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Rights monitoring: community of practice

Although civil society organizations, social movements, academics, international bodies and national agencies have proposed a number of approaches, strategies and tools for monitoring, there have generally been limited opportunities to share experiences across fields of practice. Many national level organizations have rich experience and expertise in using rights-based policy monitoring methods in specific advocacy contexts. Yet their experiences are not always amplified or disseminated internationally. Conversely, initiatives developed internationally are not always widely known in all regions nor empirically tested and practically applied.

In response, CESR has sought to facilitate collective thinking around how to monitor economic and social rights. We believe that exchanging ideas, building knowledge, sharing innovations and discussing critical issues allows us to address a common challenge in our advocacy: the difficulty of connecting patterns of preventable deprivations of rights to policy failures and, therefore, to hold responsible institutions to account.

In 2012, CESR came together with other members of ESCR-Net working on monitoring methods at both the global and national level with a proposal to create a space within the Network in which experiences can be shared, disseminated and further developed through the work of Network members. The ESCR-Net Working Group on Monitoring Methods seeks to promote dialogue, exchange and mutual learning about how to use innovative tools and approaches to more effectively monitor the ways that states and other relevant actors impact economic and social rights.

CESR coordinated the working group in its first three years, in close collaboration with its steering committee and with the support of the ESCR-Net Secretariat. This included developing a web platform for group members that featured a resource library of more than 180 publications; monthly online discussions in which members could share good practices and discuss critical issues around monitoring; and regular updates on new resources, commentary, and opportunities related to monitoring. In August 2015, the ESCR-Net Secretariat took on full responsibility for the coordination of the working group. CESR continues to play an active role as coordinator of the group’s steering committee.