BACK TO MAIN  |  ONLINE BOOKSTORE  |  HOW TO ORDER

TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Oct16/01)
6 October 2016
Third World Network

SOUTHNEWS

No. 127, 30 September 2016

SOUTHNEWS is a service of the South Centre to provide information and news on topical issues from a South perspective.

Visit the South Centre’s website:www.southcentre.int

UN Human Rights Council creates position of Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development

By Adriano José Timossi

Marking the commemorations of the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Right to Development, the Human Rights Council approved a resolution (A/HRC/33/L.29) to establish the position of a Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development.  This decision reaffirms the value of the right to development as one of the key instruments in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other internationally agreed outcomes of 2015. Below is a report on the session which adopted the resolution.
 

The commemorations of the adoption of the Declaration on the Right to Development by the UN General Assembly 30 years ago gained a new momentum on 29 September 2016, with the adoption by the Human Rights Council of a resolution (A/HRC/33/L.29) which established a mandate for a Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development. The draft of the resolution was presented by Venezuela on behalf of the member states of the Non-aligned Movement and China, and was adopted by a vote of 34 in favour, two against and 11 abstentions.

The Council decided to appoint, for a period of three years, a Special Rapporteur on the right to development, whose mandate will include:

  • To contribute to the promotion, protection and fulfilment of the right to development in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other internationally agreed outcomes of 2015.
  • To engage and support efforts to mainstream the right to development among various United Nations bodies, development agencies, international development, financial and trade institutions, and to submit proposals aimed at strengthening the revitalized global partnership for sustainable development from the perspective of the right to development.
  • To contribute to the work of the Working Group with a view to supporting the accomplishment of its overall mandate, taking into account, inter alia, the deliberations and recommendations of the Working Group while avoiding any duplication.
  • To submit any specific study by the Human Rights Council in accordance with its mandate.
  • To submit an annual report to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly covering all activities relating to the mandate.\r\n

In his remarks introducing the draft proposal, Ambassador Mr. Jorge Valero (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela), on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), recalled that in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action on the Right to Development, the Council committed to elevate the right to development to the same level as other human rights and fundamental freedoms.

“The Right to Development means to build societies where human dimension, social justice and equality and freedom prevail on Mother Earth… to overcome asymmetries that exist in the international system and to achieve juridical equality of states, and where demands for collective happiness are satisfied,” he said.

“The mandate of Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development will contribute to the work of the Working Group in the accomplishment of this important mandate,” he further stated. The mandate holder in its work will be complementary and will not duplicate or overlap with the work of the Working Group, he emphasized.

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Mr. Ajit Kumar, added India’s support to the draft resolution, while also congratulating Venezuela for assuming office as the Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Islamic Republic of Iran for its able leadership of the NAM in the past four years.

Ambassador Kumar said that the resolution was a “clear expression of the strong commitment of Member States to reinvigorate and advance the discussions on the Right to Development within the Council and its mechanisms.”

“Regrettably, even after 30 years of the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development and 17 years of Working Group meetings, the right to development remains a distant reality,” he said. “There is an urgent need to infuse new energy and purpose to deliberations of the Working Group so that it can fulfill its mandate in a time bound manner. Any argument in favour of the status quo would be highly unjustifiable,” he stated. The ambassador reaffirmed the support of his country to “proposals that aim to overcome existing obstacles and consider new ways to take the Working Group deliberations to the next level.”

Speaking on the value of the new mandate holder in the context of the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs, Ambassador Kumar highlighted that “SDGs are universal and equally applicable to all countries, big and small, rich or poor, developed and developing. The Right to Development can provide a balanced, comprehensive and enabling framework to strengthen the global partnership to achieve these ambitious goals in a sustainable manner while promoting all human rights for all.” He stressed that “the fresh perspective and expertise that a Special Rapporteur can bring will greatly contribute to elaborating such a framework while complementing the work of the Working Group without duplicating mandates.”

The establishment of the new special procedure mandate on the right to development is a befitting way to accord the priority, attention and resources that realization of this fundamental right deserves. He concluded in urging all Member States to “shun any reservations they may have and extend their full support to the resolution”.

South Africa’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko, speaking on behalf of the African Group expressed the support of the African continent for the draft resolution proposed by NAM and China. Ambassador Mxakato-Diseko underscored that 2016 was a crucial year for the start of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“We cannot talk about the promotion and protection of human rights without addressing the challenges of poverty, underdevelopment and inequality, which continue to impact developing countries negatively,” she stressed.

The African Group underscored the need for a strong commitment by Member States of the UN and all relevant programmes, funds and agencies to work together for the full realization of the Right to Development. The African Group also recalled the need to mainstream the right to development in the policies and operational activities of the UN and its specialized agencies, programmes and funds. She concluded that “the right to development is about the constant improvement of the quality of life for all peoples everywhere.”

Ambassador Anayansi Rodríguez Camejo, Permanent Representative of Cuba stressed that the Right to Development remains one of the highest priorities of developing countries.

While expressing strong support for the proposals contained in the draft resolution, in particular the creation of a special rapporteur, she stressed that “it will be crucial to ensure all material support and human resources necessary for the new mandate holder to perform their duties on an equal footing with other procedures and contribute to the work of the Working Group on the Right to Development, as has been proposed”, she stated.

