Supporting States, Realizing Rights

The fourth cycle of the Univeral Periodic Review and 15th Anniversary of the Voluntary Fund for Financial and Technical Assistance in the implementation of the UPR

November 3, 2022
Universal Periodic Review

Supporting States, Realizing Rights: the 4th cycle of the UPR and 15th Anniversary of the Voluntary Fund for Financial and Technical Assistance in the implementation of the UPR

UNDP Photo

President of the Human Rights Council, Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies, and gentlemen,

I would like to thank the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Morocco and the UN Human Rights Office for organizing and inviting UNDP to participate in this event.

I am very pleased to join you to mark the 15th anniversary of the Voluntary Fund.

This is a timely discussion. As the UPR- enters its fourth cycle, this is an opportune moment to reflect together on the progress made throughout the first three cycles –

Notably, 100% of member states are now participating and are actively engaged in the process with recommendations received and accepted on critical issues ranging from climate change to COVID-19.

UNDP strongly believes that human rights and sustainable development are two sides of the same coin.

As such, we recognize the UPR as an invaluable instrument to achieve both.

UNDP and the UN Human Rights Office have been working together to ‘import and export’ good practices across the UN system on maximizing engagement with the UPR.

With the support of the UN Human Rights Mainstreaming Fund and UNDP’s Global Programme on Rule of Law and Human Rights, and in cooperation with the UN Development Cooperation Office we worked together earlier this year to gather over 60 different examples of UN engagement.

We curated 18 of these examples into a good practices repository.

They present excellent examples of how the UPR makes a difference on a range of issues from: discrimination, and gender-based violence, to strengthening institutions for better sustainable development outcomes.

We also have gathered insights into how the UN is utilizing the UPR process. I want to mention two trends that were noted:

  • Firstly, UPR recommendations are increasingly aligned to national plans to achieve the 2030 Agenda and we are seeing increasing use of the UPR as an analytical and problem-solving tool which can spur action and momentum for UNCTs and the UN. This is line with the vision of the Common Agenda and the Call to Action. 
  • Secondly, UNCTs are adopting whole-of-society approaches toward embedding the UPR process at country level by engaging governments but also national parliaments, civil society and national human rights institutions.

Some examples of UNDP’s support I would like to mention include:

In Pakistan, based on UPR recommendations, with UNDP advocacy support, the Government adopted its historic Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act in 2018, bringing crucial improvements in the legal status of transgender people in Pakistan.

In Armenia, legislation was amended to prevent torture, including through using improved investigation techniques by the police which UNDP supported through training and the development of standard operating procedures.

UNDP has also supported many efforts of member states to uphold the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights including supporting Thailand as the first country in Asia to develop a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights – an action that stemmed from a UPR recommendation.

As highlighted by the President of the Human Rights Council, business plays an important role. We are supporting 26 countries uphold the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.


Despite the potential of the UPR, we need to see improvements to address the ‘technical cooperation gap’ in countries.  

UPR recommendations contain a wealth of information and targeted recommendations that can be leveraged to deliver more timely and targeted development support and ensure we are leaving no one behind.

Countries who want to take action on recommendations need further support and we need to continue to work on integrating human rights and SDG systems to embed human rights recommendations in national development policies aiming to achieve the SDGs. 

The Secretary-General’s Call to Action on Human Rights reminds us of the moral imperative and practical value of human rights work in all that we do.

By urging us to accelerate progress towards the 2030 agenda with human rights as the foundation of our efforts, the Call to Action directs us to a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable future for all.

Mechanisms such as the Universal Periodic Review process are essential tools for answering this call.  

With the fourth cycle of the UPR commencing, and with a focus on enhanced implementation of recommendations received and accepted, UNDP is committed to continue supporting Member States to implement UPR recommendations.

I thank you.