The 2019 HLPF side event on ‘Human Rights and the 2030 Agenda: Leaving No One Behind while Accelerating SDG Implementation’ outlined ways to strengthen linkages between human rights and the 2030 Agenda.
The event was organized following the first Human Rights Council's intersessional meeting for dialogue and cooperation on human rights and the 2030 Agenda that took place in January in Geneva.
The outcome of this first intersessional meeting is expected to be presented by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights during the HLPF.
12 July 2019: On the sidelines of the 2019 UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), countries, UN entities and stakeholders shared views and experiences on ways to strengthen linkages between human rights and the 2030 Agenda. Some participants remarked that human rights are an intrinsic part of sustainable development, and said the 2030 Agenda is a human rights agenda.
The event was organized by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) with the co-sponsorhip of the Permanent Missions of Denmark, Chile, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Fiji, Luxembourg, Portugal, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Thailand and Uruguay. Co-sponsors also included the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR), the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), the European Network of Equality Bodies (Equinet) and the Universal Rights Group.
In resolution 37/24 of March 2018, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) decided to organize two intersessional meetings for dialogue and cooperation on human rights and the 2030 Agenda that would inform the HLPF. The first of these meetings took place in January 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland, and focused on the theme of the 2019 HLPF, ‘Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.’ The meeting considered the contributions of human rights to national SDG implementation, and outlined challenges and opportunities related to speeding up SDG implementation. A summary of this meeting is available here.
The 12 July HLPF side event on ‘Human Rights and the 2030 Agenda: Leaving No One Behind while Accelerating SDG Implementation’ sought to continue the discussion initiated during the interesssional meeting. During the event, moderated by Eva Grambye (DIHR), Martin Bille Hermann, Permanent Representative of Denmark, said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will present the outcome of the first intersessional meeting on human rights and the 2030 Agenda to the HLPF. Milenko Skoknic Tapia, Permanent Representative of Chile, remarked that while human rights is a domain with specific international laws and obligations, the SDGs are newer and based on a non-binding agreement. He noted the opportunity to connect human rights principles like non-discrimination and accountability with SDG implementation. Denmark and Chile serve as co-chairs of the Group of Friends on Human Rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
On building linkages and synergies between the Human Rights Council and the HLPF, Inga Rhonda King, UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President, said she had briefed the HRC on the 2018 HLPF, and was the first ECOSOC President to address the HRC. She further announced that her successor, Mona Juul (Norway), will inform the Council on the outcomes of the 2019 HLPF. She called for an integrated approach between the SDGs and human rights, adding “it’s time to be bold.” Marion Barthélemy, Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) suggested, among other elements, that human rights be brought into all sessions of the HLPF.
Massimo Toschi, FRA, called for better disaggregated data to know who is left behind, not only in the global South, but also in developed countries. He said bringing human rights actors into the heart of national SDG consultations was one of the key outcomes of the first intersessional meeting on human rights and the 2030 Agenda, and he called on national SDG focal points to engage with human rights actors.
Among other speakers, Birgitte Feiring, DIHR and Chair of the GANHRI Working Group on SDGs, discussed national human rights institutions’ (NHRIs) engagement with the SDGs. She noted that approximately 70 Member States have independent NHRIs. She also referred to the Mérida Declaration, which outlines ways NHRIs can apply their mandate and functions to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the realization of human rights. Teresa Jennings, LexisNexis Legal & Professional, said that based on data, when the rule of law is respected, socioeconomic factors “are strong,” and issues such as child mortality “go down.”
Some Member States noted that at the country level, human rights and the SDGs are under the responsibility of different ministries, and called for ensuring synergies and collaboration between them. A member of the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) suggested using the Principles of effective governance for sustainable development to integrate human rights and the SDGs at the national level.
Concluding the meeting, Craig Mokhiber, Director, OHCHR New York Office, said there is an essential marriage between human rights and the SDGs, and remarked that the 2030 Agenda is the first intergovernmentally agreed development agenda that is human rights based. [Intersessional Meeting on human rights and the 2030 Agenda of 16 January 2019] [HLPF 2019 List of Side Events] [Event Announcement] [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources]