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Statement by Ms. Klentiana Mahmutaj Chair of the Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development

21st Session of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Right to Development

Agenda Item 4.4.2 – Interaction with experts about the elaboration of a draft legally binding instrument on the right to development 18 May 2021, Geneva

Mr. Chair-Rapporteur,
Distinguished delegates,
Colleagues,

I am pleased to represent the Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development during the present interaction with experts on the elaboration of a draft legally binding instrument on the Right to Development. At our 18th informal intersessional meeting, held on 18 February 2021, my fellow experts and I agreed on a statement by the Expert Mechanism with regard to the legally binding instrument on the Right to Development.

The Expert Mechanism unanimously supports that in order to effectively operationalize and fully implement the right to development, the legally binding instrument should reaffirm the Declaration on the Right to Development, adopted by the General Assembly on 4 December 1986. It should further the codification of this right as a legally binding human right held by individuals and peoples that entitles them to active, free and meaningful participation in development, and in the fair distribution of benefits therefrom.

The Expert Mechanism is of the opinion that the legally binding instrument should elaborate on the three levels of State obligations that the right to development entails, namely 1) States acting individually as they formulate national development policies and programmes affecting persons within their jurisdiction; 2) States acting individually as they adopt and implement policies that affect persons not strictly within their jurisdiction; and 3) States acting collectively in global and regional partnerships.

We consider that the legally binding instrument should additionally elaborate on the universal duty of everyone, including legal persons, to respect human rights, including the Right to Development, and recognize the mutually reinforcing nature of the right to development and the right to self-determination, including the right of each State to regulate, free from coercion, for the respect, protection and fulfilment of the right to development.

The Expert Mechanism trusts that the legally binding instrument will reconfirm that the right to development must be realized in a manner compatible with all other human rights, and that this right is grounded in the principles of accountability, empowerment, participation, non-discrimination, equality and equity.

The text should clearly acknowledge that the right to development cannot be realized if development is unsustainable and elaborate on the duty to cooperate as a key component in the establishment of a social and international order conducive to the realization of the right to development. The duty to cooperate for the realization of the right to development applies among States and between States and other stakeholders, including intergovernmental organizations and economic actors.

The legally binding instrument should include provisions that foster the ability of grassroots organizations to use the right to development at both national and international levels and should also establish a Conference of States Parties offering broad access to all stakeholders. The Conference of States Parties should be empowered to discuss obstacles to the realization of the right to development and to recommend and adopt protocols on measures to address such obstacles.

Last but not least, we consider that the legally binding instrument should include an implementation mechanism able to examine requests by rights holders and States Parties to review obstacles to the realization of the right to development that arise from the failure to comply with the duty to cooperate.

I will be delighted to continue discussing these elements and reply to any question you may have.

Thank you.