Grounding development priorities in human rights: Incentives to improve equality, social security and accountability
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have played an important role in placing key issues on the development agenda that might have otherwise been neglected. Importantly, the MDGs have resulted in the generation and collection of more targeted data, which have been used to influence national and international development policies and measures. Nevertheless, the MDGs, while welcomed by the international development community, were met with skepticism by many who questioned the wisdom of framing as political commitments matters already codified as legal obligations under international human rights law.
One key shortcoming of the MDG framework was its failure to fully reflect the promise of the Millennium Declaration in which countries resolved to strive for the full protection and promotion of all human rights. Indeed, more than a decade after the adoption of the Millennium Declaration, experience has shown that issues left out of a universally-agreed agenda are not effectively monitored and reported on, and easily become blind spots when priorities are set, policies defined or budgets allocated.
Human rights norms and standards provide concrete guidance as to how goals and targets for the post-2015 development agenda should be framed. Governments have already committed to uphold human rights in numerous international treaties. Grounding development priorities in human rights is not only a legal and moral imperative, but can also enhance effectiveness and accountability.
As independent experts appointed by the Human Rights Council, we have been mandated by States to make recommendations for the promotion of human rights at national, regional and international levels. In this statement, we make the following recommendations concerning key priorities for the post-2015 development agenda that are common to our mandates.