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Spend more on development and listen to communities most in need, UN human rights expert urges

GENEVA (16 September 2020) – Countries need to put more resources into development both around the world and within their own countries, and need to work with communities most in need, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the right to development said today.

“Development finance was already lagging behind the levels targeted in the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and the COVID-19 pandemic put a further strain, particularly on the budgets of developing countries,” Saad Alfarargi told the Human Rights Council as he presented his annual report

He called on states to increase assistance to developing countries, to institute progressive tax systems to bridge the growing resource gap, and especially to include people in making decisions that will affect them.

“People who benefit from development have voices – and we need to listen, to ensure that we target limited resources where they will matter most,” he said.

“To maximize the impact of limited resources available for development, states and development finance institutions must put communities and individuals at the centre of their decision-making,” Alfarargi said.

“I heard from communities across the globe that they are not being involved as decision makers from the beginning of discussions about whether and which development projects to finance,” he said. On the contrary, development banks, governments and companies often propose projects without the input of local communities.

Alfarargi called on decision-makers to create and budget for consultation processes that will ensure the inclusion of vulnerable groups in order to fulfill the central promise of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to leave no one behind. He cited positive examples of such consultations and urged all governments to provide avenues for meaningful participation for all.


Mr. Saad Alfarargi (Egypt) was designated as the first Special Rapporteur on the right to development by the Human Rights Council in 2017.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council's independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity.

For more information and media requests, please contact: Ms Antoanela Pavlova (+41 22 917 93 31 / apavlova@ohchr.org) or write to srdevelopment@ohchr.org

For media enquiries regarding other UN independent experts, please contact Renato de Souza (+41 22 928 9855 / rrosariodesouza@ohchr.org), Jeremy Laurence (+ 41 22 917 7578 / jlaurence@ohchr.org) and Kitty McKinsey (kmckinsey@ohchr.org)


Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts.

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