Short intervention by H.E. George Vella, President of Malta at The Future Generations Round Table, 20 November 2019.

Rector Prof. Vella

Minister Herrera

Honourable members

Dr Ruth Farrugia

Prof Gyula Bandi

Distinguished guests

It is indeed a great pleasure to be with you today to discuss this very important and timely topic. On this note, I wish to thank Dr Farrugia and her team for organising this round table and bringing together such a diverse number of participants. I believe it is important to facilitate the discussion between different fields and to listen to different views and ideas how to best promote and protect the interests of future generations.

Immediately questions come to mind:

  • How far into the future are we trying to throw our gaze? Near future (40 – 50 years) and beyond
  • Are we talking about global dimensions or regional?
  • We are assuming there will be no catastrophic natural cataclysm (meteor hitting earth)
  • Also assuming we would not have been mad enough to launch a nuclear war
  • What population figures are we talking about?

Whereas in developing societies one starts off from the present level of development into the realms of what could be science fiction, and unimaginable expectations, in less developed or underdeveloped societies, the major concerns today are still the attainment of basic rights such as elimination of injustices, repression, oppression and inequality and the basic aspirations for the elimination of hunger, poverty and disease.

Present generations are starting from different starting points. this glaring inequality lies squarely on the shoulders of the leaders of present generations.

The question begs itself: can we trust present political leaders and their policies to really guarantee leading us into a better ‘utopic’ future?

In fact, young people of today are proving to be the true driving force to bring about tangible and positive change. if we stop and observe the past decade, we can notice a (young) stream of movements sprouting in practically every corner of the world. from the young people chanting for political and civil freedom in the Arab spring to the more recent and younger cohort of youths spearheaded by the Greta Thunberg movement for climate change, the world is today more than ever driven by the so called ‘future generations’.

Present adult generations need to realise that they too are part of the future and that each and every action as of today, will be having its mark on our tomorrow.

Yet, it seems that the ‘present adult generation’ is too occupied to realise the importance to connect our present existence with the well-being and development of future generations. we persist in polluting, bombarding, segregating and destabilising whole communities of people and animal species. We organise various regional conferences, yet few yield tangible results. The lack of political will to take concrete steps to address our common future propagates a vicious cycle of unsustainability and one which will have grave consequences on the world as the know it today.

I wish to highlight that future generations are already active, in their little and limited ways, and have been trying to bring about positive change. the future generations of today want us to hear their calls and believe in the power of social and ecological change. I believe we should listen more to our young people and harness this joie de vivre for a more socially inclusive and environmentally conscious world.

My final thought is about who will yield power in the future. Will it be a highly developed society fully aided by highly intelligent robots and super refined technological advances, still lording it over the less developed communities, utilising their resources and manpower to further increase the development gap?

Or will it be a post mass migration, post-revolutionary society that would have taken over to become themselves the ‘powers’ of the new future!

My honest fears are that irrespective of whatever technological developments we go through as the human race many will still bear with him his animal instincts of greed for power, fame and richness.

Thank you