Prosperity through right to development
Officials and experts on human rights studies from across the world spoke at the international seminar to mark the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development co-sponsored by the State Council Information Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday and Monday in Beijing. Following are excerpts from the speeches of some officials and experts:
The global context for development has changed significantly in the past decade. Rising inequalities within and between countries, the impacts of climate change, the long-term consequences of the economic and financial crisis, and the burning refugee issues, have impeded the development efforts.
They have resulted in economic shocks and social instability, which have shaped the international agenda and preoccupied policymakers. The root cause of most of these challenges is generally attributed to the lack of inclusive, equitable and sustainable development. The absence of such inclusive development also makes it difficult for societies to secure and sustain peace and security.
Poverty eradication continues to be one of the critical elements in the promotion and realization of the right to development. The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions is an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. UN member states pledged that the overarching goal of the UN 2030 Agenda is to leave no one behind, and to reach the farthest behind first. Its success will be measured therefore by the impact of the goals on the lives of the poorest and the most vulnerable.
In this regard, China’s experience serves as an example for other countries. It has lifted as many as 700 million people out of poverty since reform and opening-up and made significant advances in healthcare, education, water and sanitation in many areas. China has already made significant advances in the implementation of the agenda and affirmed its determination to lift another 50 million residents living below the current poverty line out of poverty. It has also extended its support to other developing countries in their own efforts to achieve sustainable development.
Wu Hongbo, under-secretarygeneral of the United Nations
The adoption of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development does not only mark the official recognition of the right to development, but it can also be regarded as the first successful joint action undertaken by the Global South, comprising Asia, Africa and Latin America, at the international level in the area of human rights. Its success can serve as a source of inspiration.
There can be no doubt that China’s successful effort to eradicate poverty is the biggest human rights accomplishment in the history of humankind. Many Westerners fail to see the right to development is not about money, but about human dignity. Having decent sanitation and hygiene, access to affordable healthcare, and enough food on the table are the basic conditions of a dignified life.
The link between human dignity and the right to development was made for the very first time eloquently in the 1991 White Paper on Human Rights in China. The idea of people-centered development, as stressed by the white paper, has become a key concept in discussions about the right to development.
Tom Zwart, a professor of human rights at Utrecht University and director of the Netherlands School of Human Rights Research
Although terrorism is a global threat, it is mostly the developing countries that are at the forefront of this war, and the economies of many of these countries are increasingly facing unprecedented challenges, as the financial cost of combating terrorism is hindering the ability to efficiently utilize their limited economic resources in promoting sustainable growth, job opportunities and social inclusion, thereby hindering the processes which these countries have committed to undertake to avail, safeguard and advance the UN Right to Development for their societies at large.
The global threat of terrorism emphasizes the need for more effective global actions to invest in the resilience of our societies, through agile and robust development cooperation that focuses on investment in human capital and empowers developing countries to effectively deliver more efficiently basic social services for the people, including healthcare and education.
This much needed cooperation, involving developed partners, multilateral development banks and international financial institutions, and considerably contributing to the right to development, is an essential ingredient, not only in our fight against terrorism, but also in enhancing our capacity to address other globally daunting challenges, such as climate change, natural disaster risks and increasing inequalities.
Hisham El-Zimaity, a board member of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs