Ecological (and economic) aspects of sustainability are often emphasised at the expense of social aspects of sustainability. In order to represent the interests of future generations, the ombudsperson should equally uphold all pillars of sustainability, whether economic, social or ecological. Social sustainability and inclusivity go hand in hand and the Ombudsperson Future Generations can play an important role in combatting the social problem of exclusion.
Creating an inclusive society starts by ‘disclosing one’s personal bias’. In this process, it is vital to recognize differences; in other words, people should not pretend differences do not exist. Yet, in the same way, these differences should not matter.
Inclusivity has a lot to do with power; who determines and defines the norm? Currently, white, middle-aged, heterosexual, Dutch men determine and define the norm in the Netherlands. As a consequence, many are excluded in society because of their gender, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and/or mental and physical ability.
The ombudsperson should take an intersectional approach to inclusivity, as opposed to representing the interests of minorities separately. After all, everyone suffers from the consequences of exclusion in some way or the other, albeit some are excluded more than others.
- The future is inclusive. The ombudsperson should play a role in explaining and interpreting the societal problem of exclusion in relation to the interests of future generations.
- The ombudsperson should identify what problems various groups are facing and it should combat these whilst upholding an intersectional approach.
- The ombudsperson should explicitly invite people to address issues of exclusion by referring to the ‘Loket’.
- The ombudsperson should monitor the effect (governmental) policies have on different groups in society and should intervene when policies lead to inequality and inequity in the future.
- The ombudsperson should operate in an inclusive manner by, amongst other things, introducing a sounding board consisting of minorities and children.
- The ombudsperson should embrace a positive approach when addressing the issue of exclusion in society, for example by introducing a prize for the most inclusive companies and/or municipalities in the Netherlands.
- Inclusivity should not be optional. Education and training can be a powerful tool with regard to combatting the societal problem of exclusion. Therefore, both children and people in powerful positions (CEO’s and recruiters) should receive inclusivity training.
- ‘Future generations’ should be added to article 1 of the constitution.
Full list of reports break-out sessions: