Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Q1. How have the COVID-19 pandemic and the current food, energy and financing crises changed the priorities of your organization? 

COVID-19 pandemic 

While OHCHR’s priorities have remained valid also in the context of the global pandemic, we have adjusted certain activities or deliverables, in consultation with Member States when appropriate. Human rights must be placed at the centre of the COVID-19 recovery and response efforts, so no one is left behind. OHCHR developed and is implementing the UN Human Rights COVID-19 strategy 2021-2022, which aims to respond to the needs of the most affected populations and places them at the heart of recovery efforts. To this end, the strategy outlines the following four focus areas: 

  • Enhanced engagement on vaccines, social protection, health, and other economic, social, and cultural rights 
  • Building Back Better: Integrating human rights into recovery efforts, including macroeconomic policies and structural reform 
  • Monitoring, reporting, and analyzing COVID-19 impacts and government actions and responses 
  • Human Rights Mechanisms contributions to COVID-19 response and recovery 

The global pandemic has led to extraordinary challenges in our world. It has exposed a generation of underinvestment in public health systems, with devastating results for humanity, and has uncovered the many negative human rights impacts that result from growing inequality. For that reason, UN Human Rights extended Management Plan 2022-2023 (OMP) sharpened its focus on inequality. OMP notes that the global pandemic brought new immediacy to the promise of human rights as COVID-19 has not only reshaped our daily lives, it has presented a clear and urgent human rights challenge, which warrants rigorous scrutiny of states of emergency and related measures and their impacts, a revitalized appreciation of the right to health, a renewed focus on the need for universal social protection, and addressing negative human rights impacts of inequality exposed by the global pandemic. 

In planning our activities and formulating our results, we have built on the lessons from last year, for example by strengthening support to online meetings; building on the enhanced partnerships for interagency collaboration and responding to the demand for more data to respond to the COVID-19 recovery. 

Good examples include: 

  • The organization of UN human rights mechanism’s public meetings in hybrid format and online consultations have allowed for engagement with a wider constituency. During the preparation of the HC’s report on racial justice and equality, OHCHR held 23 virtual consultations with over 340 persons, mostly people of African descent. This has now been institutionalized through General Assembly resolution 47/21 that includes provisions for OHCHR to hold 10 virtual consultations with interpretation annually, in addition to in-person missions. This will ensure that OHCHR maintains its methodological approach of active listening to and interactive dialogue with People of African Descent, enabling the work to be anchored in their lived experiences. 
  • The inability to undertake international travel led to a partial re-design of the Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Fellowship programe, through the placement of Senior Minority and Indigenous Fellows in UN field presences. Extending the programme to in-country presences has been seen as highly successful. 
  • Treaty bodies drew some lessons from the COVID-19 experience to enhance their work. For example, the regional teams of the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT) continue meeting online between sessions to discuss issues pertinent to the region. The SPT Bureau continues to regularly meet online and an online platform allows the SPT to be in a regular contact with the national preventive mechanisms by organizing bilateral or global meetings with them. 

See also Our COVID-19 response: Examples of UN Human Rights actions 

Climate, food, energy, and finance crises 

OHCHR continued focusing attention on the need to ensure greater recognition of economic, social, and cultural rights, the right to development and the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment throughout its work. 

The ramifications of the war in Ukraine, leading to an alarming situation for many countries around the world, affecting access to food, health, housing, and social protection, with significant negative implications for the most vulnerable people and countries resulted in strengthened advocacy to highlight the human rights dimension of the impact of the rising prices to safeguard humanitarian as well as human rights principles. Furthermore, climate-related disasters have been increasingly drivers of risks and vulnerability, human rights abuses and violations, disrupting livelihoods, and worsening global public health, food and water insecurity. 

