Putting human rights into practice through development: the Ecuadorian experience

Human rights and development share a common objective: to improve people’s well-being. While economic strategies prioritize growth, this is an insufficient condition for human development. Human rights protect the freedom and equality of all individuals and bring principles of accountability and social justice to the development process.

Ecuadorian children © SENPLADES By incorporating human rights principles into national development strategies, Governments are more likely to be successful in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - a set of 8 goals to reduce global poverty and improve living standards - and in realizing the UN Charter’s vision of a more equal and just world.

During a summit on the MDGs in September 2010, UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay offered the support of her Office to countries “willing to integrate human rights into their development and cooperation policies.” She said it was her intention to bring the findings from such country experiences to the attention of a “Special Event” on the MDGs in 2013. “This,” she added “will help identify success factors towards achieving the MDGs.”   

In 2010 the Government of Ecuador requested assistance from the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) in integrating human rights principles and approaches into development planning. Collaboration between the Government of Ecuador and  OHCHR resulted in the publication in May 2011 of a Guía de Formulación de Politícas Públicas Sectoriales, a guide for the formulation of sectoral policies.

Issued by the National Secretariat for Development and Planning of Ecuador, the guide represents the first in a series of efforts by the Government, with OHCHR’s assistance, to ensure that human rights will contribute to the vision of Buen Vivir, or good living.

Enshrined in the Ecuadorian Constitution adopted in 2008, the vision of Buen Vivir is based on the principle that there is no real development without the full enjoyment of human rights by all.

As defined in the Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador, the State, which embodies the principles of human rights and justice, has to design and implement public policies that ensure the full enjoyment by all of all the rights set forth in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The newly issued guide, which will be piloted in June in the Water and Sanitation sector with the assistance of OHCHR,  has been made available as a working document to support the formulation of sectoral policies by all Ministries and Secretariats of the Republic of Ecuador. The guide is accessible through the following link:  http://www.senplades.gov.ec/web/senplades-portal/guia-politicas-publicas.

31 May 2010