CESR Executive Director Ignacio Saiz was a panelist at the expert round-table on Human Rights and Agenda 2030 held at Wilton Park, UK on 15 - 17 January. The event brought together some 60 representatives from governments, civil society, academia and the UN human rights system to explore the challenges and opportunities posed by the Sustainable Development Goals for advancing and reinvigorating the human rights agenda. The meeting explored recent trends in the human rights landscape, synergies between the SDGs and human rights, challenges in SDG implementation and ways in which different actors could work together to more effectively promote the full range of human rights through development processes.
Ignacio's remarks analyzed the convergences between the SDGs and human rights standards, highlighting their potential to boost attention to neglected human rights issues (such as rising economic inequality) and to open up civil society space as a development imperative. He also stressed the shortcomings in implementation which had become apparent over the last two years, including the weak system of accountability, and the failure to tackle broader systemic failures in economic and fiscal policy which are key drivers of poverty and inequality. He then proposed three ways in which human rights advocacy could help to address these problems: strengthening the accountability infrastructure; finding entry points for civil society scrutiny and organizing; and reshaping the narrative on development.