Supporting the spread of future generations’ institutions – at the national, sub-national and UN levels – was the call that attracted dozens of experts, policymakers and journalists to Hungary’s parliament building on the last week-end of April to discuss and propose solutions that will enable future generations to have access to the resources they will need. One of the organizers of the conference ‘Model Institutions for a Sustainable Future’ was Hungary's Ombudsman for Future Generations Marcel Szabó.
The keynote speech of the event was delivered by Judge Christopher Gregory Weeramantry, former Vice President of the International Court of Justice. “Here we are, fully aware that we are doing what we are doing at the expense of generations to come; conscious that we are pursuing short-term profit today at the expense of long-term damage to the human future. And what is worse is this: … we are permitting it to increase even further,” he pointed out to the audience of MPs, counselors, principals, commissioners, former commissioners, ombudsmen and deputy ombudsmen from eight countries.
Participants of the conference signed the ‘Budapest Memorandum’ in which they – as the representatives of independent offices or parliamentary bodies serving to safeguard the needs of future generations – declare that they “strongly support the spread of institutional solutions for safeguarding and promoting the needs of future generations as well as the fostering of sustainable development on the national, sub-national and the UN level. For this reason we are also committed to actively encourage and help Governments and Parliaments to begin effective reforms in governance and decision-making that would help them to better address present-day realities and future challenges. We are also committed to help prospective institutions in initiating and enabling capacities as a guardian for rights of future generations.”
They strongly support the UN Secretary General’s proposal to establish a High Commissioner for Future Generations at the UN level and call upon Member States to appoint such a representative, mandating its role and tasks, in order to ensure a long term policy coherence to safeguard the needs of future generations.
They endorse the proposed Sustainable Development Goal target to establish innovative and powerful institutions, both at the national and the UN level, for the protection of the basic interests of future generations. Under the scope of this target, they recommend facilitating global partnership among the nationally established bodies and encouraging their cooperation as well as providing – upon request – assistance to governments to implement this target.
“We consider it an unprecedented opportunity and a unique chance to establish a network among the present participants for regular contact the exchange of information, experience and best practice on existing and novel solutions both from a theoretical and a practical point of view. In order to secure the continuation of the present cooperation, the participants welcome the offer of the Hungarian Ombudsman’s Office to gather and circulate information among the members to explore the further ways and means towards the network’s further operation,” the memorandum concludes.