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

48th session of the Human Rights Council

16 September 2021, Geneva

Madam President,
Distinguished delegates,

I have the honour to address the Human Rights Council on behalf of the Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development and to present our Second Annual Report as well as our first thematic report, which was prepared under the leadership of my fellow expert Mihir Kanade.

The Expert Mechanism was established in the midst of one of the worst crises which the world has faced in recent times: the COVID-19 pandemic. With the pandemic still casting a shadow on everyone’s daily lives, I feel particularly privileged to have been able to travel to this forum to present our reports in person, but more importantly, I am pleased to report that the Expert Mechanism has achieved a great deal despite the present challenges.

Madame President,

Since our first report to the Council last September, we held two formal sessions. We did so virtually, due to travel restrictions.

Allow me to take this opportunity to thank the Chair of the Working Group on the Right to Development and the Special Rapporteur on the right to development who attended our second session and engaged in interactive dialogue with the Mechanism during our formal session in November 2020. We also appreciate the participation in both the second and third sessions, of representatives of Member States, United Nations entities, academics and experts, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations.

Discussions during the sessions were supportive of the Expert Mechanism, the themes selected for its thematic studies and of the right to development in general. Our mandate is to provide this Council with thematic expertise in searching for, identifying and sharing best practices on the right to development worldwide.

In line with that mandate, the Expert Mechanism led a statement on COVID-19 and vaccine nationalism. We also supported other relevant Special Procedures in a statement marking the 34th anniversary of UN Declaration on the Right to Development. The Mechanism is actively furthering implementation of the six recommendations approved by the Human Rights Council in September 2020, including study visits to engage with Member States and other stakeholders within the framework of its mandate.

Madame President,

At our sessions, we have considered two out of five thematic studies which the Expert Mechanism agreed to elaborate upon during its first term.

Today, I am pleased to present to this Council our first thematic study, which addresses “Operationalizing the right to development in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.” The study is contained in document A/HRC/48/63.

The study draws attention to the urgent need to move beyond rhetoric and to strive for greater acceptance, operationalization and realization of the right to development across all three levels of obligations of States. These obligations include:

  1. States acting collectively in global and regional partnerships;
  2. States acting individually as they adopt and implement policies that affect persons not strictly within their jurisdiction;
  3. States acting individually as they formulate national development policies and programmes affecting persons within their jurisdiction.

The Sustainable Development Goals can be realized only through a credible, effective and universal commitment to the means of implementation based on the normative framework of the right to development, especially the duty of international cooperation. In this regard, the Expert Mechanism stresses the urgent need for States to discharge their duty to cooperate in creating the enabling environment for realizing the Sustainable Development Goals. Failure in meeting this obligation hampers the achievement of many targets of the 2030 Agenda.

In the study, the Expert Mechanism provides 11 recommendations addressed to States, individually and jointly, to international organizations as well as to development cooperation partners. We are committed to working closely with all stakeholders in providing expert advice and guidance on operationalizing the right to development in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, especially through mobilization of the means of implementation.

We welcome the views and guidance from Member States and other stakeholders on this study. We hope that this study will contribute to the deliberations of this Council and advance the agenda for the right to development in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Madam President,

Let me to conclude my presentation with two recommendations that the Expert Mechanism has asked me to bring to the attention of this Council for its consideration and approval.

First, the Expert Mechanism requests that the Human Rights Council enable it to webcast its public sessions and to use international sign interpretation and real-time captioning in English with a view to ensuring outreach and promoting the right to development worldwide as per its mandate.

Secondly, the Expert Mechanism requests that the Human Rights Council enable non-governmental organizations beyond those with consultative status with the Economic and Social Council to participate in the public sessions of the Expert Mechanism, including civil society, grass-roots and community organizations working on development issues.

I look forward to our interactive dialogue regarding the two reports herewith presented and to your favourable consideration and approval of the above recommendations.

I thank you for your attention.