Taking the Long View

FDSD Bulletin | April 2018
Welcome to our new-look FDSD Bulletin, which replaces our quarterly newsletter.

In this issue, we focus on new and ongoing initiatives in the United Kingdom that are trying to embed long-term thinking in political processes. Several countries around the world are creating institutions to deal directly with long-term challenges. The United Kingdom has yet to act—even though its devolved nations are leading the way through, for example, The Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act and Scotland's Futures Forum.
But the situation may be changing. In this Bulletin we introduce a new All-Party Parliamentary Group for Future Generations, and tell you about FDSD's proposal for a Committee for Future Generations in the House of Lords, which is backed by more than 30 peers. And we report on the Welsh Future Generations Commissioner's commitments to promote partnership and participation for long-term thinking.
We also highlight two events we are co-hosting in London to explore how democracies can better protect future generations: one with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and one with the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster.

FDSD calls for a Committee for Future Generations in the House of Lords

FDSD sees the ongoing review of House of Lords committees as an opportunity to try to strengthen long-term thinking in the UK Parliament. Backed by more than 30 peers, we are proposing a new Committee for Future Generations in the second chamber.

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Partnership and participation: Welsh plans reflect FDSD priorities

When the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales put out a draft strategic plan for consultation last year, FDSD submitted a response emphasising the need for effective partnership and public engagement. We are delighted to find that the newly published final plan includes a strong emphasis on both themes.

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Introducing the new APPG for Future Generations

A new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), launched in January 2018, aims to raise the profile of future generations amongst UK parliamentarians and others. Over the next twelve months, the APPG will host roundtables, briefings and networking events to build awareness of long-term challenges and drive long-term thinking into UK political processes.

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Paper | Harnessing democracy and engagement for sustainable prosperity

As environmental crises become ever more severe, calls for authoritarian solutions are getting louder. Democracy, say some analysts, is too slow to respond to urgent threats, and so a stronger hand is needed to push through the necessary socio-political changes. In this paper, politics researchers Marit Hammond and Graham Smith argue that it is not democracy as such that is the problem, but rather the short-termism that marks democracy in its current form.

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Review | Governing for the Future: Designing democratic institutions for a better tomorrow

The idea that democratic governments don’t deal effectively with long-term issues may be well established, but there are few systematic analyses of why that is, or how to respond. Jonathan Boston, Professor of Public Policy at Victoria University, tries to fill the gap in a book outlining the sources of short-termism in policymaking and the options available for mitigating it. Here’s what FDSD trustee, Graham Smith, makes of his analysis.

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Will the Future Blame Us? Bringing Future Generations into Today’s Politics

London, 19 April 2018 | Sold out

Tomorrow’s lives are shaped by today’s choices. How can we ensure that future generations will not suffer the consequences of our poor decisions? This event, hosted by FDSD and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, will consider the legislative levers available for embedding intergenerational issues in policymaking and promoting the interests of future generations.

Join the waiting list

Democratic institutions and future generations: an international workshop

London, 10 May 2018

Where there are tensions between short-term gains and long-term security, the interests of people alive today almost always triumph over those alive in the future. But they don’t have to. This workshop will explore the options for overcoming the short-termism of democratic institutions and steering them towards protecting future generations.

Book a place

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FDSD explores the critical links between democracy and sustainable development. We build evidence and make connections to secure fairness for all and a healthy environment, now and in the future. For more information, please visit our website at
Images: House of Lords Proposal © House of Lords / Flickr :: Future Generations Commissioner of Wales Consultation (CC-BY-2.0) Carl Jones / Flickr :: New APPG for future generations (CC.0) Willian Justen de Vasconcellos / Unsplash :: Governing for the future review (CC.0 ) Akrodym / Pixabay :: Democracy and Sustainable Prosperity Paper ((CC-BY-SA 2.0 ) Mural by Jason Woodside, Photo derivative of Elvert Barnes / Flickr :: Review (CC.0) Acrodym / Pixabay :: Future Generations event (CC-BY 2.0) Fearless Girl Statue by Kristen Visbal, Image: Anthony Quintano / Flickr :: Democratic Insitutions Workshop (CC.0) 422737 / Pixabay

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