Research Seminar | Representing Future Generations in Parliament

Time: 15 March 2022 at 14.00-15.00 EET (UTC+2)
Place: Zoom

Didier Caluwaerts (Vrije Universiteit Brussel): Representing Future Generations in Parliament


Given that many current policy challenges have a generation-transcending impact, democratic governance increasingly needs to take into account the long-term concerns and interests of future generations. However, herein lies a fundamental paradox: those whose interests are most in need of being represented, because they will carry the long-term burden of current decisions or non-decisions, are not yet present and are unable to make their interests heard. In response, several scholars have advocated institutional innovations, such as parliamentary committees for the future, that introduce the interests of posterity at the heart of representative democracy. All of these innovations assume, however, that special, designated representatives for future generations are needed, and that ‘regular’, non-designated representatives are not up to the task of acting on their behalf. Based on the results of an exploratory claim-making analysis of parliamentary documents in the Belgian Chamber of Representatives and the Senate, we will discuss whether this assumption holds, by analyzing to what extent, how and which members of parliament make representative claims on behalf of future generations in parliament.


Didier Caluwaerts is an Associate Professor of Democratic Governance at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. His research interests include deliberative and participatory democracy, democratic myopia and democratic regression.


The event open to everyone. Please register by 14 March to receive a Zoom link: 


The event is organized by research projects PALO (Participation in Long-Term Decision-Making) and FORGE (Foresight and Future Generations in Law-Making).


Project Coordinator Mari Taskinen,