This has been done through statements delivered by the High Commissioner, as well as by the Office advocating for strengthened international cooperation and for revising the global trade regime under the World Trade Organization (see for example here). UN Human Rights has made the link between the current crises and negative impacts on human rights, with significant negative implications for the most vulnerable people and countries as well as significant impacts on sustainability. OHCHR engaged with the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) bringing in human rights considerations to the attention of States negotiating food security policies. Advocacy focused on issues related to gender, youth, and equitable access to land; the root causes of food insecurity, including discriminatory legal and policy structures. OHCHR also supported OCHA and IASC to develop advocacy messages on the global humanitarian impacts of rising food, fertilizer, and fuel prices. 

Specifically on the right to adequate food in the context of the cost-of-living crisis, OHCHR developed an internal strategy to bolster action, in 2023, at the global level and through the Office’s in-country work with the following objectives: 

  • To promote ringfencing of national budgets to ensure that essential goods and services, including adequate food, are universally accessible, as an antidote to social unrest and violence 
  • To promote a shift towards sustainable food systems by having States support small-scale farmers and fishers, especially women, with financial aid, access to credit, land, seeds, natural resources and technology to support their livelihood and ensure local and sustainable food production. 
  • To encourage States to strengthen universal social protection systems to ensure affordability of food and promote social cohesion 

At the global level, priority will be given to engagement with CFS, while in-country work (in addition to responding to requests for support received) will focus on supporting (1) OHCHR Regional Office in Bangkok in their work with FAO, the Danish Institute for Human Rights and One Ocean Hub, to raise awareness and promote measures for 

the protection of the rights of small-scale fishers in the context of climate change with a focus on the right to food; and (2) supporting the OHCHR field office in Karamoja, Uganda, in monitoring violations of the right to food and engage with authorities in designing social protection schemes that tackle malnutrition and hunger. 

Lastly, OHCHR published key initial findings on human rights and COVID-19 response measures in the context of climate finance, putting forward concrete recommendations for policymakers, development cooperation actors, climate funds, public international financial institutions, and civil society. 


Q2. How has your organization supported Member States to accelerate their recovery from COVID-19 and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda? How has your organization cooperated with other UN system organizations in these efforts to achieve coherence and synergies?

OHCHR works with Member States and other stakeholders in ensuring that COVID-19 recovery and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda contribute to fulfilling all human rights for all, with a particular focus on those at risk of being left behind and those furthest behind. Below examples demonstrate examples of UN Human Rights approach, grounded in international human rights norms and standards being applied at the guardrails in policy-making and implementation, placing people and their human rights at the centre of sustainable development and pandemic recovery efforts.

Please highlight up to three high-impact initiatives, especially those that address interlinkages among the SDGs and involves interagency collaboration. Concrete initiatives might be selected to be spotlighted during relevant intergovernmental meetings.

Initiative OHCHR Surge Initiative (SI)
Partners Varied and dependent on the country, at a minimum UNCTs and RCOs
Relevant SDGs All SDGs
Member States benefiting from the initiative Albania, Bahrain, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India, Iran, Jordan, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, State of Palestine, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia
Description Above is a list of countries where OHCHR Surge Initiative has engaged in support of Member States or the UN system in 2022. The SI aims to fill a long-standing gap in the UN system on linking human rights with economics. This is done by translating human rights standards and recommendations of UN Human Rights Mechanisms on ESCR into country-specialized advice and policy options for building back better and accelerating delivery on the 2030 Agenda. Within this optic, the SI contributes to strengthening human rights integration in joint UN advocacy, planning and programming processes, including to Common Country Analyses and UN Sustainable Development Country Frameworks. In addition to engaging with the UNSDCF/CCA processes, SI provides specialized and contextual research, advice, and analysis so that macroeconomics policies operationalize economic and social rights, thereby furthering the goals of the 2030 Agenda. SI also advises on medium to long-term economic policies by focusing on fiscal space for social spending and human rights-based budgeting, taxation and inequalities, human rights impact of economic reforms, International Financial Institutions’ conditionalities and austerity policies. For instance, in the first 9 months of 2022, the Surge Team supported UN field presences in 44 CCA and/or UNSDCF processes, 1 National Development Plan, and provided seeding funds for projects within the scope of its mandate in 12 countries.


