HRC Creates Special Rapporteur on Right to Development
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The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) agreed to establish the position of a Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development, in a resolution approved at the Council's 33rd session in Geneva, Switzerland.

OHCHR29 September 2016: The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) has agreed to establish the position of a Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development, in a resolution approved at the Council’s 33rd session in Geneva, Switzerland.

The resolution (A/HRC/33/L.29) reaffirms the right to development as an important instrument for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as other agreements adopted in 2015. The resolution sets the mandate for the Special Rapporteur to serve a three-year term, during which time the appointed person will support efforts to mainstream the right to development in the work of UN and other multilateral organizations, and also contribute to the efforts of the Working Group on the Right to Development.

Venezuela presented the draft resolution on behalf of the Non-aligned Movement (NAM) and China. The resolution was adopted with 34 countries voting in favor, two countries (France, UK) voting against, and 11 abstaining from the vote.

India expressed regret that, although it has been 30 years since the UN Declaration on the Right to Development was adopted, and its Working Group has continued to meet for 17 years, the principle “remains a distant reality.” He said the right to development can provide a balanced, comprehensive and enabling framework to strengthen the global partnership for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Cuba, South Africa and Venezuela also spoke in favor of the resolution.

Slovenia for the EU cautioned against duplication of work, and declined to support the resolution due to lack of consensus among EU members. The UK expressed opposition to a binding, international legal standard, saying that, with regard to the right to development, individual states are the duty-bearers towards citizens.

The resolution requests the Working Group to finalize its existing draft standards for implementing the right to development no later than at its 19th session, based on expert advice at its forthcoming 18th session regarding implications of the 2030 Agenda. The resolution text also looks forward to possible engagement of the Working Group with the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), and encourages UN and other multilateral organizations and stakeholders to consider the right to development when implementing the 2030 Agenda.

The resolution establishes the Special Rapporteur’s mandate as contributing to the promotion, protection and fulfillment of the right to development in the context of coherent and integrated implementation not only of the 2030 Agenda, but also other internationally agreed outcomes of 2015, including the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

On 22 September 2016, UN Member States observed the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Right to Development, on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly (UNGA). [OHCHR Press Release] [Resolution on Right to Development] [South Centre Summary of Debate] [IISD RS Story on Anniversary]

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