About the right to development

The right to development is the right of every human being to participate in, to contribute to, and to benefit from economic, social, cultural and political development. The right to development is a right that expands the capabilities (freedom to achieve) and choices of the individual. It provides a comprehensive approach to the realisation of human rights by according attention to structures, processes and outcomes; recognising the entitlements of individuals as well as collectives including future generations. It puts equity, equality and justice as primary determinants of development, and promotes the full realisation of fundamental freedoms.

While the discussions on the right to development have long been framed within the paradigm of the North-South divide, globalisation and global economic crisis have highlighted that the right to development is relevant to all countries regardless of their level of development.

In fact, in countries where human rights records have been generally positive, mounting inequalities and social precariousness have jeopardised the realisation of the right to development for many. Globalisation has been identified as the paradox of growing wealth accompanied by growing inequality, both a force of inclusion and exclusion.

Business as usual will not be sufficient to achieve progress. The right to development cannot remain a declaration of good intent and the mere subject of long-lasting political debates. The Special Rapporteur considers that there is an urgent need to reinvigorate the advocacy for the effective implementation of the right to development.

In 2015, a series of consensual international commitments reasserted the right to development including the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the Paris Agreement on climate change. These new commitments have provided a momentum for the protection, promotion and fulfilment of the right to development at national and international levels.