States must renew their commitment to international cooperation to achieve global development goals and realise human rights

by Asmaa Elwahy

States must renew their commitment to international cooperation to achieve global development goals and realise human rights

GENEVA (5 December 2022) – UN human rights experts* call for ambitious policies and recommitment to development cooperation in a statement marking the 36th anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development (4 December). Their full statement is as follows:

“On the occasion of the 36th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Right to Development, we call on States to cooperate in a spirit of strengthened and renewed multilateralism. Such renewed commitment will be critical to reignite progress towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its promise to end poverty and hunger; achieve gender equality, combat inequalities; and realise human rights to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies.

States must seize the opportunity of two major global policy forums next year. In July 2023, the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) will convene under the theme Accelerating the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels. The HLPF will also support the mid-term review of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and preparations for the 2023 SDG Summit that will be convened during the United Nations General Assembly in September 2023.

The devastating impact of the pandemic on all human rights has been well documented. In the face of the biggest public health crisis of the twenty-first century, the international community must design and implement ambitious and comprehensive policies and measures. To ensure a swift recovery that will not simply restore the pre pandemic status quo but advance sustainable development and climate action goals for all people and the planet, States must bring about the active participation of all peoples and communities concerned, including through the equal involvement of women and girls, in the planning, monitoring, implementation and evaluation, of COVID-19 recovery plans and policies.

As world States recognised in the UN Declaration on the Right to Development, “every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realised” (article 1); and States must formulate national development policies on the basis of the “active, free and meaningful participation” “of the entire populations and all individuals” (article 2).

We call on States and international financial institutions to: ensure greater coordination of economic policies, including monetary policies, so that the recovery of one group of countries is not achieved at the expense of another; provide international support through grants, especially for the least-developed countries, small island developing States and lower middle-income countries that have been hit hardest by the crisis; and strengthen international cooperation for expanded debt relief and sustainability initiatives for developing countries, in accordance with the relevant commitments made in the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development.

We also urge States to recommit to the target of dedicating 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income to Official Development Assistance by providing timetables and accountability frameworks, including legislation at the national level. Development partners should also redirect aid to where it is most needed with clear actions and timelines. High-income countries should invest additional efforts in engaging in technological and scientific cooperation with countries from the global South, in particular least-developed countries, to enable their health systems to provide health facilities, goods and services that are available, accessible, acceptable and of good quality for all.”

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