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Model Institutions for a Sustainable Future:

a comparative constitutional law perspective


April 24-26. 2014, Budapest


In his Report entitled "Intergenerational solidarity and the needs of future generations" the Secretary General of the UN explicitly referred to those national institutions and bodies, which play a pioneering role in the national implementation of sustainable development and intergenerational solidarity.

On the basis of our special responsibility for promoting the needs of future generations as outlined in the Report, the Hungarian Ombudsman's Office wishes to contribute to a closer cooperation between the national institutions mentioned in the Report with the aim of exchanging good practices for the national implementation of sustainability and intergenerational justice. In a first step, the Hungarian Ombudsman's Office is organizing a conference to understand the unique characteristics of the relevant national institutions entrusted with promoting intergenerational solidarity as well as the legal principles and processes underlying their work. The conference will also shed light on how these national bodies may contribute to the efforts of the United Nations in protecting the interests of future generations.

The conference will focus on the legal aspects of the protection and promotion of the interests of future generations on the basis of the principles of intergenerational law. Following the presentation of the selected model institutions, panel discussions are centering on the different constitutional and environmental law principles underlying the work of such bodies both from a practitioner and an academic perspective. Therefore, we invite recognized international scholars of constitutional and environmental law, sustainable development, and intergenerational equity to define a potential legal framework necessary for national and international implementation. Panels encourage discussion among participants of different expertise providing opportunities to link theory to practical implementation.     

The conference outcomes will be published in a volume by Cambridge University Press, as a leading publication in the area of international intergenerational law. We hope that the conference will create a network between the model institutions serving as a platform for future cooperation. To this end we are developing a shared website of the model institutions for reinforcing mutual cooperation, disseminating recent publications and encouraging other national actors and the international arena to take up the role of the protection of future generations in a way best suited for their individual character.


1. day (24 April, Thursday)

Registration and Welcome Lunch

László Székely – Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, Hungary (5 min)

Opening Remarks
14:35 – 15:20

László Kövér – Chairman of the National Council for Sustainable Development, Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary

Péter Paczolay – President of the Constitutional Court of Hungary

Csaba Kőrösi - Co-chair of the Open Working Group of the UN; Hungary's Ambassador to the UN

Frank Spengler– Resident Representative of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Hungary

Keynote speeches

15:20 – 16:00
Judge C. G. Weeramantry – Former Vice-President of the International Court of Justice (20 min)

Edith Brown Weiss - Francis Cabell Brown Professor of International Law at Georgetown Law University (20 min)

Coffee break

Introduction of the institutions: theory and practice

16:00 – 18:40 (Coffee break: 17:00 – 17:15)

  Implementation in practice

  • Paula Tiihonen Counselor- Committee for the Future; Finland
  • Valerie Wilms - Parliamentary Advisory Council on Sustainable Development; Germany
  • Jim McKenzie Principal - Sustainable Development Strategies, Audits and Studies, Office of the Auditor General of Canada
  • Peter Davies Commissioner - Welsh Commissioner for Sustainable Futures; Wales
  • Morgan Williams Former Commissioner - Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment; New Zealand (written message)
  • Shlomo Shoham Former Commissioner - Commissioner for Future Generations; Israel
  • Knut Haanes Deputy Ombudsman for Children; Norway
  • Marcel Szabó Ombudsman - Ombudsman for Future Generations; Hungary


Global Sustainability Policy and Law: a need for cooperation for the benefit of future generations

Catherine Pearce – Director of the Future Justice Department at the World Future Council

Dinner in the Parliament
18:50 – 20:50


2. day (25 April, Friday)


  1. panel: What should we protect?
    9:30 – 10:45

Chair: Shlomo Shoham - Former Commissioner for Future Generations; Israel

Panelists (15 min. each):

Halina Ward, Alliance for Future Generations; Visiting Research Fellow with the Policy Studies Institute, University of Westminster

Marisa Quaresma dos Reis, Associated Research Fellow, Lisbon Centre for Research in Public Law, School of Law of the University of Lisbon; Editorial Board Member, Intergenerational Justice Review

John Lotherington, Chair of the Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development

Discussion (30 min)


Coffee break

10:45 – 11:00


  1. panel: Human rights for the environment and for the benefit of future generations

