Representation of future generations in United Kingdom policy-making

Peer-reviewed paper by Natalie Jones, Mark O'Brien, Thomas Ryan
Published on 01 February 2018


  • An All-party Parliamentary Group on Future Generations should be formed.
  • Legislation should be passed containing an obligation to include the long-term risks of any Government Bill in its Explanatory Note.
  • The various futures research institutions and think tanks should cooperate to form an expert advisory panel with a mandate to influence policy.
  • If and when a British Bill of Rights is passed, the opportunity should be taken to include intergenerational rights.
  • In the longer term, political momentum should be translated into a formal Select Committee on Future Generations.


Global existential and catastrophic risks, particularly those arising from technological developments, present challenges for intergenerational justice. We aim to present a solutions-based approach to the challenge of intergenerational inequality. We examine options for representing future generations in our present policymaking structures, drawing on case studies from Singapore, Finland, Hungary, Israel, Scotland and Wales. We derive several factors which contribute to the success of some of these institutions, and discuss reasons for the failure or abolition of others. We draw out broad lessons which we can apply to policymaking in England, and make policy recommendations based on these findings.

Read full paper

This paper was originally presented at our 2016 Cambridge Conference on Catastrophic Risk, and was published in a Special Issue of Futures edited by Dr Adrian Currie.

Subscribe to our mailing list to get our latest updates