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Intergenerational Equity and the Sustainable Development Goals

1
Department of International and European Law, Utrecht University School of Law, Newtonlaan 201, Room 3A.36, 3584 BH Utrecht, The Netherlands
2
The Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea (NILOS), 3584 BH Utrecht, The Netherlands
3
Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law (UCWOSL), 3584 BH Utrecht, The Netherlands
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3836; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10113836
Received: 4 September 2018 / Revised: 16 October 2018 / Accepted: 18 October 2018 / Published: 23 October 2018
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PDF [230 KB, uploaded 23 October 2018]

Abstract

The contribution of the present research is to link the global consensus in international legal scholarship on the principle of intergenerational equity to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The methodology used is, first, to provide a literature review of theories of intergenerational equity developed in international law scholarship, followed by a textual analysis of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution that contains the SDGs. To place the SDGs in their proper context, an overview is provided of the most important declarations on sustainable development of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), and outcome documents of the most important World Conferences on sustainable development organized under the auspices of the United Nations. Two general conclusions can be drawn from the present research: in international law scholarship and in the SDGs and previous declarations, the earth is generally seen as a resource, to be used by present and future people, and not as something warranting respect regardless of its worth to human beings. Second, the main challenge is to find a proper balance between intergenerational equity—present and future people—and intragenerational equity—the rich and the poor of the present generation. View Full-Text
Keywords: United Nations General Assembly; intergenerational equity; sustainable development; international law; sustainable development goals United Nations General Assembly; intergenerational equity; sustainable development; international law; sustainable development goals
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Spijkers, O. Intergenerational Equity and the Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainability 2018, 10, 3836.

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