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Development agenda at risk unless States honour political and financial commitments, UN experts warn

Development at risk

02 December 2016

GENEVA (2 December 2016) – Governments must move from rhetoric to action and urgently honour their political and financial commitments to development, a group of United Nations human rights experts has said in a joint statement* marking the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Right to Development by the UN General Assembly, on Sunday 4 December.

Without fresh commitment and finance, the ground-breaking Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will not be met by their target date of 2030, the experts warn. “The SDGs will remain empty promises without proper political and financial commitment, regulation, management, and related safeguards.”

“The test now is whether governments will go beyond rhetoric and act on promises to leave no one behind.” The experts said the benefits of development had so far not been fairly distributed across the world, leaving millions of people lacking basic rights to food, water, sanitation, health, education, housing and gender equality.

“They have been deprived of their economic, social, political, civil and cultural rights.  The progress made so far remains both insufficient and unequal,” the experts noted.
They said extreme poverty and growing inequality, exacerbated by under-regulated globalization, had fuelled crises and conflicts with far-reaching consequences.

Transparency, effective participation and accountability at national and international levels—all elements of a human rights based approach to development—were crucial to developing real partnerships to deliver change, they stressed.

The UN experts urged action on global financial issues, governance and corruption, to remove obstacles to the right to development.

“In 2030, we are determined to celebrate the 44th anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development as the first generation to have left no one behind,” the statement said.

“This need not be an elusive dream - but can be realized as the legitimate right of all humanity - awaiting only our collective will and progressive action,” the UN human rights experts underscored.


(*) Read the full statement:

This statement has been made jointly by:
-Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Mr. Dainius Pûras

 - Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Ms. Hilal Elver

- Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Ms. Koumbou Boly Barry

- Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, Mr. John Knox 

- Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, Mr. Idriss Jazairy

- Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity, Ms. Virginia Dandan

- Independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Mr. Alfred De Zayas

- Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, Mr. Dante Pesce

- Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice, Ms. Alda Facio (Chairperson)

- Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, Mr. Ricardo A. Sunga III.

- Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, Mr. Juan Bohoslavsky

- Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Ms. Rita Izsák-Ndiaye

- Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Ms. Catalina Devandas Aguilar

- Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Ms. Cecilia Jimenez-Damary

- Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Mr. Vitit Muntarbhorn

- Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, Ms. Rosa Kornfeld-Matte

The Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts 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 organization and serve in their individual capacity. Learn more, log on to:

Read the Declaration on the Right to Development:

For more information and media requests, please contact Ms. Yaye Ba (+41 22 917 9210 / [email protected])

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