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Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 427; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020427

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

Programme for Applied Ethics, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7491 Trondheim, Norway
Received: 12 December 2017 / Revised: 31 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 7 February 2018
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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 intragenerational 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 intergenerational 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable development goals; intergenerational justice; sufficientarianism; sustainable development; future generations; justice pluralism sustainable development goals; intergenerational justice; sufficientarianism; sustainable development; future generations; justice pluralism
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Vasconcellos Oliveira, R. Back to the Future: The Potential of Intergenerational Justice for the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainability 2018, 10, 427.

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