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Future Generations

References to ‘future generations’ are found across the sustainable development literature and ideas underpinning this concept are deeply engrained in the SDGs. It is an acknowledgement that each generation has the right to inherit the same diversity in natural and cultural resources enjoyed by previous generations and to equitable access to the use and benefits of these resources. 

What is Intergenerational Equity?

Intergenerational equity is a widely recognised principle of fairness or justice between generations. It can be applied to matters relating to economic, psychological, and sociological disadvantages between generations. It can also deal with the dynamics between children, youth, adults and seniors, in terms of treatment and interactions.

Where does Intergenerational Equity come from?

Intergenerational equity is a core tenet of sustainable development which has been enshrined in international environmental law. It has roots in the 1972 Stockholm Declaration which sought the preservation of natural resources and the environment for the benefit of future generations. The UNFCCC Paris Agreement embeds intragenerational equity within the international climate change regime as a founding principle. Article 3 frames the concept in terms of the need to “protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind. This guiding principle shaping climate action is reaffirmed by the Paris Agreement preamble.

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