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Welcome Print
fotoDear Reader,
The Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (FRFG) is a think-tank on the interface of science, politics and the business world. To FRFG, intergenerational justice means that today's youth and future generations must have at least the same opportunities to meet their own needs as the generation governing today. The foundation publishes the journal "Intergenerational Justice Review" (IGJR),
which is an English-speaking journal on intergenerational justice, seeking to publish articles of the most important research and current thinking from political science, ethics, and law. The FRFG Newsletter provides information on our current projects.
8. Intergenerational Justice Prize 2015/16 Print
genger preis 15-16_fotoThe Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (FRFG) and the Intergenerational Foundation (IF) will announce the 8. Intergenerational Justice Prize 2015/16 on the topic “Constitutions as millstones? Are regular national constitutional conventions the solution to give successive generations the flexibility they need?”. Young researchers can also participate in the essay competition for the journal Intergenerational Justice Review (IGJR). More information can be found on www.generationengerechtigkeit.de and www.if.org.uk
The Intergenerational Justice Prize 2015-16 and the IGJR invite submissions that address the tension between constitutions and intergenerational justice, and how that tension can be resolved. How can constitutions be written to protect the rights and/or interests of future generations without at the same time becoming a barrier to future generations exercising full political sovereignty in the future? Submissions that test the feasibility of new ideas, such as a ‘permanent constitutional convention’ that reassess the current constitution in fixed intervals, are especially welcomed.


By their very nature, constitutions are intergenerational documents. With rare exceptions, they are meant to endure for many generations. They establish the basic institutions of government, enshrine the fundamental values of a people, and place certain questions beyond the reach of simple majorities. Constitutions, especially written ones, are often on purpose difficult to modify.

The question of constitutions and future generations has at least two different aspects. On the one hand, constitutions provide the opportunity to guarantee consideration of the rights of future generations, and may serve to protect future generations against the actions of current electoral majorities. On the other hand, the provisions of a constitution may become outmoded, restricting the ability of majorities in the future to respond to the real problems in ways they see as necessary and proper.

Ideally, constitutions strike a balance between seeking to protect and perpetuate those values and rights the present generation understands to be fundamental, while ensuring the right of future generations to define for themselves the values and rights they see as essential, and to modify the institutions they have inherited in light of their own experience.

This tension between durability and flexibility finds expression in Edmund Burke’s concept of a constitution as an intergenerational covenant. It also informs the discussion among Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), James Madison (1751–1836), and Thomas Paine (1737–1809) in the course of founding the United States of America. Jefferson represented the position that every law and therefore every constitution should lose its validity after 19 years, so that every generation can organize itself, with a freedom comparable to the preceding one. Madison disagreed and referred to the uncertainty that would emerge from such an arrangement. Thomas Paine sided with Jefferson and formulated the following famous sentence: ‘Every age and generation must be as free to act for itself in all cases as the ages and generations which preceded it.’ This statement, written in 1795, defended the right to engage in revolution. This right was even enshrined in the French Constitution of 1793. Article 28 stated: ‘Un peuple a toujours le droit de revoir, de réformer et de changer sa Constitution. Une génération ne peut pas assujettir à ses lois les générations futures.’ (‘A people always has the right to review, reform, and amend its constitution. One generation may not subject future generations to its laws.’)

The preservation of the same number of options and opportunities for action is regarded as the one of most important elements of intergenerationally just behaviour in modern generational ethics (see Brown-Weiss 1989, 2002; Rohbeck 2013). This logic would be a reason for constitutions which can be modified easily or it would be a reason for a ,permanent constitutional convention’. One can describe the variability of constitutions with a continuum, which has an automatical expiry date on its one end. On the other end, there are the ,eternity clauses’. There are historical reasons and reasons of political science in order to those ,eternity clauses’. It may be legitimate to fix the future generations to certain principles or forms of government until eternity.

