United Nations

A/51/539


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

23 October 1996

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                        A/51/539
                                                              

General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Agenda item 110 (b)


            HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONS:  HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONS, INCLUDING
           ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES FOR IMPROVING THE EFFECTIVE ENJOYMENT
                     OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS

                               Right to development
 
                        Report of the Secretary-General


                                   CONTENTS

                                                              Paragraphs Page

 I.   INTRODUCTION .........................................     1 - 4     2

II.   OVERALL ACTIVITIES OF THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM IN THE
      IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECLARATION ON THE RIGHT TO
      DEVELOPMENT ..........................................     5 - 10    2

III.  CONSULTATIONS WITH THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARIES OF THE
      REGIONAL ECONOMIC COMMISSIONS ........................    11 - 13    4

IV.   CONSULTATIONS WITH THE WORLD BANK ....................    14 - 16    5

 V.   THE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT AND THE RESTRUCTURING PROCESS
      OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN 
      RIGHTS/CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS .......................       17      5
                                                                             

                               I.  INTRODUCTION


1.   At its fiftieth session, the General Assembly, in adopting
resolution 50/184 of 22 December 1995, reaffirmed the importance of
the right to development for every human person and all peoples in all
countries, in particular the developing countries, as an integral part
of fundamental human rights.

2.   In resolution 50/184, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General
to continue coordination of the various activities with regard to the
implementation of the Declaration on the Right to Development, which
was proclaimed by the General Assembly on 4 December 1986, in
resolution 41/128; to ask the Centre for Human Rights of the
Secretariat to provide a programmatic follow-up on the implementation
of the Declaration, as part of the efforts to implement the Vienna
Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted by the World Conference
on Human Rights on 25 June 1993; and to inform the General Assembly at
its fifty-first session of the activities of the United Nations system
for the implementation of the Declaration on the Right to Development.

3.   In paragraph 7 of resolution 50/184, the General Assembly
requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to
continue to take steps for the promotion and protection of the right
to development by, inter alia, working in conjunction with the Centre
for Human Rights and drawing on the expertise of the funds, programmes
and specialized agencies of the United Nations system related to the
field of development.  In this context it is worth mentioning that the
United Nations Development Programme has provided support to the
technical cooperation programme in the field of human rights by
designating a highly qualified specialist as a coordinator of the
related voluntary fund. 

4.   The present report should be viewed in light of the aforementioned
paragraphs of General Assembly resolution 50/184.


            II.  OVERALL ACTIVITIES OF THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM IN
                 THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECLARATION ON THE RIGHT
                 TO DEVELOPMENT                                    

5.   The Commission on Human Rights, at its fifty-second session, held
at Geneva from 18 March to 26 April 1996, was able, for the first
time, to adopt by consensus a resolution concerning the right to
development (resolution 1996/15 of 11 April 1996).  This was an
important achievement which should open new avenues for international
cooperation in the field of human rights.  The Commission decided,
inter alia, to: 

     "establish an intergovernmental group of experts with a mandate to
     elaborate a strategy for the implementation and promotion of the
     right to development, as set forth in the Declaration on the Right
     to Development, in its integrated and multidimensional aspects,
     bearing in mind the conclusions of the Working Group on the Right
     to Development, established by the Commission on Human Rights in
     resolution 1993/22, and the conclusions of the World Conference on
     Human Rights and of the four world conferences (the United Nations
     Conference on Environment and Development, the International
     Conference on Population and Development, the World Summit for
     Social Development and the Fourth World Conference on Women: 
     Action for Equality, Development and Peace), and that:
     
         "(a) Such working group be established for a two-year period;

         "(b) The working group elaborate concrete and practical
     measures for the implementation and promotion of the right to
     development and submit a progress report to the Commission on
     Human Rights at its fifty-third session; the working group shall
     focus on the development of such a strategy, which should include
     recommendations for further practical measures for implementation
     and promotion, and report to the Commission at its fifty-fourth
     session;

         "(c) The members of the working group will be appointed on the
     basis of equitable geographical representation, in consultation
     with the regional groups, and of their competence and acquired
     experience in this field; and urges that they accomplish their
     mandate;

         "(d) The working group shall be composed of 10 experts,
     nominated by Governments, to be appointed by the Chairman of the
     Commission on Human Rights;

         "(e) The working group experts will be in consultation with
     the treaty bodies and with the United Nations High Commissioner
     for Human Rights on all issues relevant to the implementation of
     the right to development." 

6.   The first session of the new working group was scheduled for the
end of October 1996.

7.   As was noted by the Working Group on the Right to Development in
its report on its fifth session, in 1995 (E/CN.4/1996/24), several
difficulties had been encountered in the past in the cooperation among
United Nations organs, specialized agencies and the Office of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights/Centre for Human
Rights.  It is encouraging that positive signs can be found in the
experience of the recent past.  A number of United Nations organs and
specialized agencies have established or intensified cooperation with
each other, as exemplified by the cooperation initiated by the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights with the World Bank and the
regional economic commissions.

