Inequalities within countries and between so-called developed and developing countries continue to grow. According to the Global Inequality Report 2022 : “The richest 10% of the world’s population earn 52% of global income, while the poorest half earn only 8%. And an individual in the top 10% of income earns an average of 87,200 euros a year, while those in the bottom 50% earn 2,800 euros. Inequalities in wealth are even more pronounced than in income. The poorest half of the world’s population has virtually no wealth, owning just 2% of the total. Conversely, the richest 10% own 76% of it “.
In fact, the catastrophic spread of these inequalities and consequent poverty on a global scale makes it imperative to implement and promote the right to development.
What is it ? Which right and which development are we referring to?
The Declaration on the Right to Development (DRD) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1986. It results from efforts of the Non Aligned Movement to establish a fairer and more equitable New International Economic Order. The DRD opposes the dominant ideology in which economic growth is the primary objective of development.
On the contrary, the DRD asserts that the human person – individually and above all, collectively – is at the heart of all activity not only economic but also social, political and cultural. In this sense, it must be the central subject and not merely the object, of a development process that is based on people’s active, free and meaningful participation.
The objective of the Right to Development is to achieve self-determination and sovereignty of peoples regarding their choice of development model, in a spirit of equality and mutual respect. The Right to Development also implies that the benefits of development be distributed equitably. The DRD postulates that all States, individually and collectively, adopt as a priority, the realization of all human rights (civil, political, economic, social and cultural). After tough negotiations over the wording of the text, a number of powerful Northern states tried to scrap it, to soften it and even to misrepresent its content. Constantly attacked by these states, the DRD has never been implemented. It directly opposes current political policies, in particular those of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the G7 and NATO. The policies of these institutions run counter to the aspirations of peoples of the South to autonomy and self-reliant development.
Nevertheless, thanks to the perseverance of many countries of the Non Aligned Movement (which today includes more than 120 states) and China, a process to develop a draft Convention on the Right to Development has been initiated recently at the United Nations. The aim is to make the Right to Development “operational”. In October 2023, the UN Human Rights Council on the right to development adopted the latest version of the draft Covenant (the term finally chosen instead of Convention). This text should shortly be ratified by the UN General Assembly. CETIM made an active contribution to the debates on this issue. Indeed, for more than two decades, our association has regularly intervened at the UN and follows developments closely in order to ensure that the Right to Development is not forgotten or diverted from its purpose. It also watches closely to make sure that its implementation is not systematically obstructed but on the contrary, is properly supported and promoted.
See the World Inequality Report 2022, coordinated by Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucma.
Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council
Draft international covenant on the right to development
Intergovernmental Open-ended Working Group on the Right to Development
Special Rapporteur on the right to development
Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development
CETIM’s statements at the UN
CETIM publications related to the right to development (other publications are only available in French here)
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL 49th session The right to water of the Syrian population, and in particular of the peasant communities who depend on it for agriculture, is systematically violated in the framework of the military occupation of the territory by Turkey and pro-Turkish militias. Read the written statement in English
PRESS RELEASE Geneva, March 29, 2022 – The International Commission of Inquiry on Syria presented its annual report at the 49th regular session of the HRC. The report highlighted the catastrophic humanitarian and human rights record of the conflict over the past 11 years, while omitting the role played by foreign military occupation forces in […]
WORKING GROUP ON THE RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT 22nd Session CETIM made several comments in relation to the debate on the human rights obligations of transnational corporations. Confusion is being maintained on this subject in certain circles, whether or not deliberately, despite the fact that it is an extremely important question for the achievement of the […]
The last CETIM bulletin of the year 2021 has just been published. Read it here in full. It deals among other things with the criminalisation of informal trade in Chile. As well as the binding treaty on transnational corporations that CETIM and its partners are defending at the UN.
The right to development The UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants