IF supports Lisbon conference on intergenerational justice

David Kingman reports that IF will be supporting a major international conference on intergenerational justice taking place on 1920 June at the Lisbon Centre for Research in Public Law in PortugalLisbon Conference Logo

How we can protect the rights of future generations? This question, which is attracting a growing level of interest from legal minds around the world, will be at the heart of a two-day international conference taking place at the Lisbon Centre for Research in Public Law on 19–20 June.

Entitled International Conference on Intergenerational Justice – The Law of the Future and the Future of the Law, the conference will feature a diverse range of speakers from different countries and disciplinary backgrounds. The full programme – which is available below – includes a wide range of talks and presentations on different topics that relate to the central dilemma of how we can adapt national and international law to protect the rights of future generations.

The conference takes its title from the name of a major research project that is being undertaken at the Lisbon Centre for Research in Public Law, and which that runs from 2014 to 2020. The researchers are seeking to expand the existing dialogue on protecting the rights of future generations in law – which has mostly been developed by the environmental movement – to encompass other aspects of intergenerational justice, such as human rights and the economy.

The key challenge when trying to establish a means of legally protecting the rights of future generations has been termed the “non-identity problem”. In summary, while we can be certain of two things – the future existence of human beings, and the fact that these future citizens will have human rights – the fact that we don’t know anything else about future generations other than that they will exist makes it practically impossible for us to anticipate how they will fulfil their needs. Therefore, while we can argue that the present generation has a responsibility to ensure that future generations are still able to satisfy their human rights, we cannot say for certain how it would be best to try to achieve this.

Among the speakers who will be attempting to address some of these issues at the conference will be Axel Gosseries (University of Louvain), Pieter Vanhuysse (European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research), Wolfgang Gründinger (Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations) and Marcel Szabó (the current holder of the post of Ombudsman for Future Generations in the Parliament of Hungary).

In addition to the Intergenerational Foundation, the conference is also being supported by the Portuguese Parliament, the Portuguese Ombudsman, the Portuguese representation of UNESCO, the Portuguese National Youth Council, the Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (Germany), and the Conference “Model Institutions for a Sustainable Future” (Hungary). The newspaper “Diário Económico” is the conference’s media partner.

To view the full programme for this exciting event, please click on the link below:

Lisbon Conference Programme