As the sixth session of the Working Group on the Right to Development opens, Franciscans International welcomes the forthcoming progress on this important issue following the meeting of the High-Level Task Force.
Although frustrations have often characterized negotiations on the right to
development, Franciscans International recognizes the significant contributions
of experts, agency representatives and States during the Task Force in order
to ensure a promising session of the Working Group and infusing the debate
on the right to development with a new focus on implementation.
Mr. Chairman, we would like to thank you for your commitment and leadership during the High-Level Task Force and throughout the year. We would also like to thank the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on their support of the High Level Task Force, their extensive report, and their many activities with regard to the implementation on the right to development. We have also been pleased to note that several agencies sent distinguished representatives who provided significant contributions for the duration of the Task Force.
As a non-governmental organization, our commitment to the Right to development is manifested in working for and with the most vulnerable and oppressed peoples - those whose right to development is continually violated. In this regard, overcoming the obstacles and challenges to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as well as improving Social Impact Assessment, will ultimately lead to the progressive realization of rights that States are committed to protecting and promoting - including the right to development.
We welcome the acknowledgement of the MDGs and the Right to Development, as mutually beneficial and reciprocal concepts that together give greater impetus to relevant benchmarks toward development and a framework for accountability to international human rights.
We also support the Task Force's observation that MDGs represent the highest political commitment of states and recognize Millennium Declaration, in which States committed themselves to, "spare no effort to promote democracy and strengthen the rule of law, as well as respect for all internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development".
Franciscans International therefore urges the Working Group to give consideration to the following points:
1. The progress and research of the eight reports of the Independent Expert and the Report of the High-Level Task Force should continue to be studied in order to devise ways in which the right to development can be implemented and operationalized.
2. Franciscans International encourages the Working Group to develop a standard process of collecting and distributing best practices in development policy and international cooperation. Best practices should be highlighted which allow individuals to take ownership of their own development process. Participation, one of the key principles of the right to development, should continue to be enshrined and furthered.
3. Franciscans International supports the recommendation of the Task-Force to develop criteria for monitoring MDG 8 on a global partnership for development, but would like to stress that assessments of development assistance must not only reflect a financial level, but also the quality of assistance as demonstrated through reflecting participation in process and outcome as well as impact sustainability.
4. Although the primary responsibility rests on States to promote, protect and implement the Right to Development, the principles of transparency, equality, participation, accountability and non-discrimination must also apply, as a corollary, to international institutions and frameworks, which lay the broader base for opportunities for economic expansion and poverty relief. Trade and multilateral development institutions should continue to demonstrate their commitment and responsibility to improving the general welfare and incorporating human rights and the principles of the right to development into policies and assessments
5. Lastly, we encourage the Working Group to examine the necessary empowerment and participation of women, indigenous and other vulnerable groups in the formulation of development policy, while reflecting how a denial of the right to development causes the root problems of global phenomena such as human trafficking, irregular migration, forced labour and the spread of global disease.
We hope that in this session, the Working Group will effectively remember that the individual, whose human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent, should be at the centre of the realization of the right to development and of any development process.