FRFG Conference on the introduction of the EU2020 Strategy (2010)

ImageOn June 24, 2010, the con­fer­ence “The EU 2020 Strat­e­gy — Does it set up Europe for the 21st Cen­tu­ry?” was held in Berlin. EU 2020 is the suc­ces­sor to the Lis­bon Agen­da. The con­fer­ence was orga­nized by the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion in Ger­many and the FRFG in order to increase the pro­file of the strat­e­gy. In three pan­el dis­cus­sions, “Sus­tain­able Growth”, “Smart Growth” and “Inte­gra­tive Growth”, experts and offi­cials of the EU-com­mis­sion and of the Ger­man gov­ern­ment dis­cussed impor­tant aspects of the strat­e­gy. The FRFG was rep­re­sent­ed by Pro­fes­sor Rolf Kreibich, chair­man of the Board of Trustees, and Patrick Weg­n­er, research assis­tant at the FRFG.

Around 200 peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ed in the full-day con­fer­ence. The var­i­ous experts’ opin­ions and the focus on the civil­ian soci­ety of the FRFG com­ple­ment­ed one anoth­er prof­itably. The con­fer­ence agen­da is avail­able here.


International Conference “Ways to Legally Implement Intergenerational Justice”, Lisbon (2010)

06_marisareisInter­gen­er­a­tional jus­tice is becom­ing one of the cen­tral issues of our time. The dra­mat­ic changes in the demo­graph­ic com­po­si­tion of many devel­oped coun­tries and ques­tions of what jus­tice requires between old­er, younger, and future gen­er­a­tions are increas­ing­ly recog­nised along­side more tra­di­tion­al con­sid­er­a­tions of social jus­tice. Present gen­er­a­tions ought to take respon­si­bil­i­ty for the far-reach­ing con­se­quences of human actions.
Con­se­quent­ly, it is urgent­ly required to legal­ly recog­nise inter­gen­er­a­tional prin­ci­ples and, above all, to cre­ate an archi­tec­ture with enforce­abil­i­ty through which the rights of future gen­er­a­tions can be made effec­tive. Marisa dos Reis is a research fel­low and edi­tor at the Foun­da­tion for the Rights of Future Gen­er­a­tions since Sep­tem­ber 2009. She con­ceived of organ­is­ing an inter­na­tion­al con­fer­ence in Lis­bon on the top­ic inter­gen­er­a­tional jus­tice and law cou­pled with an issue of the IGJR. FRFG strong­ly encour­aged this sug­ges­tion. Begin­ning in Decem­ber 2009, she was in charge of man­ag­ing all aspects of the Con­fer­ence and prepar­ing for the pub­li­ca­tion of con­fer­ence materials.

In the course of this project, impor­tant part­ner­ships were forged with the World Future Coun­cil, the Por­tuguese Soci­ety of Inter­na­tion­al Law, the Por­tuguese Asso­ci­a­tion for the Unit­ed Nations and the Jacques Delors Euro­pean Infor­ma­tion Cen­tre. Her work at FRFG has been finan­cial­ly sup­port­ed by the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The con­fer­ence was held on the 27th and 28th of May, 2010 at the Foun­da­tion Calouste Gul­benkian and it was spon­sored by Caixa Ger­al de Depósi­tos, Foun­da­tion Calouste Gul­benkian, Trib­al DDB, DDB and Olis­sipo Mar­quês de Sá Hotel.

Dur­ing the con­fer­ence, speak­ers approached sev­er­al ways of imple­ment­ing prin­ci­ples of inter­gen­er­a­tional jus­tice prin­ci­ples via inter­na­tion­al law, Euro­pean law and at the nation­al lev­el. In the course of debate and con­ver­sa­tion between our speak­ers and par­tic­i­pants, obsta­cles were described with unprece­dent­ed clar­i­ty and long­stand­ing intu­itions were chal­lenged. Fur­ther­more, inno­v­a­tive solu­tions were for­mu­lat­ed and a path was set for ongo­ing con­sid­er­a­tion of inter­gen­er­a­tional jus­tice and the law.


