Human Rights and Human Development
Candido Mendes University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
9-10 October 2000
Over 300 leading academics, policy-makers and development and human rights activists gathered at the Candido Mendes University in Rio de Janeiro for the Second Global Forum on Human Development (9-10 October 2000). They met to discuss and examine the implications of the Human Development Report 2000: Human Rights and Human Development.
The report, which centred on human rights and human development, served as an impetus for participants to identify new research areas and suggest policy changes to implement the Report's main proposals worldwide. The Forum was organized by the Human Development Report Office and UNDP Brazil, in collaboration with the Canadian International Development Agency.
The event was convened in an effort to expand the frontiers of human development research and policy debate. Through plenary sessions and parallel roundtable sessions, the participants debated and examined Human Development Report 2000, identified new research areas that still need to be explored, and suggested policy changes to implement the report's main proposal. The major themes of the sessions were the linkages between human rights and human development (including corporate accountability), global inequality, national and regional strategies for promoting human development, and the measurement of human development.
Other sub-themes examined by the Forum were human development trends in Brazil, human rights and statistics, international human rights machinery: challenges and future prospects, democracy in Latin America, legitimizing human rights within development, promoting economic, social and cultural rights: accountability of state and non-state actors, liberalization, poverty and inequality: Latin America and the Caribbean in the 1990s, the UN system's rights-based approach: lessons from the field, and the strategies for reducing inequality and poverty.
Speakers included Marco Maciel, Vice-President of Brazil; Enrique Iglesias, President, Inter-American Development Bank; Leif Pagrotsky, Sweden's Minister forTrade; Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch; and Ann Pettifor, Director of Jubilee 2000 UK.
At the conclusion of the Global Forum, awards were presented for their outstanding quality to National Human Development Reports produced in Armenia, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Latvia, Lebanon, Mozambique and the Philippines.
About the Forum
Over 300 leading thinkers, including academics, policy-makers, development and human rights activists gathered at the Candido Mendes University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 9-10 October 2000, to participate in the Second Global Forum on Human Development. Prominent speakers included: Marco Maciel, Vice-President of Brazil, Luis Filipe Marques Amado, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Portugal, Ann Pettifor, Director of Jubilee 2000 UK (a movement which calls for cancellation of debt of the world's poorest countries), Enrique Iglesias, President of the Inter-American Development Bank (who gave the Mahbub Ul Haq Memorial lecture), Leif Pagrotsky, Minister of Trade of Sweden, Kenneth Roth, Executive Director for Human Rights Watch, Kamal Hossain, UN Special Rapporteur of Afghanistan, Nancy Birdsall, Special Adviser to the Administrator of UNDP, Elena Martinez, Director of UNDP Latin America and the Caribbean, and Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Director of the Human Development Report Office (UNDP HDRO).
The Forum was organized by UNDP's Human Development Report Office (HDRO) and UNDP Brazil Office, in collaboration with the the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, the Latin American Caribbean Economics Association (LACEA), the Candido Mendes University, and with financial support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).Participants
The Forum opened with a speech from Marco Maciel, Vice-President of Brazil, who welcomed all participants and said that Brazil received the Second Global Forum on Human Development with much satisfaction because of its relevance, which constitutes one of the main objectives of the Government of President Fernando Enrique Cardoso and integrates the political agenda of the country. The Vice-President said the Brazilian government is conscious that human development is an indispensable and essential component for the democratic process, having transformed it into a question that, at the present time, exceeds ideological borders and even political ones.
In a very frank speech promoting the use of open trade as an instrument to shape globalization, the Swedish Minister for Trade, Leif Pagrotsky, insisted that it is a primary responsibility of political leaders in rich countries to develop policies and to take initiatives "that will stop the exclusion of developing countries". "We must be honest in our arguments and show solidarity in our decisions. That is our moral imperative but it is also in our self-interest. I want the European Union to take a global lead".