Initiative Human rights in the new pandemics instrument
Partners -
Relevant SDGs 3, 5, 10 
Member States benefiting from the initiative All member States
Description A set of key messages on ensuring that the pandemics treaty currently being negotiated under the auspices of the World Health Assembly integrates the right to participation, gender equality, non-discrimination, human rights-based data collection, universal, equitable and non-discriminatory access to vaccines, universal health coverage, the protection of economic, social and cultural rights, among other human rights norms and standards.


Initiative Principles and policy guidance on children’s rights to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment in the ASEAN region
Relevant SDGs SDG 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 16, 17
Member States benefiting from the initiative ASEAN countries
Description UN Human Rights cooperated with UNICEF and UNEP to launch the Principles and policy guidance on children’s rights to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment in the ASEAN region. The document is the result of an 18-month collaboration between the three UN agencies and child, youth and adult experts from the ASEAN region. It sets out fundamental principles for realizing the right of the child to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment and for putting the best interests of the child at the forefront of those efforts. It provides essential policy guidance for governments, civil society, businesses, the media and children to implement these principles. A child-friendly version for youth aged 14-18 years was also developed.


Q3. Has your organization published or is it planning to publish any analytical work or guidance note or toolkits to guide and support recovery efforts from COVID-19 while advancing full implementation of SDGs at national, regional and global levels? 

See three selected resources below. For further information, visit

Please select up to three high-impact resources to highlight, especially those that address interlinkages among the SDGs. Selected resources will be highlighted to inform relevant intergovernmental meetings.

Resource Human Rights-Based Analysis of Kenya Budget 2021-2022
Publishing entity/entities OHCHR
Relevant SDGs 1, 3, 4, 6, 10
Target audience National authorities, UNCT, NHRI and CSOs
Description In Kenya, OHCHR Surge Initiative supported the work of the Senior Human Rights Adviser by undertaking a human rights-based analysis of the national budget for the 2022/2023 fiscal year. This analysis looked at the budget from human rights and leave no one behind perspective, examining how budget allocations impact the progressive realization of ESCR including efforts to address inequalities through the agenda 2030 in the country. It supports the implementation of the 2020 UPR recommendations to increase budget allocations and resources to alleviate poverty and realize the SDGs with a focus on vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. It was conducted against a background of decreasing fiscal space, growing debt servicing costs, and reduced domestic revenues as well as risks of austerity policies. The analysis shows chronic underinvestment in social sectors (i.e. health, education, social protection, and water and sanitation) seriously impacting the core obligations of these rights. Following the analysis, OHCHR delivered a training for the Kenya NHRI and human rights organizations on the role of public budgets in realizing economic and social rights. In addition to presenting the human rights-based analysis of Kenya's 2022/2023 budget, the objectives of the training were to explore opportunities for joint advice to Government on implementing UPR recommendations to increase budget allocations for economic and social rights.
Language English


Resource A human rights-based approach to COVID-19 economic response and recovery. Protecting jobs, SMEs, and workers, including in the context of national recovery and resilience plans. Checklist for European National Human Rights Institutions
Publishing entity/entities ENNHRI in partnership with OHCHR
Relevant SDGs 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 16
Target audience National Human Rights Institutions
Description The checklist provides a list of potential actions, tools, and resources that can assist national human rights institutions in applying a human rights-based approach to protecting workers, jobs and SMEs, including in the context of national recovery and resilience plans. While the checklist focuses on Europe, it can be instrumental for addressing these issues in other regions as well.
Language English


