On 2-3 November 2011, The Center for Economic and Social Rights co-hosted an expert consultation in Geneva with the MDG Section of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The meeting brought together a diverse group of leading human rights and development practioners, academics, civil society leaders and development economists to discuss lessons learnt from the MDG experience and how human rights accountability can be strengthened in development with an eye to the post-2015 agenda.
The meeting sought to receive feedback on questions such as where the main accountability gaps in the MDG framework can be found; justifications, both instrumental and intrinsic, for arguing why greater human rights accountability is needed; and the implications of shifting and emerging global players in international development. Discussions also addressed enabling conditions for the effectiveness of various accountability mechanisms and the interplay between them; how an emerging body of tools and methodologies for monitoring ESCR can be used to complement accountability frameworks; and how the post-2015 agenda should be devised, including thinking about its objectives, content, measurability and process.
This valuable dialogue will feed into a forthcoming CESR/OHCHR advocacy publication provisionally entitled “The Millennium Development Goals: Who's Accountable?” The future publication seeks to position human rights in policy debates and international negotiations leading towards the 2013 Special Event on the MDGs and the 2015 end-date, with a particular focus on accountability. It will also serve as a tool for development and human rights advocates in this regard.
As debate gets underway over what sort of international development framework should replace the MDG commitments after 2015, CESR has joined forces with the OHCHR to put the spotlight on human rights accountability as the biggest shortfall in the MDGs process. The MDGs, and any successor to it, must address this accountability deficit.