Experts Discuss the Role of United Nations Human Rights Mechanisms in Monitoring Sustainable Development Goals

25 June 2018

During an expert seminar that took place at the Geneva Academy at the beginning of June, UN Special Procedures, members of UN treaty bodies (TBs), staff from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), as well as representatives from civil society, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the Swiss Government discussed the role that United Nations (UN) human rights (HR) mechanisms have played and can play in monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that seek to realize economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR).

Participants also discussed how they could collaborate with the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York and the links they could develop with the March 2017 initiative on human rights and the 2030 Agenda at the Human Rights Council (HRC).

‘These exchanges allow participants to learn what UN HR mechanisms have done and are doing in linking ESCR and the SDGs and to discuss how they can better include the SDGs in their work’ underlines Dr Christophe Golay, Senior Research Fellow and Strategic Adviser on ESCR at the Geneva Academy.

Implementing the Recommendations Entailed in Our Publications on ESCR and the SDGs

The seminar also provided an opportunity to discuss the recommendations entailed in our publication No One Will Be Left Behind and in our Research Brief on ESCR and SDGs.

Both publications present the links between human rights and development, lessons learned from the MDGs period, and commitments made in relation to the SDGs and ESCR in the 2030 Agenda. They also draw attention to the need to fully integrate HR into the implementation and monitoring of the SDGs and provide a set of concrete recommendations for states, UN HR mechanisms, OHCHR and the HLPF as to how this might be done.

‘A number of UN Special Rapporteurs received a new mandate from the HRC to include the SDGs in their work, notably in their annual thematic reports and country visits. Mandate holders who participated in this expert seminar welcomed the possibility to use ideas presented in our publications to do so’ stresses Christophe Golay.

Expert Seminar on Economic Social and Cultural Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs

 A Larger Research Project on ESCR and the SDGs

This expert seminar, along with the two publications on ESCR and the SDGs form part of a larger research project on development and ESCR. This project aims to raise awareness about the complementarity of HR and development by analyzing the relationship between ESCR and global development goals, focusing on the role that UN HR mechanisms can play in monitoring the SDGs that seek to realize ESCR.

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