Resource Reports of the High Commissioner on Human Rights and HIV and on human rights and unequal access to vaccines
Publishing entity/entities OHCHR
Relevant SDGs 3, 5, 10
Target audience Member States, actors engaged in the development and sale of vaccines
Description The report on Human Rights and HIV recommends action necessary to achieve the societal enabler targets adopted by the General Assembly in its Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS: Ending Inequalities and Getting on Track to End AIDS by 2030. As such, it recommends steps to be taken to remove punitive legal and policy frameworks; reduce stigma and discrimination; and address gender inequalities and gender-based violence. The report human rights and unequal access to vaccines contains an examination of the human rights implications of the lack of affordable, timely, equitable and universal access and distribution of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines and the deepening inequalities between States, highlighting that vaccine delays not only have grave health consequences, but also have other profound human rights implications. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights calls for urgent action by all relevant actors to eliminate existing obstacles to ensuring that COVID-19 vaccines reach everyone.
Website Human rights and HIV:… human rights and unequal access to vaccines:…
Language All UN official languages


Q4. How has your organization engaged with stakeholder groups to support SDG implementation and COVID-19 recovery at national, regional and global levels? Please provide main highlights, including any lessons learned. For example, what has worked particularly well as a model for effective stakeholder engagement? 

Inclusive and safe participation of diversity of civil society actors in national decision-making processes that affect their lives had been severely restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic, including in the context of the SDGs and their implementation. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stressed the importance of civic space and inclusive participation as a recipe in building trust in the report on “civic society space and COVID-19”. This report contains several recommendations related to enabling participation, empowering civil society, and ensuring safe participation. You can access the report here:…

The model of engagement developed within the context of the Voluntary National Review process in Guinea-Bissau could be flagged as a positive practice in this regard. The Government enlisted the support of the UN presence in Guinea-Bissau, under the aegis of the UN Resident Coordinator, including UN Human Rights through its Surge Initiative, in conducting consultations in all nine regions of the country. The consultations were a chance to create a dialogue between local and national government representatives and Guinea-Bissau citizens from all parts of the country and all walks of life. They brought together government officials, professional associations, traditional and religious leaders, and representatives of groups most at risk of being left behind such as women, children, people with disabilities and those living in remote areas. The consultations feed into the content of the VNR report, its key recommendations were additionally featured in the national VNR report as an Annex to the VNR, they also served to inform UNCT work going forward and have progressed the work towards submitting Guinea-Bissau’s first report under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. More information on this process is available here:…

Q5. In the 2019 SDG Summit declaration (GA Resolution 74/4), Member States outlined ten priority areas for accelerated action in SDG implementation. Please highlight any major integrated and innovative policies or initiatives that your organization may have adopted in these ten priority areas:

5.1 leaving no one behind

While OHCHR maintains its unequivocal commitment to combating all forms of discrimination, it also shines a spotlight on certain populations. It engages with specific groups who are constructive agents of change and seek to fulfil their potential. Thereby, OHCHR reinforces its contribution to the guiding principle of the 2030 Agenda, to leave no one behind. Spotlight populations, as defined by the 2022-2023 Management Plan are: 

  • persons with disabilities 
  • women 
  • young people 
  • people of African descent 

OHCHR has placed LNOB/addressing inequalities at the centre of its programmatic direction, including by heightened support for system-wide action on inequalities and placing the most marginalized and disenfranchised population groups at the centre of UN’s policy guidance. To this end, OHCHR co-leads the Inequality Task Team under the HLCP which is in the process of developing a new UN System Agenda for Equality. OHCHR is also actively engaged in various monitoring processes through providing guidance on human rights indicators and/or indicators that can capture progress in advancing human rights under the 2030 Agenda, including by contributing to the development of SDG indicators for UNCTs. 

5.2 mobilizing adequate and well-directed financing

You can find details on OHCHR’s funding and budget at

5.3 enhancing national implementation

In addition to information under point 2 above, please note the report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights entitled “Best practices, challenges and lessons learned concerning integrated approaches to the promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the national level”. Report is available from A/HRC/51/9.

5.4 strengthening institutions for more integrated solutions

Much of OHCHR’s work focuses directly on strengthening institutions. The most recent key overview is gathered in the latest available Annual Report, available from

5.5 bolstering local action

UN Human Rights at headquarters and through in-country presences works on a wide range of issues with local governments and their network, including: 

  • at the institutional level (for instance Human Rights Council) 
  • in international processes (Habitat III, HLPF, etc.) 
  • through thematically-focused work (2030 Agenda, urbanization, right to housing etc.). 

