UN officials and Member States highlighted commonalities between the Declaration on the Right to Development and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and called for urgent action on climate issues, poverty, and rising inequality, at a high-level meeting on the sidelines of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
22 September 2016: UN officials and Member States highlighted commonalities between the Declaration on the Right to Development and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and called for urgent action on climate issues, poverty, and rising inequality, at a high-level meeting on the sidelines of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
The high-level meeting on 22 September 2016 marked 30 years since the Declaration was adopted in 1986. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon drew attention to the potential of the 2030 Agenda to realize the right to development, and highlighted the principles common to both agreements, including an emphasis on equality, participation, empowerment and ensuring that no one is left behind.
UNGA President Peter Thomson said the Declaration laid the groundwork for more recent agreements, including the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) on financing for development (FFD) and the Paris Agreement on climate change. He called for removing historical injustices.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein stressed that the true purpose of any economic endeavor is to improve people’s wellbeing, and not “to build towers of individual wealth upon their labor.” He warned that massive inequality has fueled social unrest, and said that all stakeholders that marginalized groups, such as migrants and indigenous peoples, also have a right to development.
Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), emphasized the need to address systemic issues. He called for a rules-based system to address the debt issue in emerging economies and poor countries, and warned that the current “backlash against globalization” should be addressed by responding to rising inequality.
Stavros Lambindidis, EU Special Representative on Human Rights, argued against creating a binding international legal standard. He committed to establishing an integrated and systematic monitoring system to track progress.
Several UN Member States called for a new world order that would promote the right to development, and underlined national efforts toward achieving the 2030 Agenda. Among them, Nigeria highlighted its fight against corruption and illicit financial flows, while Indonesia said it has finalized legal and institutional frameworks for implementing the 2030 Agenda and reduced its national fuel subsidy.
The UNGA adopted the Declaration on the Right to Development in 1986, in resolution 41/128. Other international agreements that recognize the right to development include the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Arab Charter on Human Rights, the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, the Millennium Declaration, and the 2007 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
The 1986 Declaration identifies states as the duty bearers on the right to development. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has a mandate to promote and protect the realization of the right to development. The intergovernmental open-ended Working Group on the Right to Development was established in 1998; the Working Group meets once a year and reports to the Human Rights Council (HRC) and the UNGA. [UN Press Release] [Declaration on the Right to Development] [OHCHR Information Sheet]