Lisbon, Portugal

19 June 2014

Secretary-General's message to Lisbon Conference on Intergenerational Justice: The Future of Law and and the Law of the Future

It gives me pleasure to convey my best wishes to all the participants in this important conference on intergenerational justice.  I thank the many Portuguese and other partners that have joined together to make this event possible.

A dedication to future generations is a universal value, visible across countries and cultures.  Increasingly, it finds expression in domestic laws, constitutions and international agreements.

Many urgent crises of the present are the symptoms of slow-burning, long-term problems. Yet too often, institutions and decision-makers remain trapped in the “tyranny of the present”, unable to integrate both current and long-term perspectives into policy-making.

The United Nations General Assembly is currently embarked on defining a set of sustainable development goals, to build on the gains and lessons of the Millennium Development Goals in our work beyond 2015.  The post-2015 development agenda, with sustainable development goals at the core, will seek to ensure a healthy planet and support human well-being for the current generation and many generations to come.

I am convinced that your deliberations will provide further impetus to this critical pursuit.  I wish you every success and thank you for your support of the United Nations.