The Human Rights Based Approach to Development Cooperation Towards a Common Understanding Among UN Agencies


Common Understanding among UN agencies on Human Rights Based Approach to Development Cooperation

The Human Rights-Based Approach to Development Cooperation Towards a Common Understanding Among UN Agencies

 

The United Nations is founded on the principles of peace, justice, freedom and human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes human rights as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace. The  unanimously adopted Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action states that democracy, development, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. In the UN Programme for Reform that was launched in 1997, the Secretary-General called on all entities of the UN system to mainstream human rights into their various activities and programmes within the framework of their respective mandates.

Since then a number of UN agencies have adopted a human rights-based approach to their development cooperation and have gained experiences in its operationalization. But each agency has tended to have its own interpretation of approach and how it should be operationalized. However, UN interagency collaboration at global and regional levels, and especially at the country level in relation to the CCA and UNDAF processes, requires a common understanding of this approach and its implications for development programming. What follows is an attempt to arrive at such an understanding on the basis of those aspects of the human rights-based approach that are common to the policy and practice of the UN bodies that participated in the Interagency Workshop on a Human Rights Based Approach in the context of UN reform 3-5 May, 2003.

This Statement of Common Understanding specifically refers to a human rights-based approach to the development cooperation and development programming by UN agencies.