8.   With regard to the implementation of the Declaration on the Right
to Development by the organizations, funds, programmes and specialized
agencies of the United Nations, it should be again stressed that the
right to development should be seen as the realization of an economic,
political, social and cultural order in which both the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights can be enjoyed as fully as
possible.  The United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights/Centre for Human Rights receives diversified and complex
information, relating to a broadly interpreted concept of the right to
development, from various parts of the United Nations system, and
requiring systematic analysis.

9.   Corresponding with developments in the field, the United Nations
High Commissioner for Human Rights is in the process of generating a
programme of action for the implementation of the right to
development.  Central issues which are recurring with respect to
policy development are:

     -   How the concept of the right to development can be translated
         into programmes of action to be incorporated at the national
         level; and

     -   What ways and means are available to promote the activities
         of the United Nations system aimed at the realization of the
         right to development as the vehicle for the implementation of
         all human rights for all.

10.  It is vital to recognize that the right to development is related
to all human rights, perceived as equal, interrelated and
interdependent.  Participation is an essential component of the right
to development and is a means of stabilizing democracy at the national
and international levels.  The United Nations High Commissioner for
Human Rights has stressed that the concept of the right to development
should contribute to combating social, economic and political
exclusion and alienation.  Participation in development should also be
a way for the individual to participate in the community in which he
or she lives.  The context for the programmes aimed at the
implementation of the right to development is provided by the
internally intertwined triad proclaimed by the World Conference on
Human Rights:  democracy, development and respect for human rights. 


             III.  CONSULTATIONS WITH THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARIES OF
                   THE REGIONAL ECONOMIC COMMISSIONS              

11.  On 18 July 1996, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights and the five executive secretaries of the regional economic
commissions met at United Nations Headquarters to discuss the
possibilities of cooperation for the implementation of the right to
development.  The group was joined by the Secretary-General.

12.  The five executive secretaries - Mr. K. Y. Amoaka, Economic
Commission for Africa; Mr. Y. Berthelot, Economic Commission for
Europe; Mr. H. El-Beblawi, Economic and Social Commission for Western
Asia; Mr. A. Mooy, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the
Pacific; and Mr. G. Rosenthal, Economic Commission for Latin America
and the Caribbean - welcomed the initiative of the High Commissioner
and noted that the implementation of the right to development clearly
forms part of their mandates.

13.  Several possibilities of cooperation were discussed, including the
idea of jointly developing indicators related to the right to
development and of organizing seminars in which both the Office of the
High Commissioner and the regional economic commissions, as well as
national planning institutions, specialized agencies and other United
Nations organs, non-governmental organizations and academic experts
would participate.  Several projects to facilitate cooperation with
the regional economic commissions are under preparation by the High
Commissioner.


                    IV.  CONSULTATIONS WITH THE WORLD BANK

14.  In 1995 contacts were established between the Office of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the World Bank.  The
contacts led to consultations between the two on 24 and 25 July 1996
in Washington, with a view to exploring, in the context of the
programmes aimed at sustainable development, various aspects of
possible cooperation.

15.  Both the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,
Jose' Ayala-Lasso, and the President of the World Bank, James D.
Wolfensohn, underscored the need for close cooperation and declared
their determination to create conditions to that end.  It was a
clearly shared view that the relevant units of the World Bank and the
United Nations human rights programme should cooperate in the
following areas:

     -   exchange of information and cooperation in the preparation of
         country projects;

     -   exchange of expertise with regard to reconstruction and
         development assistance in the transition to democracy;

     -   cooperation of field offices;

     -   building national capacities for governance and rule of
         law/promotion and protection of human rights;

     -   human rights education.

16.  The consultations undertaken by representatives of the two
institutions have proven to be substantive and fruitful and have
provided a good opportunity for the staff of the World Bank and the
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights/Centre for Human
Rights to learn more about each other's programmes and methods of
work. 


        V.  THE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT AND THE RESTRUCTURING PROCESS OF 
            THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS/    
            CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS                                   

17.  Implementation of the right to development has been given special
importance in the restructuring process of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights/Centre for Human Rights.  A research and
right to development branch has been established, with a mandate to
address all possible aspects of the implementation of this right.  The
objective will be to develop an integrated and multidimensional
strategy for the implementation, coordination and promotion of the
right to development.  This strategy, in accordance with the
Declaration on the Right to Development, should also aim at: 
(a) facilitating action to be taken by relevant bodies of the United
Nations system, international development and financial institutions,
and non-governmental organizations; (b) promoting national
implementation of the right to development through coordination with
State-appointed officials; (c) identifying obstacles at the national
and international levels; and (d) promoting awareness about the
content and importance of the right to development, including through
information and educational activities.

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Date last posted: 28 December 1999 17:35:10
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