Establish a
Future Generations
Commissioner ______

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At the core of the SDGs is the very concept of sustainable development first articulated in the Brundtland Report: 

“meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” 

However, the transformative action necessary from the State is constrained by short term political and economic thinking and planning. The biggest challenges our world faces today are shaped by deeply complex long-term social, economic, political, technological, and natural transformations that defy easy or quick solutions within a single budget or electoral cycle. Instead, the challenges that our world faces require ‘cathedral thinking’: the collective mindset to plan and initiate large-scale projects which take a very long time to complete, and so which consider the future not as vague and abstract, but as something that matters as much as contemporary wants and needs.We must shift from short-term financial decision making to long-term planning, to fulfil our duty to those not yet born.

In September 2024 the Summit of the Future will take place at the UN. It is expected that a Special Envoy for Future Generations will be established at the UN and in the Secretary General’s Policy Brief on Future Generations published in 2023 member States are urged to ‘Commit to take future generations into account in decision-making at the international and national levels’. The UN Secretary-General has released a policy brief on future generations as part of his Our Common Agenda report, which recommends the establishment of a Special Envoy for Future Generations at the global level, whose role would be to serve as a voice for future generations in the UN system. 

Wales is the first country in the world to provide a legal link between the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and domestic legislation, translating them into country-level goals, shaped and owned by citizens, and Ireland could be second. Coalition 2030 is calling on the Irish government to commit to establish a Future Generations Commissioner on a statutory footing.

We call on the Irish State to be visionary and to think beyond the usual 3 to 5 year political cycle.

We urge the government to:

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Establish on a statutory footing the position of Future Generations Commissioner, whose mandate will be to ensure that no actions today undermine the sustainable future of generations to come, and whose position outlives electoral cycles.

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Establish an Oireachtas Committee for the Future.

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Carry-out ‘generational tests’ on those decisions most likely to have long-term impact and adapt policies accordingly if such effect is deemed to be detrimental to future generations.

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Join the Network of Institutions for Future Generations.

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    Lead from the top by strengthening SDG governance

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    Budget for the SDGs

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    Measure what matters and value what counts

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    Establish a Future Generations Commissioner

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    SDG-proof policy at national and local levels

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