UNGA President Updates Preparations for Human Rights Debate
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UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Mogens Lykketoft released an updated concept note and programme for the High-level Thematic Debate (HLTD) on Human Rights.

The Debate, convening on 12-13 July, will focus on the ‘UN@70: Human Rights at the centre of the global agenda.'

UNGA 2nd Committee - Economic and Financial24 June 2016: UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Mogens Lykketoft has released an updated concept note and programme for the High-level Thematic Debate (HLTD) on Human Rights. The Debate, which will convene on 12-13 July, will focus on the ‘UN@70: Human Rights at the centre of the global agenda.’

The event is the third high-level thematic debate that Lykketoft has organized as part of his efforts to foster ‘A new Commitment to Action.’

The HLTD on human rights aims to: reinforce the foundations needed for enjoyment of human rights; identify how action to realize human rights can contribute to progress on peace and society and sustainable development, and vice versa; and highlight ways to strengthen the UN’s role and effectiveness on human rights. The Debate will also address: key questions related to strategies that the UN can employ to further advance human rights; changes needed to enable the UN system to better respond to human rights concerns and support Member States in their obligations; and implications of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and reviews on peace and security, for the UN’s approach to human rights.

The event will include an opening segment, a plenary debate, three interactive segments and side events. A moderated conversation with candidates for the position of UN Secretary-General, ‘Leading the UN: A Global Townhall with SG Candidates,’ will engage candidates in an open discussion on challenges and opportunities facing the next UN Secretary-General, including on how to ensure human rights are at the center of the global agenda. This event is distinct from the UNGA-mandated informal dialogues with candidates.

According to the concept note, the first interactive segment, titled ‘Combatting discrimination and inequalities,’ will discuss major obstacles to eliminating discrimination and reducing inequalities; prioritization of efforts and opportunities for rapid improvements; and the contribution of the 2030 Agenda and its commitment to leave no one behind to the realization of the principles of non-discrimination and equality. In particular, this discussion will discuss how the 2030 Agenda offers an opportunity to put non-discrimination and equality “back at the heart” of sustainable development, including through progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls), SDG 10 (Reduce inequality within and among countries) and on means of implementation (MOI).

The segment on ‘Strengthening governance, the rule of law and access to justice,’ will focus on the role of the legal system at international and national levels and institutions of good governance in the protection and promotion of human rights. Key questions will address: effective strategies to achieve better protection of human rights and accountability through the national and international legal systems; the role of legal frameworks and international standards in facilitating socially and economically inclusive development and building peaceful and inclusive societies; practical measures to embed accountability and transparency in efforts to achieve SDG 16 (Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels), and support from non-state actors in strengthening good governance and the rule of law.

The segment on ‘Enabling active participation in society’ will consider how governments and international organizations can work together to incentivize a pro-civil society culture in support of human rights and the SDGs. It will discuss issues related to disarming the fears of those who seek to dismantle or limit public freedoms, enhancing appreciation and solidarity to safeguard ‘super-rules’ across all sectors and evening the space for civil society participation, among other issues.

The HLTD aims to attract High-level representatives from States, the UN system, regional organizations, human rights bodies and mechanisms, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders. The Debate will result in a summary by the UNGA President. [Concept Note: UN@70: Human Rights at the centre of the global agenda] [HLTD Webpage]

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