Mr. Pagrotsky added that free trade rhetorics too often do not correspond with actions. Rich countries say that free trade is a great thing when it comes to goods and services produced by their companies, but are not as enthusiastic when it concerns products from the developing countries. "For this," he said "the European Union is an example, where the rhetoric for free trade includes agriculture, textiles and clothing, but political decision- making and actions follow a separate track".
The Swedish Minister also said that he was engaged in developing national "coherence" -- meaning tackling the inconsistencies between interests of trade, development and social sectors in trade policy. In response to a question, he thought that there was little hope for movement on anti-competition policy, and not much likelihood of renegotiating TRIPS but more likelihood of a more flexible interpretation and application. Calling on rich countries to practice what they preach, Minister Pagrotsky concluded that globalization must work for both poor and rich countries and that the latter must drop barriers that restrict imports from developing countries.
"Human Rights and Economic Policies - the intersection of human rights and economic policies was a running core issue raised by several speakers", said Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Director of UNDP's Human Development Report Office, "and all of them underlined that human rights provide a framework of checks on economic policies so that they promote human development rather than harm human well being, dignity and freedom". This was evident in the paper delivered by Asbjørn Eide of the Norwegian Institute of Human Rights, entitled "Promoting economic, social and cultural rights: obligations of state and accountability of non-state actors", from the interventions of Steven Marks, Harvard University, USA, and from the speech of Ann Pettifor, Director of Jubilee 2000, who spoke at the inaugural. Calling human rights a "scaffolding" for international economic governance, she emphasized the moral basis of debt relief, comparing the treatment of debtor countries today with the 19th century treatment of debtors in Britain in debtors' prisons.
Speakers also said that human rights bring justice and accountability into development, and this was particularly underscored by Sakiko Fukuda-Parr and Kamal Hossain. Hossain added that human rights empower people, an idea also shared by Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch.
Vitit Muntarbhorn, from the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, who delivered the paper "Human Rights and Human Development: Thailand Country Study", and Siddiquir Osmani, from the University of Belfast, further pointed out that human rights require participation in the process of development and in the process of policy making.
A panel on Latin American and the Caribbean, chaired by Enrique Ganuza, from the University of Chile, discussed papers analyzing the diverse impact of economic liberalization in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Jamaica. Meanwhile, the Income Inequalities panel chaired by Nancy Birdsall, Special Adviser to the UNDP Administrator, included three recent research papers. The first, developed by Francisco Ferreira, from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio, analyzed the interaction between wealth, educational and political inequalities; Miguel Székely, from the Inter-American Development Bank, provided a paper analyzing inequality and liberalization policies, economic reform and wage differentials in Latin America; and finally Ernesto Pernia, from the Asian Development Bank, analyzed index of pro-poor growth and income inequality in Asia. In the same panel discussion, Thomas Pogge, from Columbia University, raised the moral philosophy analysis of the excessive weight given to compatriots in the assessment of obligations to help others raise themselves from poverty.
Participants also examined Brazil's new anti-poverty initiative, which uses human development analysis to target provinces and municipalities. The "Brazil poverty program" - a multi billion dollar program recently announced - makes good use of the analytical tools of human development in targeting the program. Called Human Development Index 14, it targets provinces and municipalities within provinces with low human development index.
NHDR Awards Ceremony
During the Second Global Forum on Human Development, the first annual National Human Development Report Recognition Awards were announced. Thirteen UNDP country offices from across all five UNDP regions were acknowledged at the Forum. Several representatives from country offices spoke during the Forum's closing plenary sessions about the value of being recognized by UNDP headquarters for their work on the National Human Development reports.
"During the past decade, some 350 between national, sub-national and regional reports have been produced by more than 125 countries. The purpose of the awards is to recognize outstanding and innovative policy analysis and advocacy within UNDP programme countries through the preparation and public presentation of National Human Development Reports", said Sakiko Fukuda-Parr.