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Back to the Future: The Potential of Intergenerational Justice for the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals

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  • Rita Vasconcellos Oliveira

    () (Programme for Applied Ethics, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7491 Trondheim, Norway)

Abstract

The establishment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) bolstered momentum to achieve a sustainable future. Undeniably, the welfare of future generations is a fundamental value of sustainable development since the publication of the Brundtland report. Nevertheless, SDGs and their targets are meagre on intergenerational justice concerns. The 15-year target horizon of the SDGs might be beneficial for implementation reasons. However, such a short-term perspective is far from innocuous in justice terms. It jeopardises the establishment of long-term goals, which protect both present and future people. This article advocates for clearer stances on intergenerational justice. What type of distributive principles could and should dictate the present socio-economic development? Looking at intra generational justice principles contained in SDGs does not provide a full answer since they express conflicting visions of what constitutes a fair development. Furthermore, a fair distribution of the development benefits and burdens among present and near future people does not necessarily guarantee the wellbeing of more distant generations. I propose an inter generational sufficientarian perspective as a way of extending the beneficial impacts of SDGs to both close and distant future generations. Hopefully, it facilitates the translation of the SDGs into policies that promote fairer implementation strategies.

Suggested Citation

  • Rita Vasconcellos Oliveira, 2018. "Back to the Future: The Potential of Intergenerational Justice for the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(2), pages 1-16, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:2:p:427-:d:130625
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ramona Pîrvu & Cristian Drăgan & Gheorghe Axinte & Sorin Dinulescu & Mihaela Lupăncescu & Andra Găină, 2019. "The Impact of the Implementation of Cohesion Policy on the Sustainable Development of EU Countries," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(15), pages 1-20, August.
    2. Graziano Abrate & Federico Boffa & Fabrizio Erbetta & Davide Vannoni, 2018. "Voters’ Information, Corruption, and the Efficiency of Local Public Services," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(12), pages 1-22, December.
    3. Victoria Wibeck & Björn-Ola Linnér & Melisa Alves & Therese Asplund & Anna Bohman & Maxwell T. Boykoff & Pamela M. Feetham & Yi Huang & Januario Nascimento & Jessica Rich & Charles Yvon Rocha & Franco, 2019. "Stories of Transformation: A Cross-Country Focus Group Study on Sustainable Development and Societal Change," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(8), pages 1-19, April.
    4. Srikant Gupta & Armin Fügenschuh & Irfan Ali, 2018. "A Multi-Criteria Goal Programming Model to Analyze the Sustainable Goals of India," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(3), pages 1-19, March.
    5. Ortwin Renn, 2020. "The Call for Sustainable and Resilient Policies in the COVID-19 Crisis: How Can They Be Interpreted and Implemented?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(16), pages 1-5, August.
    6. Longyu Shi & Linwei Han & Fengmei Yang & Lijie Gao, 2019. "The Evolution of Sustainable Development Theory: Types, Goals, and Research Prospects," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(24), pages 1-16, December.
    7. Otto Spijkers, 2018. "Intergenerational Equity and the Sustainable Development Goals," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(11), pages 1-12, October.
    8. Andrzej Raszkowski & Bartosz Bartniczak, 2019. "Sustainable Development in the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs): Challenges and Opportunities," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(4), pages 1-18, February.
    9. Mei Zhang, 2018. "Intergenerational Justice and Solidarity on Sustainability in China: A Case Study in Nanjing, Yangtze River Delta," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(11), pages 1-17, November.
    10. Siming Yu & Muhammad Safdar Sial & Dang Khoa Tran & Alina Badulescu & Phung Anh Thu & Mariana Sehleanu, 2020. "Adoption and Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in China—Agenda 2030," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(15), pages 1-16, August.
    11. Andrzej Raszkowski & Bartosz Bartniczak, 2019. "On the Road to Sustainability: Implementation of the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in Poland," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(2), pages 1-20, January.
    12. Craig W. Hutton & Robert J. Nicholls & Attila N. Lázár & Alex Chapman & Marije Schaafsma & Mashfiqus Salehin, 2018. "Potential Trade-Offs between the Sustainable Development Goals in Coastal Bangladesh," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(4), pages 1-14, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    sustainable development goals; intergenerational justice; sufficientarianism; sustainable development; future generations; justice pluralism;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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