About the mandate of the Independent Expert for foreign debt


The terms of the mandate of the Independent Expert are contained in Human Rights Council resolution 43/10, which request her to pay particular attention to:

(a) The effects of foreign debt and the policies adopted to address them on the full enjoyment of all human rights, in particular economic, social and cultural rights;

(b) The impact of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations on the capacity of States to design and implement their policies and programmes, including national budgets that respond to vital requirements for the promotion of the realization of social rights;

(c) Measures taken by Governments, the private sector and international financial institutions to alleviate such effects in developing countries, especially the poorest and heavily indebted countries;

(d) New developments in and actions and initiatives being taken by international financial institutions, other United Nations bodies and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations with respect to economic reform policies and human rights;

(e) The effects of public debt, economic reform and financial consolidation policies on the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals;

(f) The impact of illicit financial flows on the enjoyment of human rights;

(g) The process entrusted with the follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development, with a view to bringing to its attention the issue of the effects of structural adjustment and foreign debt on the enjoyment of human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights;

(h) Enhancement of consultations with all relevant stakeholders in the fulfilment of the mandate.

Relevant resolutions and decisions of the Human Rights Council


Session

Symbol

Title

43rd session
2020
A/HRC/RES/43/10 Mandate 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
40th session
2019
A/HRC/RES/40/8 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
37th session
2018
A/HRC/RES/37/11
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
34th session
2017
A/HRC/RES/34/3
Mandate 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
31st session
2016
A/HRC/RES/31/22The negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to the countries of origin on the enjoyment of human rights, and the importance of improving international cooperation
31st session
2016
A/HRC/RES/31/11The 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
28th session
2015
A/HRC/RES/28/5The negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to the countries of origin on the enjoyment of human rights, and the importance of improving international cooperation
28th session 2015
A/HRC/RES/28/8The 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
27th session 2014
A/HRC/RES/27/30Effects 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: the activities of vulture funds
25th session 2014
A/HRC/RES/25/16Mandate 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
25th session 2014
A/HRC/RES/25/9The negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to the countries of origin on the enjoyment of human rights, and the importance of improving international cooperation

23rd session 2013

A/HRC/RES/23/11The 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

22nd session 2013

A/HRC/RES/22/12The negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to the countries of origin on the enjoyment of human rights, and the importance of improving international cooperation
20th session
2012
A/HRC/RES/20/10The 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
17th session
2011
A/HRC/RES/17/7Mandate 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

16th session
2011

A/HRC/RES/16/14Mandate 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

14th session
2010

A/HRC/RES/14/4The 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

12th session
2009

A/HRC/DEC/12/119The effects of foreign debt and other related international financial 2009 obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights

11th session
2009

A/HRC/RES/11/5The effects of foreign debt and other related international financial 2009 obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights

7th session
2008

A/HRC/RES/7/4

Mandate 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

5th session
2007

A/HRC/RES/5/1

Institution-building of the United Nations Human Rights Council

2nd session
2006

A/HRC/DEC/2/109

Effects of economic reform policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human rights




Evolution of the mandate

The mandate of the Independent Expert has undergone several changes throughout the years. At the very beginning, two different mandates were established by the Commission on Human Rights: the mandate of the Independent Expert on structural adjustment policies in 1997 and the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the effects of foreign debt on the full enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights in 1998.

Those two mandates were discontinued in 2000 when the mandate of the Independent Expert on the effects of structural adjustment policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights was set up. In 2005, the Commission decided to replace the phrase “effects of structural adjustment policies” with “effects of economic reform policies” in the title of the mandate so that it became “Independent Expert on the effects of economic reform policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights”.

From March 2008 to present:

  • The title of the mandate was reformulated as “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”;
  • The Independent Expert was requested to report annually to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly;
  • In 2010 the Council requested the Independent Expert to present draft general guidelines to be followed by States and by private and public, national and international financial institutions in the decision making on and execution of debt repayments and structural reform programmes, including those arising from foreign debt relief.
  • After regional consultations, an expert meeting and a public consultation the guiding principles on foreign debt and human rights were submitted in 2012 to the Human Rights Council and endorsed in June 2012 (see HRC/RES/20/10).
  • In June 2012 the Human Rights Council requested the Independent Expert to develop a commentary to the guiding principles.

From 2005 to 2008:

  • The title of the mandate was reformulated as “Independent Expert on the effects of economic reform policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights”;
  • The IE was requested to report annually to the Commission on Human Rights and to the General Assembly;
  • The Commission requested the mandate-holder to present to the Commission at its sixty-second session a final draft of general guidelines to be followed by States and by private and public, national and international financial institutions in the decision‑making on and execution of debt repayments and structural reform programmes, including those arising from foreign debt relief.

From 2000 to 2005:

  • The Commission discontinued the mandate of the Independent Expert on structural adjustment policies and the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the effects of foreign debt on the full enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, and created the mandate of the “Independent Expert on the effects of structural adjustment policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights”;
  • The IE was requested to report annually to the Commission on Human Rights.

From 1997 to 2000:

  • The Commission established the mandate of the Independent Expert on structural adjustment policies in 1997;
  • The IE was requested to submit a consolidated study on the effects of structural adjustment policies on economic, social and cultural rights and to elaborate draft basic policy guidelines on structural adjustment policies.
  • The Commission established the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the effects of foreign debt on the full enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights in 1998;
  • The SR was requested to report annually to the Commission on Human Rights.

Resolutions and decisions of the Commission on Human Rights

Between 1997 and 2005, the Commission recalled the mandate of the Independent Expert in several resolutions.

Session

Symbol

Title

61st session
2005

E/CN.4/RES/2005/19

Effects of economic reform policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human rights

60th session
2004

E/CN.4/RES/2004/18

Effects of structural adjustment policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights

59th session
2003

E/CN.4/RES/2003/21

Effects of structural adjustment policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights

58th session
2002

E/CN.4/RES/2002/29

Effects of structural adjustment policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights

57th session
2001

E/CN.4/RES/2001/27

Effects of structural adjustment policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights

56th session
2000

E/CN.4/RES/2000/82

Effects of structural adjustment policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights

55th session
1999

E/CN.4/DEC/1999/104

Effects of structural adjustment policies on the full enjoyment of human rights

55th session
1999

E/CN.4/RES/1999/22

Effects of the full enjoyment of human rights of the economic adjustment policies arising from foreign debt and, in particular, on the implementation of the Declaration on the Right to Development

54th session
1998

E/CN.4/DEC/1998/102

Effects of structural adjustment policies on the full enjoyment of human rights

54th session
1998

E/CN.4/RES/1998/24

Effects on the full enjoyment of human rights of the economic adjustment policies arising from foreign debt and, in particular, on the implementation of the Declaration on the Right to Development

53rd session
1997

E/CN.4/DEC/1997/103

Effects of structural adjustment policies on the full enjoyment of human rights

In June 2006, the Commission on Human Rights was replaced by the Human Rights Council pursuant to the General Assembly resolution 60/251. On 18 June 2007, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 5/1 which extended the mandate. The Council also adopted resolution 5/2, containing a Code of Conduct for special procedures mandate holders.