On 13 May, the 14th session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on the Right to Development opened in Geneva. During five days, the Working Group will revise and refine the draft “right to development operational sub-criteria,” developed to help assess the extent to which States are individually and collectively taking steps to establish, promote and sustain national and international arrangements that create an enabling environment for the realization of the right to development. The right to development is the right of peoples and individuals to the constant improvement of their well-being and to a national and global enabling environment conducive to just, equitable, participatory and human-centred development respectful of all human rights.
In her opening statement, presented by Ms. IshaDyfan, Navy Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights, reminded the audience of the three overarching themes – the universality of human rights, the importance of democratic participation, and the imperative of development – that were not only at the heart of the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, held 20 years ago, but also of the Declaration on the Right to Development, as a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of fundamental human rights.” Ms. Pillay also explained that the Declaration on the Right to Development enshrines a comprehensive, human-centered development paradigm that aims at the improvement of human well-being for all. It recognizes that every human person is entitled to participate in, contribute to and enjoy a development process in which all human rights can be fully realized.
Ms. Pillay also referred to ongoing discussions on the post-2015 agenda, emphasizing that the post-2015 development agenda must be a global agenda, based on the universal norms recognized in international human rights instruments and with universal objectives. The future agenda should advance equity, as well as equality of opportunity in accessing basic resources, and non-discrimination. She called on the Working Group to “guide the international community on how to position the right to development in the post-2015 development agenda.”
The Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group elaborated on the Group’s mandate, operations and achievements, as well as on recent developments that help advance the work of the Group. The mandate of the Working Group is to ensure the practical application of the right to development, at the national and international levels, in accordance with the UN Declaration on the Right to Development, and to make it a reality for everyone. Special emphasis is put on promoting effective partnerships and the democratization of international governance, mainstreaming the right to development in the policies and operational programmes of the UN system and the international financial and multilateral trading systems, as well as on striving for greater acceptance, operationalization and realization of the right to development.
Reviewing the draft sub-criteria is “particularly challenging” in terms of timing and substance given the depth and breadth of issues covered by the draft sub-criteria, the Chairperson-Rapporteur explained. Difficulty also lies in the subjective nature of the right to development. “The human person and all peoples are the central subjects – and not objects – of development, its driving force, its architect, and its beneficiary.” The Chairperson Rapporteur concluded that implementation of the right to development concerns all – individuals, communities, groups, States, international institutions, as well as the entire United Nations System.
To see the full programme of work of the Working Group, click here.
For relevant background documents, click here.