Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) Annual Conference 2023

Address by UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner

March 16, 2023

Please see link to the video of the Administrator's address.

Chair of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, Maryam Abdullah Al Attiyah,

Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Nada Al-Nashif,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a privilege to join the opening of the GANHRI Annual Conference as we mark several global milestones this year.
It includes the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It is also the 30th Anniversary of the Paris Principles that established new standards for National Human Rights Institutions – or NHRIs – which are a cornerstone of human rights systems in countries across the world today.

2023 also marks the midway point in global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, and the 2030 Agenda.

National Human Rights Institutions are an inseparable part of these endeavours.

They play a crucial role in promoting and monitoring the effective implementation of international human rights standards at the national level.

That means building bridges between some of the world’s most marginalized communities and state institutions.

They ensure that people can access their right to vital healthcare like  vaccines or gain an education.
They ensure freedom of expression and protect human rights defenders.

And they hold governments to account.

In short, they often give a voice to the voiceless.

Since the adoption of the SDGs, we have seen notable progress in this area.

In 2015, 70 countries had NHRIs that complied with the Paris Principles -- or approximately at that time 35% of UN Member States.

45% of Member States now benefit from an independent NHRI -- or 89 countries.

Yet I think we all agree that pace of change is still too slow as we work towards the 2030 Agenda deadline.

Indeed, at a time when democratic spaces are shrinking in many countries ; trust in governments is declining; and human rights are regressing in many parts of the world, these vital institutions need our enhanced support.

The United Nations Development Programme is working with our partners to drive forward   step change.

Consider, for instance, Burkina Faso, where UNDP has been supporting the National Human Rights Commission on  new efforts to prevent torture.

Or look to Turkmenistan where UNDP supported the Ombudsperson’s Office to implement a new grievance mechanism for communities in line with the Paris Principles.

At this pivotal moment for people and planet, UNDP will continue to work closely with the UN Human Rights Office and GANHRI through our TriPartite Partnership.

It allows us to combine our collective strengths to offer NHRIs the support they need.

I am therefore pleased that this unique partnership will be scaling-up its support to all regions in 2023.

One facet of that assistance will be to put the newly recognized right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment into practice worldwide

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Effective, inclusive, and independent National Human Rights Institutions do represent the bedrock of just and inclusive societies that can advance peace, security, human rights, and sustainable development for all. 

These institutions are also torch-bearers for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights across the world.

They keep that fire burning -- inspiring our global community to ensure that all people can gain freedom, equality, and dignity.

In that spirit, I wish you an inspiring and productive conference.

Thank you.