18th Session of the Working Group on the Right to Development

This weekly session of the Working Group (WG) was organized as a place to discuss about criteria and sub-criteria written in the draft of the Declaration on the Right to Development (RTD) and find a common language to agree upon. OIDEL has participate on this Working Group as part of the CINGO.

This WG has been working on the RTD for years, discussing on the principles and identifying the necessity of indicators and criteria. They represent an innovation, a new vision of human rights in which individual and collective rights are interrelated in the process of guaranteeing an equal and fair development for all.

The invited experts presented, from different perspectives, the reasons of the importance of this document and the need of a comprehensive development of standards and indicators. Some of them stressed also the importance of a link with the language of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to gain consensus and they discussed on the issue of the nature of the document, whether it should be legally binding or not.

During the discussion, it was addressed the issue of consensus and the need of a joint, equilibrated action, recalling also Goal 17 of the SDGs, but the difficulties were numerous, starting with the US declaration of no further engagement in the discussion and the polarization between developing and developed countries.

Some of the States present, as the one represented by the European Union, expressed disagreement on the necessity to adopt a legally binding document. Furthermore, the EU reminded the numerous reserves they have on the language of the criteria and sub-criteria.

Following this statement, some States as Egypt, Venezuela, Iran, Equator, together with NAM and CINGO[1], reminded the WG that the document shall be finished between this and the 19th session and there has been sufficient time to come up with comments and modifications to discuss instead of just taking a disagreeing position.

From this moment on, the WG found itself at an impasse, the EU and Japan were asking for more time to consult on the documents, more than the one already given by the numerous recesses. The other States, supported by NAM and CINGO, were appealing the States to engage in a constructive dialogue to use at best the time given. Neither formal nor informal meetings helped the States to move from this strong polarization. Nothing broke the division created during these sessions, not even the sensible words of the Chairperson Ambassador Zamir Akram or the appeal of CINGO to remember that the WG exist to ameliorate the life of people and not to take political positions.

During this last day, NAM held a private meeting after which presented a document with recommendations and conclusions discussed during an informal. In this occasion too, the States couldn’t agree on the issue of the legally binding document nor on the respect of the deadline for the drafting of this Document on the RTD.


Beatrice Bilotti

[1] Group of organizations consulting and presenting a united front in the WG in which OIDEL is an active participant.