The Millennium Development Goals and human rights-based approaches: moving towards a shared approach

  • Schmidt-Traub G
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The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have become the international community's shared framework for development. Since the Goals focus on national averages and do not refer explicitly to human rights, a long debate has ensued since the adoption of the MDGs in 2001 on whether the Goals are consistent with the progressive realisation of human rights. This paper reviews the history of the MDGs and outlines how developing countries can achieve the Goals. It shows that the MDGs are consistent with Human Rights Based Approaches. Yet, efforts aimed at integrating Human Rights Based Approaches into strategies to achieve the MDGs have primarily focused on normative questions. Too little progress has been made in applying Human Rights Based approached to inform the day-to-day decisions that development practitioners and Governments need to make. In response, the paper outlines a practical approach for how Human Rights Based Approaches could be systematically integrated into five common stages involved in the design and implementation of national development strategies to achieve the MDGs. The five stages cover: (i) the choice of interventions to meet the MDGs; (ii) establishment of corresponding coverage targets and an explicit monitoring framework; (iii) the programming of public expenditures; (iv) the prioritisation and sequencing of interventions over time; and (v) the design of supporting policy frameworks. For each stage, the paper outlines how Human Rights-Based Approaches can inform the choices and decisions that policymakers need to make.

Author-supplied keywords

  • human rights based approach
  • mdgs
  • millennium development goals

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  • Guido Schmidt-Traub

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