Mr. Carlos Negret - Chair of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions;
Ms. Ilze Brands-Kehris, Assistant Secretary-General of the UN Human Rights Office;
Colleagues and friends from National Human Rights Institutions and Regional Networks; UNDP and UN Office of Human Rights; from the broader UN system and development partners;
[ALL PROTOCOLS OBSERVED],
It is my great pleasure to be here today and to open on behalf of UNDP, the 2020 Annual Tri-Partite Partnership meeting to support National Human Rights Institutions. For UNDP, this partnership is a critical part of our strategic action on rule of law, security and human rights.
We are facing global challenges to the realization of human rights. The global Coronavirus pandemic has been recognized, as not only a critical public health danger - but also a human, economic and social emergency that is ‘fast becoming a human rights crisis’. This is a crisis which is disproportionately impacting the poorest, the marginalized and the most vulnerable amongst us.
The UN has developed a comprehensive response to COVID including a socio-economic response framework that is rights-based. UNDP is working with OHCHR and the Development Cooperation Office on key tools to support this.
We know over 65 NHRIs have engaged in a variety of COVID-19 response activities. UNDP has supported the NHRI in Ukraine strengthen its capacity to advocate for prevention of discrimination, hate speech and the promotion of tolerance in COVID-19 communications. In Sierra Leone, UNDP supported the NHRI to monitor the human rights situation and hear and investigate complaints. Through joint support through the TPP to the NHRI in Mali, monitoring of places of detention was increased to reduce overcrowding, resulting in 1300 people being released including 200 women.
In these challenging times we need to reinforce, support and work in partnership with NHRIs to address COVID-19. We also need to support member states to ‘recover back better’ - to use inclusive approaches in their recovery towards achieving the SDGs and securing the social contract.
The SG’s 2020 report on progress towards the SDGs highlights uneven progress. Whilst some positive trends are evident, inequality continues to increase within and among countries. Only 40 percent of member states have NHRIs functioning in line with international standards.
Action is overdue in 78 countries to improve the capacities of their NHRIs to work to the best and fullest of their mandates - and this is across all regions. If we proceed at the current rate of progress, only 54 percent of countries will have NHRIs in line with international standards by 2030.
More needs to be done – because making progress towards the SDGs is furthering the realization of human rights. The Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs, launched last year, urges all actors to dramatically increase the pace and scale of implementation efforts.
I wish to highlight what we can do as a partnership to advance progress. UNDP works with NHRIs around the world – working with them to build their capacities and also as development partners. Over 50 country offices reported working with NHRIs in 2019. Whilst many of these efforts are individual UNDP programmes, increasingly and through the impetus of the Tri-Partite Partnership, we are working with OHCHR in joint support to NHRIs. In this way, we can harness mandates and comparative advantages of the UN system for the benefit of NHRIs. This brings closer cooperation between the development and human rights pillars and should be our modus operandi at country level.
Member states have requested more coherence in the UN’s approach in general. UNDP firmly believes that working in partnership makes the UN more effective and cost-efficient. But most importantly, more integrated approach delivers better results for the people and institutions we are serving.
After many years of partnership in priority setting and ensuring coherency in our support, last year we have jointly worked in a programme as a Tri-Partite Partnership. I would like to thank the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their support in this endeavor. As we reflect, learn and improve from this process, we are equipped to move forward on a tried and tested model of cooperation.
I want to take a moment to also thank our partners. The collaboration with the UN Human Rights Office has become closer than ever, working hands and hands on SG’s call to action on human rights and various initiatives. We thank National Human Rights Institutions for your efforts in progressing, promoting and protecting human rights in so many contexts. The Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, under the leadership of Mr. Negret, is continuing to go from strength to strength. We wholeheartedly value your partnership.
Lastly, I wish to inform you that next week, as a part of our Annual meeting on global programme, we will be launching a discussion on ‘The Future We Want to See’ - to define how we should drive Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights. We invite you to share your reflections to identify the contemporary challenges and emerging trends in this field. We appreciate your views on where and how UNDP should plan for the future, including in the engagement on human rights and our support to NHRIs.
I am pleased to open this meeting on this forward-looking note and look forward to learning about the concrete recommendations and conclusions reached in your discussions.