Presentation on theme: "Guardians of Future Generations: A Legal Framework by Carolyn Raffensperger Science and Environmental Health Network Global Conference on Implementing."— Presentation transcript:
Guardians of Future Generations: A Legal Framework by Carolyn Raffensperger Science and Environmental Health Network Global Conference on Implementing Intergenerational Equity July 4-5, 2013 Geneva Switzerland
Eleanor Roosevelt The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
Rights and Responsibilities Framework Create a legal framework that defines the rights of future generations to a habitable planet. Constitutions Statutes U.N. Declaration Create the legal mechanisms for present generations to fulfill their responsibilities to future generations. Constitutions Executive Orders Statutes Treaties
Creating new institutions Commissioner at the U.N. Cabinet level offices of Guardian of Future Generations Ombudsmen or guardians housed in specific agencies Community Review Boards analogous to Institutional Review Boards.
U.N. Commissioner Assign responsibility for the rights of future generations to the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights Convene Truth and Reconciliation Commissions
Guardian or Ombudsman? A Guardian has the proxy for future generations An Ombudsman is an advocate for future generations but does not speak as the voice of future beings.
Tasks of a guardian or ombudsman Ensure that all decisions taken protect the rights of future generations. Legislation Regulation Judicial Do an audit of the commons (air, water, pollinators, public health) and report as part of the budget. Intervene in court cases on behalf of future generations. Convene Truth and Reconciliation Commissions
Community or Futures Review Boards Medical and scientific experiments on human subjects require that those experiments meet two criteria. The first is that the experiment is ethical. The second is that the subject has given consent. Many environmental decisions (pipelines, mining, drilling, development) have unknowns and are essentially experiments. They should require the same oversight as human subjects research. Is this project ethical? Has the guardian, ombudsman or commissioner given consent?
The Commons The right of future generations is essentially a right to the common heritage, the commonwealth and common health of humanity and nature. The commons include all the elements of ecosystems and culture necessary for life and community well-being. The commons include but are not limited to air, water, the ocean, the moon, wildlife.
Decision-making Rights-based decisions not utilitarianism-based decisions Precautionary principle (taking action to prevent harm in the face of scientific uncertainty.) Consent (free, prior and informed consent) Budget No debt to future generations without a corresponding asset. Commons are the economic foundation of the future
Rights of Nature and Rights of Future Generations The emerging international law on rights of nature is a limit on the rights of corporations and a litigation tool. The emerging law on the rights of future generations is a day to day decision making strategy. They are not in conflict and need to be integrated in the evolving jurisprudence.
George Bernard Shaw We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.