The right to development – development done right

“I held an atlas in my lap, ran my fingers across the whole world and whispered where does it hurt? The world responded: everywhere, everywhere.” Somali born poet Warsan Shire wrote.

To address critical global challenges, the international community drew up and adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development in 1986.

In an event to mark the 30th anniversary of the Declaration, panellists discussed the vision contained in this document and how it can be used to realise growth with meaningful participation and fair distribution for all the world’s people.

Looking back at the history of the right to development, Craig Mokhiber, a director at the UN Human Rights Office said: “This is really about a struggle that has been raging for the soul of development – and moving away from very narrow notions of development – that once looked only at economic growth, or GDP or benefits to the business sectors or other such narrow ideas – into a very human-centered vision of development.”

Moving forward with the new 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), there was emphasis on their symbiotic relationship with the right to development.

Mihir Kanade, Head of the Department of International Law and Human Rights at the United Nations-mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) in Costa Rica told the forum “The right to development approach to the SDGs is the only way forward if we are to have a safe journey to a sustainable future.”

Participants stressed the need for political will to ensure that both the right to development and the SDGs are realized.
The event titled: “In search of dignity and sustainable development for all” was held to kick start commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development which was adopted on 4 December 1986.

The Declaration makes development an inalienable human right of all individuals and peoples. It sees development as a comprehensive process which aims to improve the well-being of all.

1 March 2016


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