Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals – Pursuing Synergies
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If the 2030 Agenda is to be realised in a way that truly does ‘leave no one behind,’ then human rights obligations and commitments must be applied, implemented and protected by all UN member States. Similarly, the full enjoyment of all human rights will only be possible in the context of worldwide progress with the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and Targets, including the eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions.
As the UN Secretary-General himself remarked during his recent address to this Council: 'human rights, including the right to development, lie at the core of the 2030 Agenda;' while - seen the other way around – the 2030 Agenda provides States with “an ideal platform to demonstrate their commitment to all human rights.'
Human rights and the 2030 Agenda
Human rights lie at the core of the 2030 Agenda. The Agenda envisages a world of universal respect for human rights and human dignity, the rule of law, justice, equality and non-discrimination; of respect for race, sex, ethnicity and cultural diversity; and of equal opportunity permitting the full realisation of human potential and contributing to shared prosperity; a just, equitable, tolerant, open and socially inclusive world in which the needs of the most vulnerable are met.
Yet, thus far, the main body responsible for human rights at the UN, the Human Rights Council, has paid only ad hoc attention to understanding and strengthening the human rights pillar’s contribution to the implementation of the SDGs in all countries. That is important, because, simply put, without the support of the international human rights system, and without the strengthened enjoyment of human rights on the ground, it will not be possible to fulfil the promise of the SDGs to ‘leave no one behind.’
Against this background, in late 2016 a group of States, in consultation with interested NGOs, including the Universal Rights Group and the Danish Institute for Human Rights, set up a Group of Friends to consider and guide the UN human rights system’s support for the SDGs.