In 2022, a report on the role of local government and the opportunities and challenges it faces in the promotion and protection of human rights, including in relation to the right to equality and non-discrimination and the protection of persons in vulnerable and marginalized situations, was presented before the fifty-first session of the Human Rights Council. The report puts forward recommendations for central and local authorities for facing challenges in this regard. 

Through its networks, the Office has supported the Human Rights Cities initiative, collaborated with UCLG, and supported initiatives such as Human Rights Go Local: What Works, Academy and Conference on Human Rights at the Local and Regional Levels 2022, organized by the UNESCO Chair in Human Rights and Human Security at the University in Graz, Austria, in partnership with OHCHR. OHCHR has been closely working with UCLG and, in particular, the Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights. The common work includes a wide range of activities, such as establishing a dedicated space of dialogue between local governments, OHCHR, human rights mechanisms and other stakeholders to promote cross-fertilization, sharing of experiences and mutual learning and a promoting a common vision of localizing human rights. 

The Office has also supported the “World Human Rights Cities Forum” (WHRCF), hosted by the city of Gwangju, ROK, for a number of years. This forum brings together local and city officials, civil society organizations and other international actors aiming at establishing and implementing “systems in order to ensure human rights of citizens in their daily lives” as articulated in the Gwangju Declaration on Human Rights Cities. 

The office has also compiled a series of promising practices in cities and local governments through its “Becoming a Human Rights City Series”, in thematic areas such as Cities Sheltering Human Rights Defenders, Cities Protecting Women Against Violence, Integrating a Human Rights-Based Approach to Climate Action, A Human Rights-Based Approach to Local Public Procurement and Welcoming Cities for Migrants. 

5.6 reducing disaster risk and building resilience

OHCHR aims, in line with the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change, to promote a human rights-based approach to climate action. This requires that States take ambitious adaptation and mitigation measures that are inclusive and respectful of communities affected by climate change. You can find more information from

OHCHR participates in the IASC Task Force on Climate Change. IASC Key Messages endorsed by IASC Deputies Group, calling for urgent and ambitious mitigation action to avert the worst outcomes of climate change, increased investments in building resilience and adaptation for the most vulnerable and worst affected, and meaningful decisions, concrete actions and increased finance to avert, minimize and address losses and damages. OHCHR is also strengthening early warning analysis in this regard.

Throughout 2022, OHCHR worked closely with UNEP, the core group of States for HRC resolution 48/13 (Costa Rica, Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia, Switzerland), civil society and indigenous peoples’ representative organizations, and other partners to support the push for General Assembly recognition of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. These efforts included a workshop organized on the right to a healthy environment in NY, contributions to the General Assembly’s Moment for Nature, provision of technical support by the Office, extensive engagement by the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment and participation in the Glion Dialogues focussing on the right to a healthy environment.

OHCHR, UNEP and UNDP coordinated UN system efforts under the Environment Management Group Issue Management Group and the Secretary General’s Call to Action to advance the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment including a communications effort welcoming adoption of GA resolution 76/300, a series of trainings on the triple planetary crisis in the context of the right to a healthy environment, engagement with the Rio Conventions and development of related knowledge materials. OHCHR and partners also played a key role in advocating for and securing inclusion of the right to a healthy environment in the cover decision of the UNFCCC COP27 outcome and will continue to engage with multilateral agreements including at CBD COP15 (December 2022) to promote policy coherence through mainstreaming of the right to a healthy environment.

