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Graphic: A vendor in Jakarta gives thumbs up

NHRIs can play a crucial role to implement global commitments on development and reducing inequality, especially in the face of growing challenges.

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National human rights institutions (NHRIs) have a crucial role to play in implementing the global commitment to promote development and reduce inequality by 2030.

However, there are growing headwinds that can undermine the collective efforts of governments, NHRIs and civil society to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Kieren Fitzpatrick, APF secretariat Director, told an international meeting in Stockholm.

These challenges included "increased inequality, shrinking civic space, attacks on human rights defenders and the general weakening of the multilateral system", he said.

Mr Fitzpatrick noted that genuine progress to give substance to the SDGs happens at the national level and that NHRIs add value by supporting programs to implement and monitor this work in their respective countries.

A female vendor on the streets of Bangkok

In 2015, NHRIs from across the globe adopted the Merida Declaration, which sets out the role of NHRIs to:

  • Provide advice to governments on sustainable development plans
  • Develop and strengthen partnerships for implementation
  • Assist in shaping national indicators and sound data collection systems
  • Monitor progress to implement the SDGs at the local, national, regional and international levels.

"NHRIs are especially well equipped to work for the human rights of the most disadvantaged and marginalised, expressed in the SDGs as a commitment to 'no one left behind'", Mr Fitzpatrick said.

"Their experience in working with minorities enables them to ensure a comprehensive approach to inclusion in implementing the SDGs."

Around 40 people attended the second informal meeting of development partners, hosted by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), in partnership with the Universal Rights Group.

The meeting, held on 10 May 2019, was an opportunity for development partners to share their insights on strengthening national implementation of international human rights obligations, especially in relation to the SDGs.

In addition, the discussions sought to find common ground and messages that could be shared at the 2019 High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development, which will take place in New York from 9-18 July 2019.

Date: 21 May 2019

Image credits

  1. A vendor in Jakarta gives thumbs up - APF/Michael Power
  2. A female vendor on the streets of Bangkok - APF/Michael Power