Poverty caused in part by discrimination, exclusion, lack of accountability and abuse of power, UNDP director tells the Social Forum of the Human Rights Council

Oct 4, 2011

UNDP embraces human rights as an intrinsic part of development and development as a means to realizing human rights

Geneva — Cécile Molinier, Director of the Geneva Office of the United Nations Development Programme, addressed the Social Forum of the UN Human Rights Council yesterday, telling delegates and participants that discrimination, exclusion, lack of accountability and abuse of power are widely recognized as structural causes of poverty.  “Human rights are at the heart of effective states, democratic governance and empowered individuals and groups,” she said. “Where human rights are promoted and protected, they support the development of a safe and predictable enabling environment for investment and growth, and help to ensure that the benefits of growth reach all groups in society, particularly the most marginalized and the vulnerable.”

The Social Forum serves as an unique space for open and interactive dialogue between Member States, intergovernmental organizations, and civil society on issues linked with the national and international environment needed for the promotion of the enjoyment of all human rights by all.

This year’s Forum, which takes place from 3 to 5 October 2011, is focusing on the promotion and effective realization of the Right to Development, in the context of the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development this year.  It also is addressing measures and actions needed to make the Right to Development a reality for everyone at the local, national, regional and international levels, including the role and contribution of civil society and non-governmental organizations. 

Lastly, the Forum is highlighting international assistance and cooperation, as well as the promotion of an enabling environment for the realization of the Right to Development.

Molinier said UNDP embraces human rights as an intrinsic part of development and development as a means to realizing human rights. “This Framework provides an integrated, holistic and cohesive framework for achieving just and equitable development for all,” she said. “It encompasses both the civil and political as well as the economic, social and cultural dimensions of human rights and addresses both the national and international dimensions of development.”

Molinier drew upon several evidence-based best-practice experiences to exemplify UNDP’s work in this important area.  In Bosnia Herzegovina, for example, UNDP supported the government to use human rights standards and principles as benchmarks in the field of education, health and social protection. 

In Ecuador it supported the development of policy guidelines to design, monitor and evaluate sectoral public policies with a human rights based approach.  In both the Philippines and Liberia UNDP supported the governments to draft development plans and Poverty Reduction Strategies within a human rights based framework.  In many other countries, among them Belize, Macedonia, Liberia, Comoros, and Benin, UNDP is addressing the priorities of the most excluded and vulnerable communities in local MDGs and development plans.

“Based on our overall experience in a vast number of countries,” she said, “we at UNDP believe the Human Rights Based Approach, which is a capacity development centred programming approach, provides for a vision of what development programming should strive to achieve, while providing a set of tools and essential references to operationalize this vision at the same time.”
Referring to  the Declaration on the Right to Development, Molinier said it is important to consider that it “evolved as a response to development failures.” She told delegates that many kinds of once-favoured development activities “have clearly inflicted impoverishing and uncompensated harms on millions of already vulnerable people.

“Many others have produced benefits to some but losses to many others,” she said.  “Hence, the Declaration should be viewed as a set of enabling policies, principles and procedures that have evolved out of some three decades of development practice and that embody the consensus of the international community today.”

UNDP is the UN’s global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. We are on the ground in 177 countries and territories, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and our wide range of partners. Please visit: www.undp.org. Follow us on twitter and facebook.

Contact information

Adam Rogers (Communication Advisor)
Tel: +41 22 917 8541
Mobile: +41 79 849 0679

Zanofer Ismalebbe (Human Rights Adviser)
Tel: +41 22 917 8543

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