Accountability must be cornerstone of post-2015 development agenda – UN expert

Children in Kallayanpur slum, one of the urban slums in Dhaka, Bangladesh. UN Photo/Kibae Park

12 June 2013 – A United Nations independent expert today stressed accountability must be a key element of the post-2015 development agenda, making governments responsible for their commitments and obligations under human rights law.

“The lack of emphasis on mechanisms to hold governments accountable to their commitments is regrettable,” said the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Kishore Singh, referring to the report compiled by the High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which was presented to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last month.

The report, entitled A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development, sets out a universal agenda to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 and deliver on the promise of sustainable development. It also emphasizes that the new development agenda must be universal – applying to countries in the global North and South alike – and be infused with a spirit of partnership.

“The report does not fully recognize a human-rights based approach,” said Mr. Singh. “Rights without remedies are not rights at all. The post-2015 development agenda must move beyond political commitments, and more closely reflect the obligations undertaken by States under international human rights law.”

Courts, national human rights institutions and administrative mechanisms are vital for citizens to engage governments and ensure their rights are respected, Mr. Singh said. “I trust governments will work towards making their commitments, which are all founded in international law, justiciable in their national legal systems.”

Mr. Singh commended the agenda for its recognition of the importance of the right to primary and secondary education and for its focus on skilled development.

“The Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda presents many important ideas, and recognizes that the right to education should include secondary education, and a focus on skill development,” noted the Special Rapporteur.

“In this regard, the use of indicators is essential; it will enable legal mechanisms to better identify and assess whether government policies, programmes and their implementation are leading to improved education outcomes, and that vulnerable groups are not being left behind,” he said.

“As we embark on more complex challenges, we must ensure that the right-holders themselves, the students and their parents, have the ability to challenge governments to meet their international obligations. I urge Member States to ensure that a firm framework of accountability with appropriate indicators is made an integral part of the post-2015 development goals.”


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