Key questions of submitted articles could be:
-    How could a permanent constitutional convention (see above) be organized? What powers should it possess, and what should be its limitations? On the one hand such limitations should prevent a constitutional convention from being too dominant, while on the other its powers should be sufficient to ensure that it is more than merely symbolic.
-    How can the legitimacy problems of such a constitutional convention be resolved? For example, parliaments, which usually propose constitutional amendments, are legitimized through elections.
-    Are there any examples of countries where constitutions are regularly reviewed and amended? If so, how has this practice worked?
-    What role should constitutional courts play? Are they the guardians of earlier regulations and therefore opponents of constitutional change?
-    Are so-called ‘eternity clauses’ (clauses which prohibit changes to certain or all provisions of a constitution) generationally fair? To what extent do such guarantees take away from future generations the possibility to determine their own future?
-    Where and how are young people actively engaged in debates about the constitution in force in their country? What lessons can be learnt from their experience?
-    Are there reasons to prefer procedural answers to the rigidity challenge to substantive ones?

Size limit of submissions for the Intergenerational Justice Prize: 20-40 pages
Submission Deadline: 1 June 2016


Auerbach, Bruce / Reinhart, Michelle (2012): Antonin Scalia’s Constitutional Textualism: The Problem of Justice to Posterity. In: Intergenerational Justice Review. Vol. 12 (1), 17–22.

Barry, Brian (1978): Circumstances of Intergenerational Justice. In: Obligations to Future Generations. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 204–248.

Beckman, Ludvig (2013): Democracy and Future Generations. Should the Unborn Have a Voice? In: Merle, J.-C. (ed.): Spheres of Global Justice. Volume 2: Fair Distribution – Global Economic, Social and Intergenerational Justice. Dordrecht: Springer, 775–788.

Brown-Weiss, Edith (2002): Intergenerational Fairness and Rights of Future Generations. In: Intergenerational Justice (now called: Intergenerational Justice Review). Vol. 2 (3), 1–5.

Brown-Weiss, Edith (1989): In Fairness to Future Generations. Tokyo/New York: United Nations University/Transnational Publishers.

Dreier, Horst (2009): Gilt das Grundgesetz ewig? Fünf Kapitel zum modernen Verfassungsstaat. München: Carl Friedrich von Siemens Stiftung.
Gosseries, Axel (2008): Constitutions and Future Generations. In: The Good Society, Vol. 17 (2), 32-37. https://www.uclouvain.be/cps/ucl/doc/etes/documents/Draft_Good_Soc_17-2_05.pdf

Gosseries, Axel / Meyer, Lukas H. (eds) (2009): Intergenerational Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Holmes, Stephen (1995): Passions and Constraint – On the Theory of Liberal democracy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 134-177.

Kavka, Gregory (1978): The Futurity Problem. In: Obligations to Future Generations. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 286–203.

Kley, Andreas (2003): Die Verantwortung gegenüber künftigen Generationen – ein staatsphilosophisches Postulat von Thomas Jefferson. In: Hänni, Peter (ed.): Mensch und Staat. Festgabe der rechtswissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Universität Freiburg für Thomas Fleiner zum 65. Geburtstag. Fribourg: Univ.-Verl., 505–523. http://www.rwi.uzh.ch/lehreforschung/alphabetisch/kley/container/jefferson_pages_505_523.pdf.

Muniz-Fraticelli, Victor M. (2009): The Problem of a Perpetual Constitution. In: Gosseries, Axel / Meyer, Lukas H. (eds): Intergenerational Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 377-410.

Otsuka, Michael (2003): Libertarianism without inequality. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 132-150.

Rohbeck, Johannes (2013): Zukunft der Geschichte. Geschichtsphilosophie und Zukunftsethik. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.

Tremmel, Jörg (2009): A Theory of Intergenerational Justice. London: Earthscan.