11:00 – 12:15

Chair: Knut Haanes, Deputy Ombudsman for Children; Norway

Panelists (15 min. each):

Dinah Shelton, Manatt/Ahn Professor of International Law at the George Washington University Law School

Simon Caney, Co-Director, Oxford Martin Programme on Human Rights for Future Generations

Axel Gosseries, Professor at Louvain University

Discussion (30 min)

12:15 – 13:30

Guided tour in the Parliament
13:30 – 14:15

Press Conference



  1. panel: Scientific basis of sustainability rules

14:15 – 15:30

ChairValerie Wilms – Parliamentary Advisory Council on Sustainable Development; Germany

Panelists (15 min. each):

Günther Bachmann, Secretary General, Council for Sustainable Development, Germany

János Zlinszky, Counselor, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Hungary to the United Nations;  Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC), Associate Professor at Pázmány Péter Catholic University

Wybe Douma, Senior Researcher at the Asser Institute – Centre for International and European Law

Discussion (30 min)


Coffee break
15:30 – 15:45


  1. panel: Constitutional democracies: principles and challenges

15:45 – 17:30

Chair: Marcel Szabó - Ombudsman for Future Generations; Hungary

Panelists (15 min. each):

Konrad Lachmayer, Research Chair at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Legal Studies

Maja GöpelHead of Office – Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy

Joerg Chet Tremmel, PhD Associate Professor at the University of Tuebingen, Germany

András Jakab, Director of the Institute for Legal Studies at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Discussion (30 min)


  1. panel: Claims and petitions: the role of individuals for the protection of future generations

17:30 – 18:45

Chair: Paula Tiihonen - Committee for the Future; Finland

Panelists (15 min. each):

Ludwig Krämer, Director of ClientEarth's European Union Aarhus Centre, Professor at the University of Bremen

Sándor Fülöp, Former Ombudsman for Future Generations, Hungary

Renato Machado, Federal prosecutor at the Public Ministry of Brazil

Discussion (30 min)


Family photo in front of the Parliament

Dinner and sightseeing on a boat

19:30 – 21:30

Presentations on two fresh initiatives for the establishment of an Ombudsperson for Future Generations in the Netherlands and in Norway:
Jan van de Venis - Director Legal Desk, WaterLex; Chair Worldconnectors WG Dutch Ombudsperson for Future Generations

Siv Maren Sandnæs – Deputy Chair of the Norwegian organization Spire


3. day (26 April Saturday)


  1. panel: Public participation: the role of communities in the protection of future generations

9:30 – 11:00

Chair: Peter Davies - Welsh Commissioner for Sustainable Futures; Wales

Panelists (15 min. each):

Jonas Ebbesson, Chair of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee; Director of the Stockholm Environmental Law and Policy Centre; Professor of Environmental Law at Stockholm University

Robert Unteregger, Co-founder of the Swiss Future Council Foundation

Gyula Bándi, Jean Monnet Professor at the Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest, Hungary

Julia Pitts, Senior Manager, Office of the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, Australia

Discussion (30 min)


Coffee break
11:00 – 11:15


  1. panel: National sustainable development institutions and public international law

11:15 – 12:30

Chair: Péter Kovács – Head of the Public International Law Department at Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest, Hungary

Panelists (15 min. each):

Markus Gehring, Deputy Director of the Centre for European Legal Studies (CELS) Faculty of Law, Cambridge University

Jorge E. Vinuales, Harold Samuel Professor of Law and Environmental Policy at the University of Cambridge

Christina Binder, Associate Professor of International Law at the Department of European, International and Comparative Law at the University of Vienna

Discussion (30 min)

12:30 – 13:30


  1. panel: Law and economics of sustainable development

13:30 – 14:45

Chair:  Jim McKenzie - Principal, Sustainable Development Strategies, Audits and Studies, Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Panelists (15 min. each):

Gábor Bartus, Secretary General of the National Council for Sustainable Development, Hungary; Lecturer at the Department of Environmental Economics, Budapest University of Technology and Economics

Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, Senior Legal Expert, Sustainable Development – International Development Law Organization (IDLO); Fellow of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law (LCIL) at Faculty of Law of Cambridge University

Yulia Levashova, Researcher at the Center for Sustainability of Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands

Discussion (30 min)

Closing Remarks
14:45 – 15:00
Marcel Szabó