Integrating human rights in the work of the United Nations system
The outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012, entitled “The future we want” (General Assembly resolution 66/288, annex) reaffirmed the importance of respect for human rights for sustainable development, peace and security and the rule of law. Building on the progress made in recent years in mainstreaming human rights into development work, efforts to integrate human rights into the work of the United Nations system culminated, in 2013, in “Rights up front”, an initiative by the Secretary-General to renew the commitment of the United Nations to safeguard human rights around the world. In response, CEB, through its subsidiary mechanisms the High-level Committee on Programmes and the United Nations Development Group, enhanced its efforts to foster policy coherence in the area of human rights. The Board reaffirmed its commitment to the human rights principles of the United Nations, as established in the Charter of the United Nations and codified in the human rights conventions and declaration adopted under United Nations auspices, and in this context, endorsed the Secretary-General’s statement of 22 November 2013, entitled “Renewing our commitment to the peoples and purposes of the United Nations”.
The progress of United Nations reforms in the areas of human rights and development opened new windows of opportunity to engage and support Member States in fulfilling their human rights commitments and national development goals. Supporting the mutually reinforcing linkages between development, peace and security, and human rights, the United Nations Development Group fostered policy coherence and coordination in human rights mainstreaming and accelerated implementation of key strategies to strengthen normative and operational linkages within the United Nations system, including through deploying human rights advisers to resident coordinator offices, strengthening guidance, and initiating work on a monitoring and evaluation framework for measuring United Nations country team performance with regard to human rights mainstreaming. The United Nations Development Group also committed to driving implementation of the “Rights up front” action plan by instructing United Nations country teams to take forward all those elements of the initiative that are relevant to their particular country contexts.
At the country level, United Nations country teams directed efforts towards assisting an increasing number of Member States requesting capacity development support on human rights to engage with United Nations human rights mechanisms, including the universal periodic review of the Human Rights Council, and to mainstream international human rights standards and obligations in national development strategies and processes.
Drawing on successful United Nations country team work, the United Nations Development Group issued a best practice publication, Mainstreaming Human Rights in Development: Stories from the Field, to ensure the sharing of technical information, knowledge and expertise as an important component of the United Nations Development Group strategic vision for enhancing mainstreaming of human rights at the country level and demonstrating the potential of this work for advancing sustainable development.