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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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    6. Otto Spijkers, 2018. "Intergenerational Equity and the Sustainable Development Goals," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(11), pages 1-12, October.
    7. 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.
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    12. 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.
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