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Measuring what we treasure: exploring how human rights should inform the post-2015 indicators


Side event organized by the Post-2015 Human Rights Caucus

Sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Denmark to the UN

Monday 23 March, 1:15-2:30pm, Conference Room A, UNHQ

this invitation can be downloaded in pdf format here

One of the main ‘lessons learned’ from the MDGs is that the indicators chosen to measure progress towards the post-2015 sustainable development goals will either uplift or undermine the entire agenda. Given that there is almost unanimous agreement that the agenda should be founded in human rights, and many of the OWG goals and targets overlap significantly with human rights standards, it stands to reason that the indicators we choose to monitor these efforts should be informed by human rights practice and sensitive to human rights imperatives.

Therefore, the members of the Post-2015 Human Rights Caucus wish to highlight the need for an innovative and holistic indicator framework that will create the right incentives and environment to pursue transformative, rights-based sustainable development.  The event will aim to stimulate human rights-informed debate about how to measure the SDGs and accompanying targets. Topics will include: how to measure some key human rights concerns such as discrimination and inequality; the need for qualitative, process and capacity indicators rather than just quantitative outcome indicators; how to ensure the indicators chosen are tied to the most transformative elements of the targets (as opposed to the damaging tendency to ‘treasure what we can measure’ rather than vice versa); and how we can ensure that the indicators respond to and honour the social, environmental and economic elements of the SDG agenda. We will also present concrete suggestions for rights-based indicators and highlight existing experience with human rights monitoring and indicators that can usefully inform and inspire the post-2015 efforts.

The event will be based around a moderated discussion followed by Q&A, with speakers including (final list TBC):

  • Moderator: Kate  Donald,  CESR  (and  co-convenor  of  Human  Rights  Caucus)
  • H.E.  Mr.  Erik  Laursen,  Deputy  Permanent  Representative of  Denmark  to  the  UN
  • Craig  Mokhiber,  Chief  of  Development  and  Economic  &  Social  Issues Branch,  OHCHR
  • Savio  Carvalho,  Amnesty  International  (and  coconvenor  of  Human  Rights Caucus)
  • Antonia  Wulff,  Education  International
  • Tessa  Khan,  Asia-Pacific  Forum  on  Women,  Law  and  Development
  • Bill  Orme,  Global  Forum  for  Media  Development
  • Marianne  Mollmann,  International  Gay  and  Lesbian  Human  Rights  Commission

For further information, please contact Kate Donald at