Celebrating International Youth Day 2015

Incorporating the principles of intergenerational equity into significant international processes in 2015 is crucial.

Growing inequality, extreme poverty and the threat of climate change bring into focus the fact that the actions (or inactions) of the present generation can jeopardise the rights and wellbeing of generations yet to be born. This should hasten the need for responses that enhance equity between generations.

Young people and future generations matter. They hold a legitimate interest in the outcome of ongoing negotiations in both the climate and development processes. Their concerns extend beyond the lifetimes of the people setting international policies and yet those policies will ultimately determine whether the world in which they live out their lives offers opportunities in terms of quality of life, personal safety and equity.

Incorporating the principles of intergenerational equity into two significant international processes taking shape in 2015, the new climate agreement and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, requires an approach that considers a combination of strategies – some specific to these processes individually, and some to enhance the standing of intergenerational  equity more broadly within international dialogue:

  • Establishment of a Commission or Commissioner for Future Generations at an International Level
  • Strengthening Youth Participation in both processes
  • Incorporation of Intergenerational Equity indicators into the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Incorporation of Intergenerational Equity into the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) equity review.

Our  generation is the first to really understand the impacts of climate change and we are the last who can address it before too much damage is done. Those of us who are alive today must recognise how much power we have over those who are yet to come and we must use that power equitably.

To mark the occasion of International Youth Day 2015, the Foundation published this position paper on intergenerational equity on 12 August 2015:

“Meeting the needs of Future Generations – Applying the principle of intergenerational equity to the 2015 processes on climate change and sustainable development” 

Find out more about intergenerational equity

Watch Mary Robinson discussing “climate justice” with the audience at the One Young World Summit 2014

Watch The Elders debate with young people on climate change issues: “How do you speak truth to power? (Mary Robinson and Kofi Annan)

Watch Marvin Nala, a youth activist with Greenpeace China, speak about climate justice:

Related Links

Read Prof Henry Shue’s essay on Sharing the Benefits and Burdens of Climate Change Equitably

One Young World Summit Celebrating Youth Leadership

The Effective Participation by Young People in Climate Policy Decision-Making is Vital for Climate Justice