Integrating human rights into debt policies and debt sustainability analyses to counter new debt vulnerabilities: report


Published
5 August 2016
Author
The Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of human rights
Presented
To the 71st session of the General Assembly
Link

Summary

The present report of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, includes two parts.

First, the Independent Expert provides an overview of the activities undertaken from August 2015 to July 2016.

Second, the Independent Expert offers some reflections on a number of developments and issues of concern. He also argues that past international debt relief initiatives have not been able to contribute in a sustainable way to improved human rights outcomes in heavily indebted poor countries, as debt relief, while important, would never have covered the necessary financial means. In addition, he underlines that a new global wave of austerity and debt vulnerabilities in many developing countries that challenges progress on human rights is again increasing, requiring more policy efforts to prevent and solve such crises.

Finally, he argues that the current review of frameworks for debt sustainability analysis should be based on a more comprehensive understanding of debt sustainability, incorporating human rights and the social and environmental dimensions of sustainability.

He concludes that a more robust and human rights-based framework for sovereign debt is needed in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. His recommendations include, among others, establishing a reporting mechanism on debt restructurings; ensuring that monitoring mechanisms track progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, including government spending on the Goals and sectors relevant for the progressive realization of rights; and incorporating human rights obligations into frameworks for carrying out debt sustainability analysis.