By DELIA PAUL
14 September 2017: Saad Alfarargi, Special Rapporteur on the right to development, delivered his first report to the UN Human Rights Council. The report highlights the disproportionate impact of global pandemics, corruption, the energy and climate crisis, and other adverse global trends on the world’s poor and those living in Africa, least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS).
Alfarargi (Egypt) was appointed during the February-March 2017 session of the Human Rights Council. He is the first person to hold the post of Special Rapporteur on the right to development. In his first report to the Council, he laments that many people are not even aware that such a right exists, although the UN adopted the Declaration on the Right to Development more than 30 years ago. The Special Rapporteur also observes that the right to development has become politicized, with the international community failing to agree on what the right to development means or how to measure progress towards this right.
The report outlines the Special Rapporteur’s preliminary views, highlights implementation challenges and presents a preliminary strategy that will inform his work, including his approach to stakeholder engagement. Key challenges addressed in the report include politicization of the issue, lack of engagement in promoting, protecting and fulfilling this right, and adverse global trends, such as the energy and climate crisis, the increasing number of global disasters, corruption and illicit financial flows.
In his report, Alfarargi calls on development agencies to place the right to development at the center of their work. He emphasizes that the recent adoption of global agreements on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), climate, financing for development, and disaster risk reduction (DRR) means that ‘the building blocks for change’ are available.
The UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration in its resolution 41/128 of 4 December 1986. The 10 articles in the Declaration represent a wide range of intentions, including to bring about complete disarmament in the interests of strengthening international peace and security. The Declaration encourages states to undertake ‘all necessary measures’ for people to realize the right to development, including through providing equality of opportunity and eradicating all social injustices.
Published on IISD on September 19, 2017.