14:21, March 12 39 0 theguardian.com

2020-03-12 14:21:04
Planning for our long-term future

Hidebound by the electoral cycle, all too often governments are paralysed by the short term. The existential threats of extreme climate change, runaway technological “advancements” and global pandemics mean that now, more than ever, decision-makers must properly take account of the long-term effects their decisions will have on our children’s children (The importance of worst-case thinking, Journal, 6 March).

With the eyes of future generations upon us, I am advancing a private member’s bill, the wellbeing of future generations bill, through parliament. My draft legislation – inspired by the work of Wales’ future generations commissioner, Sophie Howe – aims to root in sustainability and prevention at the heart of policymaking to ensure that the UK thinks and plans for the long term.

I am encouraged by the cross-party support the bill is attracting, including the 72 MPs who signed the Big Issue’s future generations pledge (including each of the party leaders) at the last general election.

The bill’s second reading on 13 March is a chance for peers to unite around our shared mission to safeguard the rights of future generations.

Guided by a positive vision of the long-term future we should be trying to protect, I am hopeful that Mr Johnson’s administration will welcome this chance to level up opportunity between the generations – and act today for tomorrow.

John Bird

House of Lords

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