Working Group on the Right to Development

Item 4 (a):
Consideration of the ideas and proposals raised at the high-level seminar

Statement by
Deputy Permanent Representative - Delegation of Romania
Geneva, February 11, 2004

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation associated itself with the statement delivered by the Ireland on behalf of the European Union, including the well-deserved congratulations addressed to you.

My delegation associated itself with the statement delivered by the Ireland on behalf of the European Union, including the well-deserved congratulations addressed to you.

Before doing so, I ought to thank the Office of the High Commissioner for the excellent organization of the Seminar, and for providing relevant and highly competent participation. May I also thank Franciscans International, for their useful assistance and help in our intersessional work on the right to development. The efforts they made in facilitating consultations and in making available a precious book that contains independent views from various scholars around the world on the right to development, have been really remarkable and we are grateful to them.

Mr. Chairman,

The Seminar was indeed an event of quality, which will undoubtedly help the deliberations in our working-group. It may not have given all the responses to our questions. Some of the responses may not be those we expected. On some points, the seminar provided no answers.

However, we believe that the main message is that indeed the development community has come closer than ever on our concerns, those inspired by a human rights perspective. There is an increased awareness, in development, trade and financial quarters, of the need to use human rights perspectives and constraints in their own policy-making. There is no doubt that we are standing on solid principled position.

The Seminar inspired us a few remarks on some issues:

The nature of the challenges

  • On a general level, the realization of the right to development is a challenge to both development policies and human rights policies. It challenges the development issue by triggering old questions in a different context: how to integrate the free market into the realization of the right to development; how to define better and clearer the role the business community in human rights based development; how to make promotion and protection of human rights a catalyst for development. It is a challenge for the human rights status, since human rights should be respected by virtue of universally accepted human rights standards, whether or not directly related to the developmental context, in a compact or other form, and since we are not yet ready to make the right to development operational and justiciable.

The place of the right to development in socio-economic policies

  • If we see the right to development as an additional working instrument in the hands of national governments we should anticipate its concrete reflection in socio- economic policies. That might create the need 1) for new reforms - whose nature is to be identified, 2) for new resources - whose provenance is to be stated, 3) for a stronger emphasis on the value added - which implies a rigorous analysis of the costs/ benefits ratio.


  • On the issue of resources, many remarks were related to existing mechanisms, like the Millennium Challenges Account and the Official Development Assistance. A right to development operational package should outline a feasible and convincing linkage to new resources, including foreign direct investments. As one of the panellists from Uganda implied: the practionners are confused by the various concepts: they work with resources, not with concepts.

Responsibility sharing

  • A comprehensive response to the question of how to operationalize the right to development should include a clear indication of the role of the protagonists whose better performance is aimed at: the national governments, the private entrepreneurs, the investors, the human rights non-governmental organizations, the international financial institutions, or the donor community at large? It is essential to understand where the impact is expected to be more substantial: in changing the driving forces of the existing patterns of partnership or in creating new paradigms of cooperation.


  • While the accountability of States for their policies of protection of human rights is well defined, one cannot say the same about public accountability inasmuch as economic policies are concerned; therefore the concept of good governance, whose basic ingredients are accountability and transparency, should be strengthened in a genuinely democratic framework. This can help us provide a satisfactory answer to the question which one of the panellist raised: if the language agreed in various international forums is right, if the priorities are right, why are we going from crisis to crisis?

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