27-28 January 2009
(UPDATED 26 JANUARY 2009)
1. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), in cooperation with The Measurement and Human Rights Program of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the Program on Human Rights in Development at the Harvard School of Public Health is convening an expert meeting on progressive development and refinement of the right to development criteria. The meeting of experts in qualitative and quantitative evaluation of development activities will function as an independent expert consultation under the responsibility of the host institution and OHCHR, facilitated by interested international institutions. The final product will involve a publication and eventual submission to the highest human rights policy organs of the United Nations; the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly. This document explains the background of the exercise.
Mandate of the high-level task force on the implementation of the right to development
2. The UN Commission on Human Rights (CHR, which was replaced by the UN Human Rights Council since June 2006) entrusted its Working Group on the Right to Development (Working Group) with monitoring and reviewing progress in the promotion and implementation of the right to development (CHR resolution 1998/72). The Working Group, in turn, created a High Level Task Force on the Implementation of the Right to Development (Task Force), and requested it to examine MDG 8, on global partnership for development, and suggest criteria for its periodic evaluation with the aim of improving the effectiveness of global partnerships with regard to the realization of the right to development (CHR res. 2005/4).
3. The Working Group agreed to the criteria developed by the Task Force (ref. E/CN.4/2006/26) and requested the Task Force to apply them to development partnerships such as the African Peer Review Mechanism, the ECA/OECD DAC Mutual Review of Development Effectiveness, the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Cotonou Agreement between African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and the European Union.
4. Throughout the deliberations of the Task Force and the Working Group, experts and delegates stressed the importance of developing methodologically rigorous criteria, sub-criteria, checklists, indicators, and other tools of evaluating partnership. At its January 2008 session, the Task Force observed that “[I]n order to achieve the desired level of quality, the task force considers that the criteria must (a) become analytically and methodologically rigorous; (b) provide empirically-oriented tools to those involved in implementing development partnerships that can improve the outcomes of their work in light of their respective mandates; (c) integrate analytical work done by expert groups within World Bank, OECD, UNDP, UNCTAD, UNICEF, UNESCO, DESA, OHCHR, and others, as well as academic research centres, and (d) provide guidance so that global partnerships for development are enabled to respond better to the broader objectives of the right to development.”
5. At its ninth session in August 2008, the Working Group recommended that the Task Force “give priority to improving the criteria in the light of the lessons learned from their application and taking into account the  Declaration on the Right to Development and other relevant international instruments as well as the views expressed by States at the current session, with a view to submitting, …, a revised list of criteria that serve the purposes set out in all relevant provisions of [Human Rights] Council resolution 4/4.” (ref. A/HRC/9/17).
6. The Working Group also requested the Task Force to draw on the necessary expertise to (a) make the criteria analytically and methodologically rigorous; (b) provide empirically-oriented tools to those involved in implementing development partnerships; and (c) ensure that they cover Millennium Development Goal 8, including target 8.A and other aspects not covered to date by the task force.”
Purpose of the Consultation
7. The consultation is aimed at facilitating the implementation of the mandate of the Task Force as explained above. It will provide an opportunity to facilitate expert assessments of the current criteria used by the Task Force (see Annex) and revise them with the view to making them operational and reflective of standards of qualitative and quantitative evaluation used in international institutions and recognized by the leading social scientists. The consultation will not be bound by the choice of language and implied indicators of the current criteria but will keep the objectives of the mandate of the Task Force in mind while proposing a more rigorous approach than that reflected in the current set of criteria. The consultation will draw attention to what can be accomplished with methodological rigor, notwithstanding the extremely broad range of issues covered by the right to development and the complexities of the partnerships the Task Force is called upon to evaluate in light of MDG 8.
8. The consultation will not seek to define an exhaustive set of indicators and methods of evaluation of all aspects of the right to development relevant to each partnership but will rather seek to propose a practical approach to periodic evaluation of partnership and a reasonable set of measurable criteria. It will critically examine the current criteria and – leaving political considerations aside – advise as to what criteria can be meaningfully applied, what existing indicators would be relevant, what experience could be drawn upon to understand the strengths and weaknesses of evaluating the sorts of issues covered in the 1986 Declaration on the Right to Development, and the steps that should be taken to make the evaluation periodic and thus provide meaningful data over time.
9. Specifically, the issues which will be addressed in the consultation are:
Working Papers and Background documents
10. Mr. Rajeev Malhotra, OHCHR consultant, is expected to provide a presentation for discussion at the meeting. The presentation will critically examine the wording of each criterion and comment briefly on (a) why it is acceptable as is, (b) what is fundamentally wrong with it, or (c) how it could be better if reformulated and what that new formulation should be. The author will also add a list of relevant extant indicators and/or explain what indicator(s) would need to be established and data collected to meaningfully assess the fulfilment of the criterion in question. Following the consultation, the author will be asked to prepare and submit a paper on the topic taking into account the outcome of the discussion. The paper will be shared with the Task Force at its next annual session, scheduled for 1-9 April 2009.
11. In addition to the above-mentioned paper, there will be a compilation of key documents on the right to development of particular relevance to the agenda of the consultation (including the Declaration on the Right to Development and the list of MDG 8 targets), and a bibliography of documents and scholarly publications on the right to development, methodological issues concerning MDGs and indicators and criteria applied to similar evaluation exercises.
12. Finally, a number of relevant documents and publications will be provided to the participants as background. The Task Force will consider at its next meeting the final report of the consultation along with the revised paper mentioned in paragraph 10. The outcome the consultation will be used by the Task Force to develop “a comprehensive and coherent set of guidelines,” as required in the final phase of its work.
Criteria for Periodic Evaluation of Global Development Partnerships from a Right to Development Perspective (as revised by the task force at its fourth session, January 2008)
To facilitate their application, the criteria remain organized in three groups related to development partnerships: structure and institutional framework, process and outcome.
The extent to which a partnership:
The extent to which a partnership:
The extent to which a partnership: