Sustainability policy has to consider the interdependencies of human life and nature; it has to meet the high moral standards of intra- and intergenerational justice set by the Brundtland Commission in 1987; and, finally, it has to motivate people to behave accordingly. This is quite a challenging task that often is responded to in a too simplistic way. Current sustainability science and civic engagement often focus on the environmental dimensions and herewith on intergenerational justice.
The Capability Approach is a leading paradigm in development economics that has informed development policy during the last 20 years. With its focus on human development it has highlighted the interaction between social and economic development. The issue of intragenerational justice constitutes an ongoing motive within the Capability Approach, but intergenerational justice and environmental concerns have often been left out of its scope.
The project GeNECA aims at conceptualizing sustainable development on the basis of the Capability Approach so as to combine the issues of inter- and intragenerational justice drawing on an integrated understanding of social, economic and environmental development. Resuming the spirit of the Brundtland commission, GeNECA puts the needs and capabilities of people all over the world, now and in future into its focus.
On the basis of conceptual reflections, a set of indicators for sustainable human development (SHD) is to be proposed and tested within the project. The concept will further be used in case studies on various areas of governance to prove its usefulness in decision processes. A feedback mechanism will be installed to amend the conception to the demands of applicability.