Implementing the Right to Development

13th Intergovernmental Working Group on Right to Development-7-11 May 2012

Inputs for oral statement by:

Associazione Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII
Dominicans for Justice and Peace (Order of Preachers)
OIDEL
Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice
VIDES International

Thank you, Madam President.

I am taking the floor on behalf of the Associazione Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII, Dominicans for  Justice and Peace  (Order of Preachers), OIDEL, Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice, and VIDES International. Our Organizations are part of the working group on Right to Development within the Forum of Catholic-Inspired NGOs-Geneva. We have sent a written contribution for the consultation on the criteria and sub-criteria for the implementation of the Right to development.

First of all, we would like to re-affirm that:

ñ The concept of development found in the Declaration of RTD and agreed upon at the 1995 Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development, is one that is political, economic, cultural, ethical and spiritual. Development of individuals and peoples encompasses all aspects of human life, including the spiritual and religious dimensions. Development cannot be reduced just to economic growth and material wealth.

ñ The Right to Development is about the well being of individuals and peoples in terms of protection, respect and fulfilment of not only the economic, social and cultural rights but also the civil and political rights.

ñ The logic of the right to Development as expressed in the Declaration itself is clear:

  • people centred development
  • ensuring active and meaningful participation
  • non-discrimination
  • fairly distributing the benefits of development
  • respecting the right of self-determination, and sovereignty over natural resources
  • informing all processes that advance other civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

Moreover, RTD is a holistic human right of a particular nature, added value and increasing relevance.

ñ The Right to Development expresses at the maximum the values of the United Nations Charter by linking in itself the three pillars of peace and security, development and human rights.

ñ The Declaration on Right to Development remains the principal reference document for the implementation of the RTD; all the other past and future resolutions and further documents are complimentary but not substitutive of the Declaration.

ñ Criteria and sub-criteria should address the structural imbalances and remove the obstacles to the realisation of an enabling international and national environment for the implementation of RTD.

ñ As Madame Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, rightly said in her opening statement of the 12th session of the Working Group on RTD,  “ the politicisation, polarisation and stubborn impasse in the intergovernmental debate on the right to development must end. It is imperative to find principled common ground through greater political consensus and more political will”. The starting point for the consensus must be the Declaration itself.

ñ We welcome the recently issued Secretary General's Draft Strategic framework for the period 2014-2015, Programme 20, Human Rights that will be considered by the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC) at its 52nd  session this June.

ñ We highly appreciate the efforts of the Office of the High Commissioner to mainstream the Right to Development in the UN bodies and agencies.

ñ The implementation of the Right to Development is a very important and necessary move to meet the present and future challenges faced by humanity today that include, among others, climate change, financial and economic turmoil, globalisation, migration, the risk to loose the concept of human dignity, the huge amount of people living in extreme poverty and the raising of inequalities within and between countries.

ñ The implementation of the Right to Development can bring a new human face to the phenomenon of globalisation by creating opportunities for all and by limiting its negative effects. In this regard, we welcome the decision taken during  the 19th regular session of the HRC with resolution A/HRC/RES/19/24 to focus during the next Social Forum on the theme “ People centred Development and Globalisation”.

ñ The current global financial crisis amply demonstrates the negative as well the positive impact of economic interdependence. It also demonstrates the failure of governments to respect and protect individuals and people's RTD.

ñ Even if it remains a primary responsibility of a State to guarantee, within its own possibilities, the realization of the Right to Development to its citizens, and to remove obstacles to development due to the violation of human rights, the international community must support the development process, especially in the poorest countries and remove the structural economic, financial and political obstacles that  exist at the international level.

ñ At the global level, a commitment to effective international cooperation and solidarity between States is very much needed and indispensable. This includes, among others, fair aid, trade, investment, debt cancellation, transfer of technology, intellectual property and access to medicines, financing for development, institutional reform, climate change responses as well as disarmament and reduction of military expenditure in favour of social and development policies.

ñ The recognition of the right to international solidarity will further contribute to the implementation of the right to development by affirming the legitimacy of extraterritorial obligations and  international cooperation.

ñ The principle of subsidiarity can be seen as a cross-cutting criterion for the creation of an enabling environment to facilitate fulfilment of the right to development and as the dividing line between national and international responsibilities.

ñ Governments must, as an immediate priority, eliminate the gap between their commitments and the delivery of ODA, in order to keep the promise of the Millennium Declaration. MDG8, Global partnership for Development, is in fact crucial to achieve all the other MDGs.

ñ Bearing in mind that, since 1986, year of the Declaration of the RTD, the world has changed dramatically, we agree with some experts in saying that there is need of a new political dynamic, and a new set of actors and agendas for the implementation of RTD and that issues of institutions and rules in a wide variety of areas is today more important than the transfer of capital through official channels.

ñ While supporting the idea of a legally binding document on the Right to Development, we believe that public policies at national and international level are the principal means for the implementation of the Right to Development.

Finally, Mr. Ban-ki Moon, the UN Secretary General, said in his speech for the 25th anniversary of the Declaration of the Right to Development “ Today we need more than a meeting-we need a meeting of the minds.” We hope that this 13th session of the Working Group will be truly a meeting of the minds for the hope and well-being of billions of people whose  life and respect of human rights depend on the implementation of the right to development.

For more information:

fr. Olivier Poquillon o.p.
Permanent Delegate of the Dominican Order to the United Nations
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