2016 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the declaration. But even today, many children, women and men — the subjects of development — live in extreme distress to satisfy their claims to live in dignity, freedom and equal opportunity. Worsening poverty deficits, food shortages, climate change, global financial crises, corruption and misappropriation of public funds, armed conflicts, rising unemployment and other pressing challenges constitute a collective failure in the realization of the right to development. And this failure, in turn, has a direct impact on the realization of a multitude of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Recent statements by senior UN officials give a different perspective on the implementation of human rights by the SDGs. Second, not all disadvantaged groups are equally recognized in the SDGs. This inequality is the result of a long and complex process of negotiation among UN Member States. For example, indigenous issues are not as well recognized as many would have hoped, while migration issues are relatively widely recognized. Broad: In addition to a large number of social, economic and environmental goals, the 2030 Agenda promises “more peaceful, just and inclusive societies, free from fear and violence”, with particular attention to democratic governance, the rule of law, access to justice and personal security (Goal 16) and an enabling international environment (within Goal 17 and across the framework). It therefore addresses issues relating to all human rights, including economic, civil, cultural, political, social and the right to development. In recent years, many parties within the United Nations have gradually described how the rule of law and human rights are essential to achieving and maintaining peace and achieving the vision that is now set out in the Sustainable Development Goals. This policy update outlines four concerns or “issues” in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development from the perspective of human rights defenders and compares monitoring and review agreements in the UN human rights system with those currently implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Monitoring and reviewing the human rights system is seen as an iterative means of implementation, in which a mix of public reporting, stakeholder input and expert review provides a degree of accountability and helps set the direction for governments and businesses to improve human rights performance. The counter-reaction to human rights as an ethical framework for global governance has perhaps never been more evident. But at no time since the last world war has the need for such a framework been so acute. Human rights – controversial, restricted and criticised, but collectively supported and constantly developed – are the next ones we have. While anchoring the SDGs in human rights was a priority for feminist, indigenous, disability rights and other civil society activists around the world, it is up to them to redefine the goal of sustainable development as a search for material equality, justice and accountability. This policy update outlines four concerns or “issues” in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development from the perspective of human rights defenders and compares monitoring and review agreements in the UN human rights system with those currently implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). If human rights are to help the SDGs “change our world”, three fundamental steps are needed to disrupt the selectivity and hypocrisy that still surround the subject in the field of global development governance. . . .