5.7 solving challenges through international cooperation and enhancing the global partnership

In 2022, OHCHR prepared two relevant reports: 

  • Implementation and enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights, Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, (2022) A/HRC/50/51 
  • Promoting mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of human rights — Meeting on the role of poverty alleviation in promoting and protecting human rights, (2022) A/HRC/49/30 

More information is available from…;

In 2022, UN Human Rights’ Surge Initiative (see also point 2 above) and the New School’s Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy have launched a Partnership for a Human Rights Economy, to move the needle on analysis, research and economic policymaking towards achieving human rights for all without discrimination. The new partnership will develop the conceptual foundations of a human rights enhancing economy, working across countries and with various stakeholders such as economists, governments, academics, advocacy groups, and international financial institutions. More information is available from…;

5.8 harnessing science, technology and innovation with a greater focus on digital transformation for sustainable development

Under the scope of the B-Tech project, focusing on business and human rights, OHCHR held a consultation and call for submission on the practical application of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to the activities of technology companies in March 2022. 

Information relevant to human rights the digital technology has been made available through the Human Rights and Digital Technology Hub, developed as part of the UN Secretary-General's Call to Action for Human Rights. This online resource hub compiles the reports, analysis, and recommendations from the United Nations human rights mechanisms that seek to address human rights issues in the digital age, providing an ever-expanding library of relevant and reliable guidance to the global UN family, Governments, the private sector, civil society and the public. Direct link: 

5.9 investing in data and statistics for the SDGs

OHCHR’s extended Management Plan for 2023-2023, sharpened the focus on leveraging data for human rights. The focus on leveraging data will improve analysis and decision-making along the full spectrum of human rights. This expansion responds to the Secretary-General’s vision for the United Nations to be a data-driven organization and to deliver optimal value for people and the planet and can also inform data efforts within the SDG framework.

OHCHR continued the work supporting NHRIs and National Statistical Offices in establishing and implementing formal agreements to disaggregate data and integrate human rights into official development statistics. Partnerships were also strengthened with key regional actors, such as the African Union and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, in relation to human rights data and analysis to inform early warning and prevention mechanisms and with the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights on the implementation of the Joint Action Mechanism to Contribute to the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas.

For more information, see…

5.10 strengthening the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF)

OHCHR contributes to the work and deliberations of the HLPF, and its strengthening, in several ways, by: 

  • organizing the annual UN Human Rights Council intersessional meeting on human rights and the 2030 Agenda, the conclusions of which aim to inform the discussions at the HLPF; to date, four such meetings have been organized, with the fifth meeting scheduled for January 2023; key conclusions of the 2022 meeting, which were also part of OHCHR’s official inputs to the HLPF, can be found here 
  • submitting official inputs to the HLPF on behalf of international human rights bodies and mechanisms (UN Human Rights Council, UPR, Treaty Bodies etc.) 
  • ▪ contributing to the HLPF preparations, namely (to a limited extent) the Regional Forums on sustainable development and (to a greater extent) the annual HLPF preparations, including contributing to the expert meetings, background notes, and the preparation of VNR Labs and side events 
  • co-leading (with UNDP) UN System-wide efforts under the Call to Action for Human Rights in exploring synergies between VNRs and human rights reporting, which recently resulted in the operational common approach guidance note on human rights and VNRs launched at the HLPF VNR Lab in July 2022; 
  • providing technical assistance to RCOs/UNCTs, Governments, NHRIs, CSOs and other stakeholders in VNR-presenting countries and engaging in capacity strengthening on the links between human rights and VNRs, including in the context of the right to development, for various stakeholders (see for instance here


Q6. Following the adoption of the 2022 Ministerial Declaration, please highlight any major integrated and innovative policies or initiatives that your organization may have adopted related to the below, if applicable:



Q7. The 2023 SDG Summit is expected to provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations for sustainable development and follow-up and review progress in the implementation of sustainable development commitments and the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, including through national and regional consultations, which will mark the beginning of a new phase of accelerated progress towards the SDGs. In the lead up to the 2023 SDG Summit, please provide your organization’s recommendations on how to overcome challenges to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the SDGs, taking into account the thematic reviews and voluntary national reviews conducted to date. 

In addition to generating strong political messaging recommitting nations of the world to the 2030 Agenda and reaffirming its central place in guiding the response to the multiple global crises we face, the 2030 SDG Summit provides a valuable opportunity to deliberately spotlight human rights as operational problem-solving tools that will help safeguard lives and livelihoods, that serve the whole society, and are central to the social contract. 