Tremmel, Jörg (2015): Parliaments and future generations – the four-power-model. In: Birnbacher, Dieter / Thorseth, May (eds): The Politics of Sustainability. Philosophical Perspectives. London: Routledge, 212-233.

Tremmel, Jörg / Wilhelm, James (2015): Democracy or Epistocracy? Age as a Criterion of Voter Eligibility. In: Tremmel, Jörg / Mason, Antony / Dimitrijoski, Igor / Godli, Petter H. (eds.): Youth Quotas and other Efficient Forms of Youth Participation in Ageing Societies. Dordrecht, NL: Springer, 125-147.

Wolf, Clark (2008): Justice and Intergenerational Debt. In: Intergenerational Justice Review. Vol. 8 (1), 13–17.

A poster of the Prize can be found here.

The formal entry requirements can be found here.

"We want to vote!" Campaign Print

Children at the constitutional court
Goal: To abolish the minimum voting age

wahlen15 children and teenagers, aged between 10 and 17, have submitted a complaint to Germany’s constitutional court. They demand the abolishment of the minimum voting age and, thus, the strengthening of democracy and generational justice. They are supported by the Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations, which is the “most well-known extra-parliamentary think tank for matters of intergenerational justice” (Wirtschaftswoche), as well as the children’s initiative “Plant for the Planet.” Legal assistance is provided by Prof. Michael Quaas, one of “Germany’s best lawyers” according to the Handelsblatt-Ranking 2014. Prof. Quaas has so far supported the campaign free of charge. If the case is accepted and brought to a hearing in Karlsruhe, he will "come to us with a proposal that takes account of the complexity and importance of the matter."

A press conference was held in Berlin on Tuesday 15th July 2014. There were speeches and question-and-answer sessions with Wolfgang Gründinger (Spokesperson for the FRFG), Renate Schmidt ( former Minister for Family Affairs), Jens Spahn (CDU-MP), Felix Finkbeiner (complainant; "Plant for the Planet") and Dr. Lore Maria Peschel-Gutzeit (former Justice Senator).
We offer video material from the event at www.wir-wollen-waehlen.de, which you are welcome to use.

Contesting the general election at the constitutional court has triggered considerable media attention, which we document in our press pages (German).

Campaign Background:

Children had no vote in the 2013 general election. In Germany, more than a million people are unable to exercise their right to vote – just because they are under 18. This means that 17% of the population are being denied their most important political and constitutional right. This goes against the principals of democracy and popular sovereignty and is no longer supportable. We have been working with children and young people in regards to this matter, and together we have started the "Wir wollen wählen!" ("We want to vote!") campaign.

On 20th November 2013, more than a dozen children and young people, together with the FRFG, submitted an electoral complaint to the Bundestag. The Bundestag rejected our complaint on 8th May 2014. On 7th  July 2014 the FRFG flied a complaint before the Federal Constitutional Court, demanding the abolishment of the minimum voting age.

The anthology "Wahlrecht für Kinder? Politische Bildung und die Mobilisierung der Jugend" ("Voting Rights for Children? Political Education and Youth Mobilisation") by Prof. Dr. Klaus Hurrelmann und Dr. Tanjev Schultz was released by 21st July 2014. The book offers a comprehensive overview of current discussions about the voting age.

The FRFG proposes a "right to vote without age limit and with pre-registration" to enable all citizens who want to make use of the right to vote to do so. The FRFG’s policy paper can be found here (German).

If the complaint is approved by the constitutional court, the costs of scientific advice and legal assistance will be incurred. We would therefore like to ask you to support our campaign financially. We have launched an appeal for donations at Better Place. We thank you very much for your support!

FRFG received Award Print
SRzG received the "Our Task Global Thinking Award"

ourtaskThe FRFG was awarded the Our Task Global Thinking Award at the Earth 2100 Conference, which was held on 26th and 27th July 2014 George Mason University, Virginia, USA. Dr. Bruce Auerbach received the award on behalf of the FRFG. He was impressed with the enthusiasm of Our Task, which is a young organisation which seeks to engage the young in campaigning for environmental change.

