'OPERA' gets animated: bringing ESCR monitoring to life

Effective monitoring is essential for holding governments and other powerful actors to account when their actions deprive ordinary people of their economic and social rights. CESR is committed to supporting human rights defenders around the world in their efforts to carry out this important and often challenging work.

A new animation produced by CESR, in collaboration with our partners at the Asia Pacific Forum (APF), offers a short introduction to the OPERA Framework. The animation presents the four stages of OPERA - Outcomes, Policy Efforts, Resources and Assessment - and thereby explains how it can be used to measure the various dimensions of the obligation to fulfill economic and social rights. By bringing the framework to life in a fun and easy-to-understand way, the animation provides an entry point for those who may be interested in deploying OPERA in their own monitoring work.


The OPERA Framework sets out a step-by-step approach to analyzing legislative, budgetary and administrative measures in the light of relevant legal standards such as 'progressive realization' and 'maximum available resources'. Insodoing, it offers a particularly useful approach for assessing structural and systemic violations of economic and social rights, such as preventable maternal deaths or child malnutrition.

OPERA, which is designed to be readily adaptable to different settings, has already been deployed in a variety of contexts by CESR and by others. Through a joint initiative with the APF, CESR has been supporting the New Zealand Human Rights Commission in using the framework to guide its analysis of recovery efforts in the wake of the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, as well as Malaysia's national human rights institution SUHAKAM, which is using OPERA in its work to ensure that children with learning disabilities enjoy their right to education. A group of young activists in Slovenia have also received training in how to use the OPERA Framework this summer, as they prepare to submit a shadow report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, challenging the harsh austerity policies adopted in their country.

It is CESR's hope that the OPERA Framework will help many more advocates and activists around the world in their efforts to confront economic and social rights deprivations in whatever form they may take. As such, the Center is open to exploring other contexts where the application of OPERA may prove useful in addressing policy failures affecting these rights. For more information, please contact Allison Corkery at acorkery@cesr.org.

* To download the OPERA Framework in pdf format, click here.