Send a letter for Future Generations

 

We have now learned with concern that the role of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Future Generations –and its associated constitutional guarantee of environmental rights –are currently under review as part of Hungary’s ongoing constitutional reform process.  

Please join us in writing a letter to Mr Jozsef Szajer, Vice-Chairman of European Peoples’ Party (EPP) Group urging him to reflect on the loss of genuine global leadership that would result from any decision to weaken Hungary’s Constitutional provisions in relation to the right to a healthy environment and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Future Generations. (Photo by Julia Davies)

We understand fully that the detail of the Constitution is very much a matter for the Hungarian people. However, we want to recognise the wider inspiration that Hungary’s current constitutional arrangements have offered to civil society and governments elsewhere, and express our concern that those arrangements might be weakened.  Hungary is the only country in the world to have a Parliamentary Commissioner for Future Generations – linked to the constitutionally protected right to a healthy environment. The existence of Hungary’s Parliamentary Commissioner for Future Generations currently offers a benchmark against which othercountries may consider their institutional frameworks for sustainable development. It is an institutional arrangement which marks Hungary as a global innovator in the field of sustainable development, access to environmental justice and inter-generational justice.   In all these respects, Hungary’s Constitutional provisions and the powers and duties enjoyed by the Parliamentary Commissioner provide an exemplar and an inspiration to other Member States across the territory of the EU.

Here is a model letter that has been sent out by the UK Alliance for Future Generations.

With thanks from the CONVERGE team.

 

Mr József Szájer MEP,
Vice-Chairman of European Peoples’ Party (EPP) Group,
European Parliament,
Rue Wiertz,
ASP 12E130,
B-1047 Brussels
 
Via email:  jozsef.szajer@europarl.europa.eu
 
28th March 2011
 
Dear Mr Szájer
Re: EPP Hearing on "A constitution for the 21st century. HUNGARY - in the process of making a
new constitution after 62 years", European Parliament, 29th March 2011
We write as members of the UK Alliance for Future Generations to express our concern that the global
environmental community may soon suffer the loss of the inspirational example offered by the
existence of a Parliamentary Commissioner for Future Generations in Hungary. 
We take the liberty of addressing our letter to you because we understand that you are Leader of the
National Consultation in the Preparatory Process of the New Constitution of the Republic of Hungary.
We have also received a copy notification of an EPP Hearing on Hungary’s new constitution to be held in
the European Parliament on 29th March 2011.
First, we wish to stress that we understand fully that the detail of the Constitution is very much a matter
for the Hungarian people. However, we would like to alert you to the wider inspiration that Hungary’s
current constitutional arrangements have offered to civil society and governments elsewhere, and
express our concern that those arrangements might be weakened. 
Hungary is the only country in the world to have a Parliamentary Commissioner for Future Generations –
linked to the constitutionally protected right to a healthy environment. We see parallels in the former
Israeli Commissioner for Future Generations and Parliamentary Commissioners for environment or
environment and development elsewhere – but the Hungarian institutional model is both broader and
stronger. 
The existence of Hungary’s Parliamentary Commissioner for Future Generations currently offers a
benchmark against which other countries may consider their institutional frameworks for sustainable
development. It is an institutional arrangement which marks Hungary as a global innovator in the field of
sustainable development, access to environmental justice and inter-generational justice.  
In all these respects, Hungary’s Constitutional provisions and the powers and duties enjoyed by the
Parliamentary Commissioner provide an exemplar and an inspiration to other Member States across the
territory of the EU.
The UK Alliance for Future Generations, which includes individuals and large and small non-
governmental organisations, was established this year as a direct consequence of a visit to London by Dr
Sándor Fülöp in February 2010 and a speech which he delivered at the UK’s Ministry of Justice. Inspired
by his talk, a wide range of individuals and civil society groups met to discuss how the safeguards
provided by the Hungarian Constitution and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Future Generations
might inform efforts to strengthen environment and sustainable development governance in the UK.  
These discussions led, amongst other initiatives, the publication of a report outlining various governance
options in the UK (including establishment of a Parliamentary Commissioner in England1), submission of
evidence to Parliament on the benefits of establishing new mechanisms independent of the executive,
and research into the extent to which a new Act of the Welsh Assembly could further sustainable
development. 
 
We have now learned with concern that the role of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Future
Generations –and its associated constitutional guarantee of environmental rights –are currently under
review as part of Hungary’s ongoing constitutional reform process.  
We urge you sir, to reflect on the loss of genuine global leadership that would result from any decision
to weaken Hungary’s Constitutional provisions in relation to the right to a healthy environment and the
Parliamentary Commissioner for Future Generations.
Yours sincerely,
 
Carol Day, Solicitor, WWF-UK (email: cday@wwf.org.uk)
Dr Maja Göpel, Director, Future Justice Department, World Future Council
Carine Nadal, Legal Researcher, The Gaia Foundation
Gita Parihar, Solicitor, Friends of the Earth England and Wales 
Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director, Forum for the Future
Peter Roderick, Barrister
Halina Ward, Director, Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development
David R. Woollcomb, President, Peace Child International
Other organisations not currently members of the Alliance:
Steve Bass, Head, Sustainable Markets Group, and Camilla Toulmin, Director, International institute for
Environment and Development   
 
 
                                                
1
   See http://www.wwf.org.uk/wwf_articles.cfm?unewsid=4545