Who Will Be Accountable? Human Rights and the Post-2015 Development Agenda

May 22nd, 2013

“Who Will Be Accountable? Human Rights and the Post-2015 Development Agenda” can be accessed in pdf format in English here and in Spanish here. A summary of the document is also available in English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Russian and Arabic.

The coming months will have a pivotal impact on the future of sustainable development worldwide. With debate over a new development agenda to replace the Millennium Development Goals gathering pace, an important new publication produced jointly by CESR and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights explains that proper incorporation of accountability will be fundamental to the framework’s success.

“Who Will Be Accountable? Human Rights and the Post-2015 Development Agenda” explains that embedding accountability into the very DNA of the post-2015 sustainable development architecture will be critical to ensure the new plan ensures political commitments made at the international level actually result in policy changes on the ground. The publication examines accountability gaps that have impeded realization of global and national development goals thus far. It highlights shortcomings in the accountability of actors within, above and beyond the state, including the responsibilities of wealthier states, international institutions and the private sector to ensure their policies and practices do not undermine human development and the fulfillment of human rights. It also explains how these shortcomings can be overcome in the design of a new set of post-2015 goals by aligning these more closely with international human rights standards.

Accountability mechanisms anchored in the human rights framework help to create the conditions in which people experiencing deprivation can meaningfully participate in, review and challenge decisions affecting their lives. Accountability mechanisms have a corrective function, making it possible to address individual or collective grievances, and sanction wrongdoing by the individuals and institutions responsible. But they also have a preventive function, helping to determine which aspects of policy or service delivery are working, so they can be built on, and which aspects need to be adjusted.

The High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Agenda will deliver its report to the United Nations Secretary General at the end of this month, as will the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. These in turn will provide recommendations to the UN Secretary General in the lead-up to the 2013 General Assembly, at which point the international community will hammer out the parameters of the new plan. Given that weak accountability was one of the key factors impeding progress towards the current MDGs, it is imperative that the lessons of the past be learned. As such, this new publication offers a timely exploration of how best to incorporate accountability into the new development framework.

For more on CESR's work on the future development agenda, click here.