Right to Development in International Development Cooperation - Thematic study by the Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development
22 September 2025
International development cooperation has emerged as one of the most important means for promoting human rights and sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development identifies a variety of mechanisms through which development cooperation between States can help realize the Sustainable Development Goals everywhere.
While traditional development cooperation focused on North-South cooperation, South-South and triangular cooperation have also emerged as potent supplements to the former. These multidimensional practices have generated significant knowledge and experiences among partner countries on what works and what does not in terms of realizing the overall objectives of promoting sustainable development and human rights. There is no doubt that development cooperation in all forms, if done right, can and does contribute to the realization of the right to development.
At the same time, development cooperation practices have not necessarily mainstreamed the normative principles of the right to development in a systematic manner across all their processes, especially that development itself is a human right of all individuals and peoples, and that this entails a duty on States to cooperate.
There is also a lack of clarity on what exactly such mainstreaming means for the obligations of States engaged in development cooperation leading to lack of progress in its operationalization.
In this context, this study seeks to explore how the normative framework of the right to development can be mainstreamed and operationalized in the different forms of development cooperation practices. It will identify best practices across North-South, South-South and Triangular cooperation and recommend measures to further enhance them by mainstreaming the right to development.
Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development
Mr. Mihir KANADE (India)