For more information about Our Task and the Earth 2100 Conference, click here.

A Video of the Award ceremony can be found here.
7th Intergenerational Justice Prize 2013/14 Print
Call for Papers: “Youth Movements for Intergenerational Justice”

gege7_jugendbewegungenThe Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (FRFG) and the Intergenerational Foundation (IF) will award the Intergenerational Justice Prize 2013/14, endowed with €10,000. The prize was initiated and is funded by the Stiftung Apfelbaum.

The topic of the 2013/14 prize is: “Youth Movements for Intergenerational Justice”

Submissions will be accepted until 15 October 2014. All documents required for a submission, including the full call for papers and formal entry requirements, are obtainable by sending an email to kontakt(at)srzg.de.
Legislative Prize for Generationally Just Laws Print
Legislative Prize giving on 8th April in Berlin

201303_01_englAt 6 O’clock on 8th April the FRFG presented the Legislative Prize for Intergenerationally Just Laws at the Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance in Berlin. Thanks to the school’s cooperation, the prize giving was held in the Plenumstrialog.  The 17th Bundestag’s law regarding the phasing out of nuclear power was chosen by a high-ranking jury and given the Legislative Prize.

The prize was received by four young Bundestag officials. As representatives of the younger generation, they are encouraged to support intergenerational justice in the Bundestag.

A report on the prize giving can be found here and on the Tagespiegel website (both in German).
Demography Prize 2012/13 on Youth Quotas Print
Final results of the 4th Demography-Prize 2012/2013 on Youth Quotas

youth_quotasOn the 1st of July 2013 the deadline for taking part in the 4th Demography-Prize 2012/2013 expired.

initiated and funded by the Stiftung Apfelbaum, the prize was organised and internationally spread by the Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (FRFG) and the Intergenerational Foundation (IF). Overall, 13 entries in German or English have been submitted by junior scientists.

The following papers were awarded by the jury:

1st Prize: Juliana Bidadanure: "Better Procedures For Fairer Outcomes: Are Youth Quotas Required by Intergenerational Justice?"

2nd Prize: Fatema Jahan: "Youth Quotas and Youth-i-zation Or Youth Leadership and Youth Movement? - A response to age demographics"

Two 3rd Prizes: Tobias Hainz: "Sind Jugendquoten eine Form der Altersdiskriminierung?" and Elias Naumann, Moritz Heß & Leander Steinkopf: ""Der Generationenkonflikt in Europa. Die Jugendquote: von den Europäern gewollt?"

Further information regarding the Demography-Prize 2012/2013 and the awarded works can be found here.
The conference program can be found here.
Award of the Sixth Intergenerational Justice Prize for Young Scientists Print
Symposium on the 3rd of November 2012 in Stuttgart

gg6_plakat_startseiteOn 3 November 2012, the symposium for the award of the 6th Intergenerational Justice Award, endowed with a financial reward of €10,000, took place in Stuttgart. The topic of the symposium was “The debt brake - Evaluation in the national and international context”. After the award ceremony followed two workshops which again took up the theses of the winning works. The workshops were moderated by Dr. Ed Turner and Dr. Gisela Meister-Scheufelen. In the workshops, the participants were able to express their view of the symposium on the subject of debt brake and to discuss the main theses of the winning works.

More information about the symposium can be found here.
IGJR 2012: Now available to order or download Print

Intergenerational Justice Review (IGJR) 2012: The Interdependencies between Justices

igjr_2012_cover_kleinThe 2012 edition of FRFG's flagship peer-reviewed journal, proudly produced in cooperation with our UK partner, The Intergenerational Foundation (IF), is now available. It contains a range of articles that attempt to bridge the gap between the demands of social, international and intergenerational justice, with a strong focus on implications for policy.

