For those worrying about the state of natural, spiritual and financial resources we will leave future generations, here is an idea from Hungary whose time has come – a Parliamentary Commissioner for Future Generations. The Hungarian Parliament established the position in 2007 with the following mission:
The welfare of future generations is dependent on the decisions of today’s generations in the most intricate manner. Peoples’ attitude to natural and built environment today will determine the possibilities of the generations to come, be it access to natural resources for development purposes, the availability of clean air in our cities or just the simple enjoyment of natural landscapes.
The eminent principle of inter-generational equity calls for the careful consideration of the needs of future generations when we make decisions with such long term effects. However, these long term interests are often overlooked for overriding short term benefits or for the lack of vision and political will. The institutional safeguarding of the needs of coming generations is therefore in the interest of all.
The Parliamentary Commissioner's mandate is threefold:
One: to safeguard citizens’ constitutional right to a healthy environment.In this capacity he investigates complaints relating to a broad range of environmental issues such as the degradation of urban green areas, noise pollution by aviation, licensing of individual industrial installations, etc.
Two: as a guardian of future generations, to act as a policy advocate for sustainability issues across all relevant fields of national or local legislation and public policy. This varies from the financing of environmental authorities, through the role of civil society in environmental decision-making to transport infrastructure development.
Three: to develop a strategic scientific research network targeting the long term sustainability of human societies.
This might be something all grandparents, present and future could get behind!