Potential impact of fiscal contraction on those living in extreme poverty

The Independent Expert's report to the Human Rights Council in June 2011 was dedicated to the impact of fiscal contraction on the enjoyment of human rights (in particular economic, social and cultural rights) by those living in poverty, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable groups in society, especially women and children.

This report built on the Expert’s focus on social protection programmes as part of States’ obligations under human rights law, in particular the right to an adequate standard of living and the right to social security. It focused on the potential effects that projected fiscal contractions and reductions of public expenditure may have on the most vulnerable groups in society. It asked whether such policies are in line with international human rights standards as well as with political commitments made with regard to the achievement of the MDGs (e.g. Outcome document from the Millennium Summit, September 2010). In particular, the report focused on the consequences of fiscal adjustment on national social protection systems, emphasising that social protection is an integral part of a sustained, broad-based recovery from the global financial crisis.

Expert Meeting on the Impact of Fiscal Contraction: 27 and 28 January 2011

On 27 and 28 January 2011, the Independent Expert on human rights and extreme poverty, Magdalena Sepúlveda, convened in Geneva an expert meeting on the “Impact of recovery measures on the human rights of those living in extreme poverty”, with the support of OHCHR, UNICEF and the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights. This workshop brought together experts from governments, international organizations, academic research institutions and non-governmental organization working in the areas of fiscal policy, social expenditure, social protection and human rights (Click here to see the list of participants). The purpose of the meeting was to create a forum to discuss, provide input to, and advise on the Independent Expert's forthcoming report to the 17th session of the Human Rights Council (June 2011). Click here to see the meeting programme of work.

Questionnaire to States and civil society

To prepare her report, the Independent Expert sent a questionnaire requesting States and civil society organizations to provide detailed information on proposed fiscal contraction, proposed cuts in social expenditure and social protection programs, and the existence or not of policies design to insulate those living in extreme poverty and the most vulnerable sections of society from any adverse effects of fiscal contraction.

To read the questionnaire, click here: English, French, Spanish.

To read submissions of Governments in response to the questionnaire please click here:

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Greece 1-2
United Kingdom