Human rights in a reformed UN

This project will allow URG to continue its pioneering work on UN support for and follow-up to the domestic implementation of universal human rights norms, including via reform of the Council’s work under agenda item 10 and the Oslo+ process; and how to link this with the Secretary-General’s ongoing reform of the UN’s security pillar and development system. Regarding the security pillar, this will mean a continued URG focus on the operationalisation of the Council’s prevention mandate (via the process begun with resolution 38/18), and the placing of that role within the Secretary-General’s wider prevention agenda. Regarding the development system (continuing URG’s work on ‘human rights and the SDGs’ with Denmark), it will mean scrutinising what reforms to the UN Resident Coordinator system, UN Country Teams, and UN Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAFs) – now transformed into UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks (UNSDCFs) – mean for human rights. Linked with this, URG will continue to work with all development partners (UN, bilateral donors, and the World Bank) to reorientate ODA towards support for the implementation of States’ human rights obligations and commitments (i.e. the Oslo+ process). Finally, all of these points have implications for ‘financing for human rights.’ If we accept that the human rights system must necessarily play a crucial role in international efforts to achieve the SDGs ‘leaving no one behind,’ and to prevent emerging crises and violent conflicts, then should the UN not ‘invest’ more in its human rights pillar?

URG will continue its current workstreams on ‘item 10 reform;’ on mobilising international development partners behind human rights implementation and impact; on the prevention of human rights violations and crises; and on ‘human rights and the SDGs.’ In addition, it will build on its recent report presenting the economic or business case for a human rights-centred approach to prevention, by analysing the opportunities and obstacles to enhancing UN and wider international investments in human rights – as a cost-effective means of powering sustainable development and preventing violent conflict. This will include an analysis of the work and decisions of the ACABQ and the 5th Committee of the GA.

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