damaged. Whether or not a legal obligation to safeguard the environment for future generations exists is a highly debated subject. Considering the developments within international environmental law and human rights law in the past decades, there are signs of movement towards accepting such a principle. However, it seems too early to say that respect for intergenerational equity already has become an established obligation under international law. Nonetheless, there are compelling moral reasons to make sure that a healthy planet is passed on to our descendants. In the fourth chapter of the thesis, a number of different options for implementing intergenerational equity are examined. These options focus on measures taken either by the state and state authorities, or by civil society and the courts. Theses options should not be seen as competing alternatives, but rather as measures working on different levels, with the potential to complement each other. Intergenerational equity needs to be implemented through a comprehensive approach, which permeates all legislation where long-term environmental effects may follow. In order to achieve this, the establishment of strong provision aiming at environmental protection for the benefit of present and future generations seems to be of high importance. Correctly designed, such a provision could influence forthcoming legislation, guide the application of existing rules, facilitate public participation and contribute to raising the status of environmental values and future generations. In combination to a constitutional protection, the establishment of a watchdog institution in the form of an Ombudsman or Commissioner for future generations has the potential to contribute to ensuring that the provision is put into practice and act to give a voice to the interests of future generations. (Less)
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author
Oskarson, Annika
supervisor
organization
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Miljörätt
language
English
id
1561052
date added to LUP
2010-03-08 15:55:27
date last changed
2010-03-08 15:55:27
@misc{1561052,
  abstract     = {The objective of this thesis is to explore the concept of intergenerational equity and study a number of different options for protecting future generations through domestic action. Intergenerational equity focuses on the relationship between people living today and generations still unborn. Problems of equity between generations are partially due to the distance between them. Future generations lack the ability of giving voice to their concerns and their interest are harmed when the economic and political system fails to take long-term environmental effects in to account in decision-making procedures. When only short-term advantages are considered, there is a risk that decisions will result in excessive consumption, environmental degradation and distributional problems in the longer-term. Thereby the ability of succeeding generations to enjoy a natural world that is as rich and diverse as the one that earlier generation have had access to is damaged. Whether or not a legal obligation to safeguard the environment for future generations exists is a highly debated subject. Considering the developments within international environmental law and human rights law in the past decades, there are signs of movement towards accepting such a principle. However, it seems too early to say that respect for intergenerational equity already has become an established obligation under international law. Nonetheless, there are compelling moral reasons to make sure that a healthy planet is passed on to our descendants. In the fourth chapter of the thesis, a number of different options for implementing intergenerational equity are examined. These options focus on measures taken either by the state and state authorities, or by civil society and the courts. Theses options should not be seen as competing alternatives, but rather as measures working on different levels, with the potential to complement each other. Intergenerational equity needs to be implemented through a comprehensive approach, which permeates all legislation where long-term environmental effects may follow. In order to achieve this, the establishment of strong provision aiming at environmental protection for the benefit of present and future generations seems to be of high importance. Correctly designed, such a provision could influence forthcoming legislation, guide the application of existing rules, facilitate public participation and contribute to raising the status of environmental values and future generations. In combination to a constitutional protection, the establishment of a watchdog institution in the form of an Ombudsman or Commissioner for future generations has the potential to contribute to ensuring that the provision is put into practice and act to give a voice to the interests of future generations.},
  author       = {Oskarson, Annika},
  keyword      = {Miljörätt},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Intergenerational equity - Protecting future generations through domestic action},
  year         = {2009},
}