A hard copy of the journal can be ordered from the FRFG directly for €12. Members will receive a copy as part of their membership. In line with FRFG’s aim to disseminate scientific knowledge as widely as possible, a free online version is accessible on our website: www.intergenerationaljustice.org > IGJR

This year’s edition is the product of close cooperation between the FRFG and the newly founded Intergenerational Foundation, who have worked as joint-partners in its production. The editorial team for the 2012 edition comprised of Editors-in-chief James Wilhelm (FRFG) and Boris Kühn (FRFG) as well as Guest Editor Antony Mason (IF).

New Legislative Prize Print

Legislative Prize for Generationally Just Laws


Coinciding with the next general election in Germany in 2013, the newly created “Legislative Prize for Generationally Just Laws” will be awarded for the first time. Thereafter, the unremunerated prize will be awarded every 4 years. With the award of this new prize, the FRFG wants to recognise a law or legislative initiative which either removes a present injustice that affects future generations or protects future generations from future injustices. The FRFG plans to hold the award ceremony at the Federal Press Conference in Berlin.

Full details on the prize can be found here.

Award of the 3rd Demography Prize for Young Scientists Print

Symposium on the 16th January 2012 in Berlin

armdruecken jung alt

On the 16th January 2012, the Symposium for the award of the 3rd Demography Prize, endowed with a financial reward of €10,000, took place in Berlin. The theme of the Prize and the Symposium itself was devoted to a possible “Power shift between generations” in reference to the ageing majority in society and the consequences thereof. The political, societal and economic strategies which can be adopted to cope with the fact of ageing societies were discussed in small groups as well as by experts during a podium discussion. Over 70 participants from positions in economy and politics in addition to interested members of the general public attended.

More information about the Symposium can be found here.

FRFG receives Award from the EU Commission Print
FRFG receives award from the EU Commission

sdc16445-1On 17th of May, 2011, the European Commission awarded FRFG a certificate for an outstanding project with regard to the hosting of a European Voluntary Service project. FRFG was awarded this certificate together with Mrs. Marisa Quaresma dos Reis (right side on the picture). Mrs. dos Reis had been volunteering at the FRFG from August 2009 to July 2010. She was in charge of the issue 1/2010 of the IGJR and organised an international conference on "Ways to Legally Implement Intergenerational Justice" in Lisbon, Portugal. 

Art for Intergenerational Justice Print
The Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations is planning an artwork 

srzgThe FRFG is planning the creation of an artwork to remind us of our obligations towards future generations. The artwork will be displayed permanently in a public venue in the future. The FRFG is searching for patrons who want to support the creation of this piece of art financially. You will soon be able to find further information about the project on our homepage.
Fifth Intergenerational Justice Award Print

Fifth Intergenerational Justice Award Ceremony in Berlin on March 23 2011

ImageFor the fifth time, the FRFG awarded the Intergenerational Justice Prize funded by the Apfelbaum Foundation, awarding a cash prize of €10,000. The award ceremony took place in the Federal Representation  of the Land Sachsen-Anhalt in Berlin on March 23rd, 2011. In addition to the award ceremony a panel discussion was held with renowned members of the German Bundestag on the topic “Away from Constant Campaigning? Towards More Issue-Driven Policies”. Joerg Tremmel, assistant professor for Intergenationally Just Policies at Tübingen University, hosted the discussion.

You can find a short documentation of the event here.

FRFG Conference on the EU 2020 Strategy Print

FRFG Conference on the EU 2020 Strategy

ImageIn June 2010 the EU presented its new strategy EU 2020, the successor of the Lisbon Agenda. For this task, the European Commission invited the FRFG as the German partner organisation. On June 24, the FRFG and the German Representation of the European Commission organised a conference on the EU 2020 Strategy at the Commission Representation in Berlin. 

Three panel discussions "Sustainable Growth", "Smart Growth", and "Inclusive Growth" represented the most important aspects of the strategy. 

Further information on the conference is available here.