On November 28th, CESR Executive Director Ignacio Saiz spoke alongside the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Philip Alston, at a breakfast dialogue on "Achieving sustainable development while protecting human rights," hosted by the Bahá'í International Community, International Movement ATD Fourth World and Regions Refocus at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York.
The dialogue, which involved representatives of members states, UN agencies and civil society organizations, focused on the importance of aligning efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with existing human rights commitments, and the challenges of doing so in a global context characterized by growing economic inequality, widespread austerity, rampant tax abuse and weakened multilateralism.
Both speakers as well as many of the participants highlighted the significance of the unprecedented commitment to reducing inequalities of all kinds, including economic inequality, and spoke of the need to ensure a human rights approach to "leaving no one behind" in SDG implementation. The event took place on the eve of Philip Alston's official visit to the US.
As a universal agenda applicable to high and middle income countries as well as "developing" states, the SDG commitments provide a complementary framework of international commitments for addressing poverty and inequality in wealthy countries such as the US, one of the few countries in the world which is not party to key international treaties on economic, social and cultural rights.