This approach has been outlined in Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda calling for a renewed social contract anchored in human rights. As we reach the mid-point mark to 2030, with 7 years left on the clock and with many of the SDG targets moving further away from reach, a re-set of the trajectory is vital. This re-set should internalize the value and importance of human rights norms and standards as effective policy guardrails as we strive to leave no one behind and reach those furthest behind first. 

OHCHR calls on Member States and those engaging in the 2023 SDG Summit preparations to use the preparatory processes and the 2023 SDG Summit meeting to set in motion a concerted effort spanning global, regional, national, and local levels, to adjust the current development trajectory, define better what moving away from ‘business as usual’ requires (as well as what support is available), and set before the world public a set of benchmarks or proposed actions that serve to operationalize the 10 commitments made in the 2019 SDG Summit Political Declaration, while taking into account developments since 2019 which had a severe socio-economic impact, including the global pandemic, climate emergency, and conflicts. 

Message we hope will emanate strongly from the 2023 Political Declaration is that the world leaders are prepared to take bold action, rallying behind the following principled starting points: 

  • 10 commitments put forward in the 2019 Political Declaration remain valid, however moving forward necessitates further defining key principles and/or measures under each commitment to guide us towards a development trajectory of delivering on the 2030 Agenda and facilitating a renewed social contract. To recover from the biggest development setback in our time we need to move away from approaches and models that have in the past produced untenable social costs, fueled instability, and mistrust in institutions. 
  • Drawing on the well-documented impact of economic measures and approaches adopted in times of financial crisis, across-the-board austerity measures are not the solution when entire populations face cost-of-living crises; rather, the world’s leaders must look to more progressive solutions that offer viable alternatives to austerity. 
  • Solutions enabling a transformative way forward include those that instrumentalize human rights standards in designing and implementing social and economic reforms. This path leads to human rights-enhancing economies - economies that work for everyone, economies that advance environmental sustainability, social justice, and the long-term well-being of people. 
  • If we are to leave no one and no country behind, if we are to reach people and countries furthest behind first, we cannot afford to proceed in a piecemeal fashion (for some population groups or some countries). A comprehensive examination of the causes of vulnerability, both nationally and internationally, must include an analysis of its systemic and root causes based on dis-aggregated data, leading to solutions that, similarly, have both a national and international dimension. This approach includes discussing the role and impact of IFIs and the global financial system. 
  • Means of Implementation (MOI) are crucial to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and countries are encouraged to (i) develop national indicators to better track MOI and enhance reporting on MOI targets in the VNRs; and (ii) prioritize generating ‘MOI momentum and commitments’, including adequate fiscal space, in all key global, regional, and national efforts, including the 2024 Summit for the Future. 
  • The wealth of data, analyses and knowledge gathered through the various national reporting processes, including VNRs, reporting under international labour, environmental, human rights mechanisms, as well as the recommendations emanating from these mechanisms, can be leveraged more systematically to produce integrated analysis and identify key transformative national priorities, leading to concrete commitments on the way forward. Including a diversity of national actors and making a concerted effort to include the voices of those furthest behind is vital to these efforts. 
  • Addressing inequalities within and between countries and facilitating a renewed social contract requires a renewed commitment to economic, social, and cultural rights and the right to development, from Member States as well as the UN System. Inequalities are not a ‘natural’ occurrence, they are the result of specific policies (or lack thereof) and systemic discrimination pushing some behind while securing unfair advantage for others. 

The 2023 SDG Summit takes place in the same year we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the true spirit of the Declaration, we need to change economic approaches and models that have produced untenable social costs, that tear apart the fabric of societies, fuel instability and result in ever increasing inequalities. The 2023 SDG Summit presents a valuable opportunity to emphasize the importance and added value of integrating human rights into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development to resume progress on the SDGs and help overcome the impact of the multiple crises the world is currently facing. 



ECESA Plus Member
Year of submission: 2022