Worst Policy Principles and Early Warnings
Today’s share of resources and wealth is deeply unequal, and participation and freedom of choice are undermined. The impact is psychological as well as physical. People are insecure, conflicts are prolonged, and nature is exploited.
Working from the basis of 7 Future Just Policy Principles, laws and policies threatening Future Justice can be easily identified. In order to prevent conditions causing future injustice and insecurity we not only issue social taboos, but also recommend to repeal or amend laws that
Scrutinising existing policies and issuing “early warnings” when policies systematically aggravate injustice, insecurity and biodiversity depletion has an important preventive effect: destroying ecosystems and communities risks creating conditions that make crimes against future generations not only possible but even likely.
Yet, the urgency for quick and widespread change also means we have to defend Future Justice by tightening accountability and enforcement.
Accountability and enforcement
Our societies operate on the assumption that those who break the rules are to be held accountable for their actions. Even in a system based on respect, dignity and mutual trust, there will be times when policies and laws to promote Future Justice will not be adopted, implemented, or will be ignored - by individuals, companies and governments. When this happens, there will need to be ways to enforce the laws, to recognise the interests of future generations legally, and to hold those responsible to account.
There are a number of ways to do this:
Crimes against Future Generations
The initiative of creating crimes against future generations grew from discussions held by the World Future Council Commission on Future Justice on the need to develop new laws and policies guaranteeing human security, ecological integrity, and social equity in the interest of future generations. The development of the concept and a definition of crimes against future generations for the International Criminal Court were commissioned to Sébastien Jodoin, CISDL Lead Counsel. This process included expert workshops, consultations and meetings organised by the World Future Council and the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law with leading international judges and lawyers from 2007 to 2010.
The resulting definition of Crimes against Future Generations under international law builds upon a number of principles and developments in international law and policy on sustainable development, environment, human rights and international crime. It refers to criminal actions not already proscribed by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as crimes against humanity, war crimes, or crimes of genocide.
It encompasses serious violations of economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights committed with knowledge of the substantial likelihood of their severe consequences on the long-term health, safety, or means of survival of any identifiable group or collectively. This definition was adopted by the entire World Future Council on November 7, 2010 and is now the basis for a public Campaign to End Crimes against Future Generations.
The World Future Council also continues to work on the foundational level of the Future Justice agenda and seeks to influence the way we think and act by engaging with experts and advocates in international law and policy. A related academic book on the links between sustainable development and international criminal law, with many contributors from all over the world, is forthcoming.
Read here about the Ecocide campaign, a similar initiative working to introduce a proposed law against ecocide. Ecocide is the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been or will be severely diminished.
The practice of bottom-trawling is a good example where we do not need to wait for such a crime to be committed. We have a clear warning of the possibility of that crime, and we need to do all we can now to prevent the threat to the oceans that this practice entails.