I learned a new acronym today from a representative of a YOUNGO, and it’s an important one: “INTEQ,” which stands for intergenerational equity.
Intergenerational equity is a legal and values-based principle that wants current generations to consider future generations rights to assets and resources. Future generations should not have to suffer because the current generation was unable to properly manage these assets, such as natural resources or finances. Natural resources should be left as the current generation found them, so future generations can inherit a clean and healthy environment.
N.B. from ProfTBach. Intergenerational equity or justice differs from intragenerational justice, which is typically explained as the difference in resources and opportunities between people in developed (industrialized) countries and developing countries. Some people call this the North/South divide. In the climate change context, we see how the CBDR principle derives from intragenerational concerns, while the intergenerational principle appears front and center through the “future generations” language in the UNFCCC. From 2007-09, the Vermont Law School ran a soft-money funded project called the Climate Legacy Initiative, which explored ways in which current generations’ duties to future generations could be enforced via rights-based law. The CLI produced this white paper, Recalibrating the Law of Humans with the Laws of Nature: Climate Change, Human Rights, and Intergenerational Justice. (Full disclosure: I am a co-author of this paper.)