“Far from seeing this new process as a waste of resources or unnecessary duplication, as alleged by some developed countries, we should see it as a new hope for millions of people around the world and to the goal of achieving an enabling international environment for development, in which all countries, without distinction or interference, may define their own models and policies, consistent with their conditions and realities”, Ambassador Camejo added.

[Just a few days ago at the high-level meeting to mark the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Right to Development, in New York, Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno said: \"The right to development cannot continue to be denied among the family of human rights or its true priority be disregarded. Similarly, the use of technicalities to hamper the setting up of a Convention on the Right to Development that paves the way to its materialization should end”].

However, Slovenia, speaking on behalf of the European Union, opposed the creation of another mechanism that “would duplicate efforts”. EU was also not in favour of an international legal standard of a binding nature, to which the draft resolution has a reference. The EU said that “diverging views remained and a common position had not been reached so far”, and concluded that the EU would not be able to support the resolution.

The United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote said “that the primary responsibility for ensuring that the right to development was realized was owed to citizens by States”. The UK is also against an international legal standard of a binding nature.  The Human Rights Council agenda was already overloaded and the appointment of a Special Rapporteur would detract from more pressing items, the delegate said.  The United Kingdom, a member of the Council, called for a vote on the text and would vote no, “despite its support for the right to development”, the delegate concluded.

The 47 members of the Human Rights Council voted as follows:

In favour (34): Algeria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Burundi, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Togo, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, and Viet Nam.

Against (2): France, and United Kingdom.

Abstentions (11): Albania, Belgium, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

A/HRC/33/L.29 paragraphs 14, 15 and 16

14. Also decides to appoint, for a period of three years, a Special Rapporteur on the right to development, whose mandate will include:
      (a)            To contribute to the promotion, protection and fulfilment of the right to development in the context of the coherent and integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other internationally agreed outcomes of 2015, including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and to this effect, participate in relevant international meetings and conferences;
      (b)            To engage and support efforts to mainstream the right to development among various United Nations bodies, development agencies, international development, financial and trade institutions, and to submit proposals aimed at strengthening the revitalized global partnership for sustainable development from the perspective of the right to development;
      (c)            To contribute to the work of the Working Group with a view to supporting the accomplishment of its overall mandate, taking into account, inter alia, the deliberations and recommendations of the Working Group while avoiding any duplication;
      (d)            To submit any specific study by the Human Rights Council in accordance with its mandate;
      (e)            To submit an annual report to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly covering all activities relating to the mandate, with a view to maximizing the benefits of the reporting process;
15.  Invites all Governments to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur in the performance of the tasks and duties mandated and to give due consideration to the recommendations of the mandate holder;
16. Requests the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner to provide the Special Rapporteur with the administrative, logistical and staff support necessary for the implementation of the mandate under the present resolution;

Source: A/HRC/33/L.29, 27 September 2016. Oral Revisions of 29 September 2016.


Related links

The Human Rights Council, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the resolution on the right to development held a Panel on 15 June 2016. The panel discussion was opened by the President of the Human Rights Council Mr. Choi Kyonglim and the Opening Address was given by the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. Among the panel speakers was South Centre Executive Director Mr. Martin Khor. Other speakers were Ms. Flavia Piovesan (Secretary for Human Rights, Brazil), Jamaica’s Ambassador Mr. Wayne McCook and Dr. Mihir Kanade (University for Peace in Costa Rica). The Chairman was Egypt’s Ambassador Mr. Amr Ramadan. The webcast of the Panel Discussion on the Right to Development - 7th Meeting 32nd Regular Session of Human Rights Council is available here:http://webtv.un.org/%20http:/www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/archive.html/watch/panel-discussion-on-the-right-to-development-7th-meeting-32nd-regular-session-of-human-rights-council/4941910901001#full-text

The South Centre prepared a special edition of its South Bulletin on the Human Rights Council panel session of 15 June 2016.
SOUTH BULLETIN 93, 16 AUGUST 2016
The Right to Development at 30: Looking Back and Forwards is available here:https://www.southcentre.int/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/SB93_EN.pdf

High-Level Segment on the Right to Development. On 22 September 2016, the President of the UN General Assembly convened a one-day high-level segment, in the margins of the general debate of the UN General Assembly at its seventy-first session, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development. The opening session of the High-level thematic debate featured special addresses by Mr. Peter Thomson, President of the United Nations General Assembly and Mr. Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General. It also had speeches by Mr. Zeid Ra\'ad AI Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Mr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD. See more details at: http://www.un.org/pga/71/tag/right-to-development/

Adriano José Timossi is a Senior Programme Officer of the Global Governance for Development Programme (GGDP)at the South Centre.

To view other articles in SouthNews, please click here.

For more information, please contact Vicente Paolo Yu of the South Centre: Email wlmailhtml:/"http://yu@southcentre.int\", or telephone +41 22 791 80 50.

 


BACK TO MAIN  |  ONLINE BOOKSTORE  |  HOW TO ORDER