The Guardian of Fu­ture Gen­er­a­tions

The pol­i­tics of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment ad­vo­cates a longterm view. The fa­mil­iar Brundt­land def­i­ni­tion put for­ward in ‘Our Com­mon Fu­ture’ – the con­clud­ing re­port of the World Com­mis­sion on En­vi­ron­ment and De­vel­op­ment in 1987 – is clear enough: meet­ing the

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - DEBATE & ANALYSIS -

This def­i­ni­tion has been quoted quite of­ten, but when it comes to its im­ple­men­ta­tion, mat­ters gen­er­ally de­velop on a dif­fer­ent path. Short-term needs take over, mak­ing a mock­ery of all the dec­la­ra­tions in favour of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment. Way back in 1987, Brunt­land sought to draw our at­ten­tion to this. In fact, her re­port em­pha­sises the fact that: “We act as we do be­cause we can get away with it: fu­ture gen­er­a­tions do not vote; they have no po­lit­i­cal or fi­nan­cial power; they can­not chal­lenge our de­ci­sions.”

This was the rea­son why, on be­half of Al­ter­nat­tiva Demokratika, way back in 2012 I pro­posed the set­ting up of a Guardian of Fu­ture Gen­er­a­tions – a pro­posal that had orig­i­nally been pre­sented by Malta at the prepara­tory meet­ings for the Rio Earth Sum­mit in 1992 and which was taken on board by Mario de Marco, then En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter.

The po­si­tion was set up as part of the pro­vi­sions of the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Act of 2012 but un­for­tu­nately, since day one, not enough re­sources have been made avail­able in or­der that the Guardian of Fu­ture Gen­er­a­tions may act to­day on be­half of a bet­ter to­mor­row.

Chev. Mau­rice Mizzi, who cur­rently heads the Guardian of Fu­ture Gen­er­a­tions, re­cently is­sued a state­ment which gave the thumbs down to the dB-ITS project at Pem­broke. Chev. Mizzi em­pha­sised that it was the lack of a master­plan for the area that jus­ti­fied ap­ply­ing the brakes to the project at this point in time. He fur­ther stated that there was a need for all au­thor­i­ties to place more value on the views of the com­mon cit­i­zens, so that they are em­pow­ered to en­sure that their rights, as well as their qual­ity of life, are prop­erly pro­tected.

Without in any way di­min­ish­ing the pos­i­tive step taken by the Guardian of Fu­ture Gen­er­a­tions in re­spect of the dB-ITS project, I would re­spect­fully point out that we have not heard much more from that end. The list of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of the Guardian is long and, if acted upon, would make the Guardian much more than a post of sym­bolic value, as de­scribed by the lo­cal press re­cently.

The list of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of the Guardian are grouped in the leg­is­la­tion un­der 10 head­ings, rang­ing from the pro­mo­tion of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment ad­vo­cacy across na­tional pol­icy-mak­ing, leg­is­la­tion and prac­tices, to en­cour­ag­ing sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment within the pri­vate sec­tor and up to the need to di­rect the fo­cus of the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter to safe­guard fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

Af­ter six years of ex­is­tence it is about time that the Guardian of Fu­ture Gen­er­a­tions stands up on its feet and speaks up loud and clear on all mat­ters that will have an im­pact on fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. Un­for­tu­nately, so far it has rarely spo­ken up, apart from re­gard­ing the db-ITS project state­ment. This is cer­tainly not enough. I have no doubt that the Guardian would like to do more, but it can­not be­cause it has been de­prived of re­sources – which has been the sit­u­a­tion since it was cre­ated.

The Guardian of Fu­ture Gen­er­a­tions has a lot of po­ten­tial which is as yet un­de­vel­oped. The time for tak­ing ac­tion is ripe.

Chev. Mau­rice Mizzi

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