Governance for Sustainable Development: A Human Rights Perspective

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This chapter addresses the role of human rights as a mandatory, integral component of any quality ‘governance for sustainable development’ system and practice. For this purpose, the evolving relationship between sustainable development and the human rights framework, the implications thereof for governance practices and some of the challenges involved are analyzed.

While obviously there are still numerous human rights and sustainable development deficits in all parts of the world, international law confirms that both sustainable development and human rights are relevant for, and require action by, states at all stages of development and in all circumstances. More in particular, states are duty-bearers for sustainable development and responsible for building an enabling environment for the actual enjoyment of human rights. Such an enabling environment has various generally applicable components, including rights-based and inclusive legislation and policies, the allocation of resources (extending for instance to budget, expertise, facilities, and/or services), and data collection and analysis. In addition, an adequate institutional framework and accessible procedures, state-civil society cooperation (including participatory governance), and attention for the cross-cutting general principle of non-discrimination are important. Besides providing substantive orientation, the core global human rights treaties also create monitoring opportunities and are a basis for holding duty bearers to account.

The last part of the chapter explores what a human rights perspective involves for governance practice in relation to the specific issue of natural resource management, a core element of sustainable development. Participation and benefit-sharing are central concerns in this regard. The potential practical consequences of benefit-sharing requirements are illustrated by the Saramaka case (Suriname).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on Governance and Development
EditorsWil Hout, Jane Hutchison
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781789908756
ISBN (Print)9781789908749
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

SeriesElgar Handbooks in Development

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