Symposium Easing the « rush hour » of life – Diversity of life courses in international comparison(2008)

From July 4th to July 6th, 2008, the Foun­da­tion for the Rights of Future Gen­er­a­tions (FRFG) organ­ised a sym­po­sium on “Eas­ing the «rush hour» of life – Diver­si­ty of life cours­es in inter­na­tion­al com­par­i­son”. The par­tic­i­pants includ­ed renowned experts as well as young sci­en­tists from sev­er­al Euro­pean coun­tries. In the course of the sym­po­sium, the FRFG also award­ed the 4th Inter­gen­er­a­tional Jus­tice Price 2007/08. The sym­po­sium did not sin­gle out a spe­cif­ic phase of life but focus on the whole course of life.

The out­lined sym­po­sium did not pur­sue the ques­tion “How can we use the life-years we gained due to increas­ing life expectan­cy?” because there is already a lot of research done (cp. Forschungs­gruppe Altern und Lebenslauf, Instead it dealt with the issue “To what extent should we change the plan­ning of our life right from the start, know­ing that our life expectan­cy is high­er than the one of pre­vi­ous cohorts?” This ques­tion focus­es on the eas­ing of the so-called « rush hour » of life between the ages of 28 and 38. Dur­ing this peri­od, peo­ple fin­ish their appren­tice­ships or stud­ies; they begin to work and have to decide whether or not to start a fam­i­ly. It is this cru­cial peri­od of time we have to exam­ine to detect the under­ly­ing caus­es for the dif­fer­ence between the desired and the actu­al num­ber of chil­dren in Ger­many. The total fer­til­i­ty rate cur­rent­ly lies at 1.34 chil­dren per woman (1.26 in the East­ern part and 1.36 in the West­ern part of the coun­try), where­as women desire to have 1.74 and men to have 1.57 chil­dren. Dif­fer­ences between the num­bers for East and West Ger­many are on aver­age bare­ly detectable. East Ger­man women’s desire for chil­dren (1.73) exceeds West Ger­man women’s (1,78) only to a small extend, where­as East Ger­man men desire a lit­tle less chil­dren (1.46) than West Ger­man men (1.59) (Bib 2005, 36). These num­bers already show the impor­tance of a gen­der-spe­cif­ic analy­sis of the subject.

There­fore it is impor­tant to research whether an eas­ing of the third life-decade could achieve a reduc­tion of prob­lem­at­ic con­di­tions regard­ing the com­pat­i­bil­i­ty of job and fam­i­ly. Besides a bet­ter com­bi­na­tion of kids and careers dur­ing this decade, the pos­si­ble options for avoid­ing a dou­ble strain by decou­pling (pref­er­ence of the career, pref­er­ence of fam­i­ly life, post­pone­ment of the career, post­pone­ment of the start­ing of a fam­i­ly) have been analysed dur­ing the project.

The sym­po­sium was divid­ed into two parts that were in turn exam­ined from inter­na­tion­al and gen­der per­spec­tives. In short, we first­ly analyse the time bud­get of the cohorts in ques­tion and lat­er on their finan­cial bud­gets. This approach and the con­sid­er­a­tion of both aspects allows for com­pre­hen­sive conclusions.

In con­sis­tence with the inter­na­tion­al and gen­der per­spec­tives, the expe­ri­ences of oth­er coun­tries in their attempts to dis­en­tan­gle the « rush-hour » for the indi­vid­ual (both in pri­vate and pro­fes­sion­al life) as well as in rela­tion to the wel­fare state and soci­ety as a whole have been exam­ined care­ful­ly in the first part of the sym­po­sium. The dif­fer­ing con­se­quences for the sex­es were equal­ly analysed. The sec­ond part focused on the age spe­cif­ic dis­tri­b­u­tion of income, again from inter­na­tion­al and gen­der perspectives.

You can find the con­cept and pro­gramme of the sym­po­sium here. In the fol­low-up of the sym­po­sium, a spe­cial issue of the Inter­gen­er­a­tional Jus­tice Review was devot­ed to the topic.