Side Event to the 69th UNGA session - Rights-Based Approach – a Contribution for the post-2015: Background
Co-organised by the European Commission and the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union
24-24 September 2014, Lunch debate, Hotel Westin Grand Central: 212 East 42nd Street (between 2nd & 3rd Avenues), New York, NY 10017

In the 2000 Millennium Declaration and 2005 World Summit, world leaders recognized the essential linkages between human rights and development. In the 2010, MDGs review Summit, they reaffirmed that common fundamental values, including freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect for all human rights, respect for nature and shared responsibility, are essential for achieving the MDGs. These inter-linkages were reiterated strongly at the Rio+20 Summit and reaffirmed for the United Nations development system in the General Assembly’s resolution on the 2012 Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review.

In the 2012 Declaration of the High Level meeting of the General Assembly on the rule of law, world leaders acknowledged “that the rule of law and development are strongly interrelated and mutually reinforcing” and for this reason, their conviction that this interrelationship should be considered in the post 2015 international development agenda. This conclusion was reaffirmed at the June 2013 High Level Event of the General Assembly “Contributions of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the post‐2015 Development Agenda”.

Similarly, in September 2013, during the Special Event to follow up on efforts made towards the achievement of the MDGs, member States underlined the need for a coherent approach for the post 2015 that integrates in a balanced manner the three dimensions of sustainable development and should also promote peace and security, freedom, democratic governance, the rule of law, gender equality and respect for all human rights. In December 2013 and January 2014, the Open Working Group for Sustainable Development Goals (OWG) addressed, inter alia, the issue of Human rights, including right to development, and global governance, the issues of equality, social equity, gender equality and women’s empowerment. It strongly supported the integration of all human rights into the post-2015 development agenda.

The OWG discussion helped move the debate from a conceptual to a practical footing, showing how human rights should be central to the vision and objectives of development, and how human rights standards and principles should be integrated within the design of post-2015 goals, targets and indicators themselves, as well as the means of implementation and mechanisms of accountability to ensure that post-2015 commitments are delivered on in practice.

Finally, on 10 September 2014 the General Assembly acknowledged and welcomed the report of the Open Working Group for Sustainable Development Goals through the adoption of a resolution. It contains major recommendations related to human rights and development, including in relation to economic and social rights, non-discrimination and equality, with proposals relating to public participation, personal security and access to justice (particularly in proposed Goal 16), and in connection with the framework for global cooperation.

In parallel, in 2011, the 4th High Level Forum on aid effectiveness of Busan, recognised that it is now time to broaden attention from aid effectiveness to the challenges of effective development and to rethink what aid should be spent on and how, in ways that are consistent with agreed international rights, norms and standards, so that aid catalyses development.

List of Key references
United Nations Millennium Declaration, 8 September 2000
The Human Rights Based Approach to Development Cooperation. Towards a Common Understanding Among UN Agencies, 2003
Keeping the promise: united to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, 17 September 2010
Busan partnership for effective development co-operation, 1 December 2011
Report of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, 20–22 June 2012
Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Rule of Law at the National and International Levels, 30 November 2012
Quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 21 December 2012
Special Event to follow up on efforts made towards the achievement of the MDGs: Outcome Document, 30 September 2013
High-level Event of the General Assembly on the Contributions of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, 9 to 10 June 2014
Proposal of the Open working Group for Sustainable Development Goals, 19 July 2014
Commission staff working document. Tool-box. A Rights-Based Approach, encompassing all Human Rights for EU Development Cooperation, 30 April 2014
Council conclusions on a rights-based  approach to development cooperation, encompassing all human rights, 19 May 2014


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